On 20 January, ‘Fontainebleau’, the first of Air France’s fully refitted Boeing 777-300ERs, will take off for New York on a commercial service. Rio de Janeiro and Dakar are other destinations set to be visited by this aircraft.
It’s the first in Air France’s fleet to sport the airline’s state-of-the-art cabin interior, which will subsequently be extended to the remaining 12 B777-300ER aircraft with a three-class configuration (Business, Premium Economy and Economy classes). Sources at Air France have confirmed that the refit may later be extended to other aircraft types in the airline’s long-haul fleet.
After this refit is complete, the whole of Air France’s long haul fleet will be equipped with full lie-flat seats and in-flight wifi.
The cabin has been designed to provide an atmosphere that’s both elegant and cosy, with noble and natural materials such as leather, wool and bruised aluminium found on the finishings and a color paletter that creates an air of sobriety and minimalism.
The business class cabin is equipped with 48 Safran Cirrus seats, with sliding doors for enhanced privacy (although the two adjoining seats in the center of the cabin can be turned into a convivial joint space of sorts).
The philosophy underpinning this design is summarised by what the airline calls ‘the 3Fs’: ‘Full Flat’, since the seats can be turned into a full flat 2-meter long bed; ‘Full Access’, because all passengers have direct access to the aisle; and the aforementioned ‘Full Privacy’..
The seats are fitted with 17.3-inch 4K High-Definition anti-glare screens, although passengers are also able to access the in-flight entertainment system through their own personal electronic devices via a Bluetooth connection. In case passengers’ devices are low on battery, there will also be sockets at hand to recharge them.
Improvements extend to the other fare classes. The Premium Economy cabin, also featuring 48 seats, has been equipped with the airline’s latest seat model, which is already available on Air France’s Airbus A350 fleet. The seats offer 96cm of legroom as well as a 124 degree recline and redesigned fabric and cushions for extra softness. Noise-reducing audio headsets have also been integrated into the seat.
In addition, the 273 passengers in economy class will benefit from an ergonomic backrest and access to USB A ports. Economy class seats will have a 79cm pitch and a recline of 119 degrees.
Both Premium Economy and Economy passengers have access to 13.3-inch 4K High-Definition screens, with access to Air France’s Air France Connect digital IFE platform and capable also of offering Bluetooth connections.
This is not the last major cabin development we may see this year ‘chez Air France’. La Première suite, the airline’s new first class offering, is expected to be rolled out later this year on select Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which have not been included in the current refit program.