Air France is upgrading its 12 Boeing 777-300ERs with the airline’s new long-haul business class product, a process that is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The aircraft will also get the same economy and premium economy seats as those found on its cutting-edge A350s.
The first refurbished B777 (named “Fontainebleau”) took off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to New York-JFK in January. It has also been serving Rio de Janeiro and Dakar in Senegal.
At the moment about 90 per cent of Air France’s business class cabins have the latest fully flat business class seats but the remainder will be replaced over the coming eight months.
So what’s interesting about Air France’s next generation of business class? Originally unveiled in spring 2022, there has been some delay to it entering the skies. In any case, flyers will now find smart navy blue and white seats arranged in a “reverse herringbone”1-2-1 formation and with added privacy thanks to sliding doors to create a fully enclosed suite.
Accommodating 48 passengers in total, each seat transforms into a proper bed that extends to almost two metres in length. High-grade materials that have been used include wool, brushed aluminium and full-grain French leather.
Air France states on its website: “The seat itself has been reworked for optimal lumbar support. The foam has been ergonomically redesigned for maximum comfort throughout your journey, regardless of the seat position.”
When it comes to sleeping, passengers are given a soft microfiber pillow and blanket. Not only is the lighting intensity adjustable but there is also a “do not disturb” feature to let crew that flyers don’t want to be woken for meals.
As is expected of business class these days, there is direct aisle access for everyone – and for those travelling together, middle seat pairs feature a central panel that can be lowered by pressing it down, to allow companions to talk or share a drink on a central cocktail table.
Other improvements to the physical environment include 17.3-inch, 4K, high-definition,anti-glare screens. Also provided are noise-reducing headsets, a Bluetooth connection allowing passengers to use their own headphones and several electric sockets for charging personal devices.
By the end of the year, the whole fleet will have wifi (up from 97 per cent now). The Air France Connect portal offers three passes, including a free pass for sending and receivingmessages. Surfing the internet for one hour costs €8, while the whole flight costs €18. For those who want to stream content, there is a €30 package for the entire journey.