Air France’s new long-haul cabins, featuring fully reclining seats with sliding doors in business class and several new features in its other cabins, will take off on Friday, January 20, on an inaugural flight from Paris to New York.
The Boeing 777-300ER, nicknamed Fontainebleau, is the first in Air France’s long-haul fleet to be equipped with upgraded cabins. Following its flight between Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and New York (JFK), Fontainebleau will serve Rio de Janeiro (GIG) from January 21 and Dakar, Senegal, from January 22. The plane has been under refurbishment since last spring.
Eventually, 12 777-300ERs in Air France’s long-haul fleet are set to be upgraded with the new cabins, initially to serve these three destinations during the winter but later to expand across the carrier’s transcontinental schedule.
The new business class cabins host 48 redesigned seats that deliver what Air France calls the “three F’s”: They’re fully flat, meaning the seats recline into flat beds almost two meters (6.5 feet) long; offer full access, with all passengers getting direct access to the aisle; and give full privacy, with sliding doors that allow the passengers to create completely private space, out of the eyesight of other travelers.
Additionally, the seats in the center of the cabin have a central panel that can be lowered, allowing passengers traveling together to share private space.
The seats are rendered in wool, brushed aluminum, and full-grain French leather, materials Air France describes as “noble, soft, and natural.”
Each boasts a widescreen 17.3-inch 4K high-definition anti-glare screen, which can be used with a provided noise-reducing headset or the passenger’s headphones, connected through Bluetooth. Several electrical sockets are also provided.
In the premium economy cabin, with room for 48 passengers, Air France is adding the recliner-type seats that are already available across its Airbus A350s. These seats recline to 124 degrees and offer 96 centimeters (37 inches) of legroom and additional width for added privacy. The cushions have been refined, with soft navy-blue herringbone fabric added for comfort. In addition, these seats have USB-A and -C ports.
In the economy cabin, the 273 seats meet “the highest standards of comfort on the market,” Air France says. Each reclines to 119 degrees, has a seat pan that’s 43 cm (17 in) wider, and offers 79 cm (31 in) of legroom. They also have ergonomically designed backrests and USB A ports.
Seats in the premium economy and economy cabins have widescreen 13.3-inch 4K HD screens with Bluetooth capabilities.
The new cabins mean that by the end of 2023, all of Air France’s long-haul business class cabins will have fully flat seats, compared to 90 percent today. Additionally, Air France’s fleet, excluding planes that fly only regionally, will be equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi, compared to 97 percent today. The carrier says the changes are a “major step in Air France’s move upmarket.”