Tag Archives: Air France

Air France’s New Business Class Cocoon

New seat tucked into its own compartment folds out flat.

AirFranceTailAir France is luring upmarket passengers with a new business class seat design that promises “a completely renewed travel experience.” The carrier likes it to a cocoon with “particularly refined finishing touches (leather upholstery, topstitching) provides an ideal level of comfort and offers the prospect of a perfect sleep. Developed around a concept  dubbed 3 « F », it offers a fully flat bed position, full direct access to an aisle and full privacy thanks to the seat’s enveloping curves, providing a true bubble of privacy in the sky.

 

Air France's new business class "cocoon" seat folds into a flat bed that is made with a down duvet and down pillow.
Air France’s new business class “cocoon” seat folds into a flat bed that is made with a down duvet and down pillow.

More 2,000 seats will be installed between June 2014 and Summer 2016 on the 44 Boeing 777s that comprise the core of Air France’s long-haul fleet. I am not sure how well this privacy bubble works for two people traveling together who might want to chat, toast each other with Air France’s lovely champagne and wine offerings or hold hands while watching a movie from the incredible new entertainment package viewable on a 16-inch-wide touch screen and in 12 languages.

How much does this luxury and comfort cost? A New York-Paris-New York roundtrip booked now and made in late June/early July, when the new seats might have been installed on that route, is $3,000+/-. And guess what? Air France’s ultra-luxe first class is even more expensive. For the rest of us, there’s always economy and premium economy for a whole lot less. But whatever class of service, the wines are French and the food is still among the best in air.

Air France: Passing the Hat

Passengers asked to contribute to fuel costs when jet diverts to Damascus

If I were on a plane that had been diverted to Damascus and was asked to contribute to an emergency refueling tab, I’d open my wallet. It wouldn’t be much, because I usually return from an overseas trip with just enough money for the bus from the airport and maybe some random foreign coins. But they’d get what I little had. And that’s what passengers on AF562 from Paris to Beruit were asked to do.

In one of the more bizarre travel news stories I’ve read recently (and there have been some bizarre ones) the headline in USA Today reads, “Air France: Diverted fliers asked for fuel money as ‘precaution’.” According to the report:

The problems for Flight 562 began when the Paris-to-Beirut flight had to find an alternate airport to land at because of civil unrest near that Beirut airfield. Air France had hoped to continue on to Amman, Jordan, but instead opted to land in relatively nearby Damascus as the plane was low on fuel.

Reuters writes “on landing the local airport authorities said they could not accept a credit card payment and would only take cash, an Air France spokeswoman said.”

“As a precaution and in anticipation, the crew asked how much money the passengers had in cash to pay to fill up with fuel,” an Air France spokeswoman explained to Reuters.

Fortunately for passengers, a solution was found and Air France was able to refuel without passing a hat around the cabin. The situation was fraught with political overtones (or undertones), since Air France suspended scheduled to Damascus sometime ago and has publicly called for President Assad’s ouster. Passengers, who eventually arrived in Beirut after being diverted to Cyprus, report armed personnel at the Damascus stopover. No surprise.