Air France launches domestic business class

The French flag-carrier breaks out the Champagne for business class passengers on domestic and short-range international flights.

By David Flynn, January 24 2020
Air France launches domestic business class

Air France is adding business class to its domestic flights, mirroring the premium cabin product of its short-range European flights.

From February 4 2020, passengers at the pointy end of the SkyTeam member's domestic services will find the 3-3 seating in the front rows will have the middle seat blocked for greater privacy and personal space, although Air France says this will also be a "dedicated front cabin".

Review: Air France Airbus A320 business class (Venice-Paris)

Airline CEO Anne Rigail says the aim is to provide a "consistent business product" across the Air France network, especially for business class passengers arriving on a long-distance flight and then connecting through to a domestic Air France destination such as the regional centres of Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.

Review: Air France Boeing 777-300ER business class (Singapore-Paris)

The 'Euro-business class' will also be sold on its own for domestic-only flights, with three business class fares – Business Leisure, Business Flex and Business Abonné – primarily differentiated by the level of flexibility for booking changes and cancellation.

For example, Business Leisure offers a non-refundable ticket with a €70 change fee, while Business Abonné is refundable and allows travellers to move to an earlier or later flight.

However, as these are typically short flights, the meal service will be limited to snacks and a selection of Champagne and wine.

In addition to airport lounge access, dedicated check-in and baggage drop-off, priority lines at security checkpoint and passport control and priority boarding, there's also a more generous baggage allowance of two carry-on bags and a 'cabin accessory' for a total of 18kg plus two pieces of checked luggage weighing 32kg each.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 318

Still EuroBiz seats so what's the point

30 May 2018

Total posts 26

Living in France, one of the big challenges for Air France on domestic routes is that they can be easily beaten by the TGV on many of the main line routes such as CDG - Lyon, Lille, Avignon, Aix en Provence, Marsaille, Strasbourg and others. There is a TGV under CDG T2 which can whisk you anywhere in France (or Western Europe) at 300km/h, and drop you in the city centre of your destination. Hence, making money domestically has been a challenge for Air France for some years.

JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 147

Poor Europeans. They're intent on maintains their crummy Eurobusiness product.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

The only reason they have this style of business class is the flexible cabin arrangements that can make anything from 1-10+ rows of business depending on demand of each individual flight. The problem comes on those longer euro routes of 4-5 hours where this style is still the only business class option. I recently flew over 4hrs LPA-LHR with BA business class and the business class section was stretched all the way back to the overwing exit row 12 and was full.

30 May 2018

Total posts 26

Don't feel too sorry for us. We have outstanding HSR between most Western European capitals able to wisk us between city centres in a couple of hours with none of the downside of short haul flying. 45mins in a wider aircraft seat with a gobbled down and very average wine and meal for 1000AUD does not make me jealous.

JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 147

Different geography and demographics in AU I know, but I wish we had some high speed rail options here. It seems such a backwater.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2015

Total posts 113

High speed rail is a nice idea but if we started building now MEL-SYD-BNE it would be like 5+ years before done and billions of $$$ and in the next 15-25 years for sure we will be seeing flying cars so it's probably the next NBN waste of time

30 May 2018

Total posts 26

We used to achieve big things regularly in Australia when it came to public infrastructure. The Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, the original railways and underground lines, come to mind.

Now we've been poisoned by corporatist dogma that no such projects make sense because they are not 'profitable.' Public infrastructure is the enabler of the economy, not it's business case.

Living in Europe for 17 years, this new found Australian defeatism is certainly something I do not miss.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 37

@JKH @OzGlobal the problem with trying to build HSR in AU is that the ticket price would be so exorbitant in order to offset the cost of the infrastructure investment that it would, in most instances, be more expensive than an airfare. I love HSR and am all for it, it's the feasibility that knocks it on its head.

And, as for Eurobusiness, well - most airlines offering the same thing: Y seats, block the middle one, no extra legroom, a meal and slightly premium drinks, and lounge access.

30 May 2018

Total posts 26

@lafleche You could have used the same argument against HSR in Japan, Germany, France, Spain and anywhere else it is thriving if you'd wanted to at the time. What's required is long term vision and an appreciation of the contribution of public infrastructure to the economy as a whole. It is naive to subject public infrastructure to a simple commercial business case. You will never build anything. A 25 year impact on the overall economy and its development is what is needed. This then justifies sinking the cost of the foundation - the lines. The services are then sold commercial on top and can be opened to multiple operators to compete. Impact: massive opening up of regional areas and overall positive growth of the economy through enhanced mobility. How much does the AUS government spend each year to prop up regional Australia and try to incentivise people to work there? How much will be spent on the then unnecessary Badgery's Creek airport and surrounding connecting infrastructure? SYD-MEL is the second busiest air corridor in the world. The distance is roughly the same as Paris Marseille - a full HSR since 2001 - 3hrs flat and faster than flying.

Globally, the jury really is back in on this one.

Again - Australian defeatism.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

@OzGlobal Yes and no.

The problem with comparing Australia against France et al is that all these countries pack far more people into much less land, so their dense population centres are all relatively close to each other. We do not have anything approaching this level of density in Australia, so the equation works out very poorly for HSR here.

30 May 2018

Total posts 26

@watson374 Sorry but this is a just a received anti-HSR corporatist sophistry. SYD-MEL is roughly the same distance as Paris - Marseille - 800km. 800km is the same distance whether you are in France or Australia. Is it not? Australia is less populated per square km on AVERAGE, but FAR more highly urbanised than France. HSR is about linking city pairs under 1000km apart. It turns out Australia has multiple such city pairs and the populations of those cities, e.g. SYD, MEL and BNE are LARGER than all French cities apart from Paris. Marseille is less than 2 Million. SYD and MEL are around 5 million each and the SAME DISTANCE apart as Paris and Marseille. With a SYD-MEL HSR, you also get CBR thrown in and both SYD-CBR and MEL-CBR are also super busy city pairs. The final clincher is that SYD-MEL is the second business air corridor in the WORLD. Hence, the infrastructure case for HSR SYD-MEL is much stronger than that of Paris - Marseille which was built 20 years ago, runs at 300-320km/h and takes 3 hrs city centre to city centre and has all but eliminated air travel between the cities. .

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

@OzGlobal Sure, but you're conveniently ignoring the fact that the Paris to Marseille TGV passes through Lyon.

30 May 2018

Total posts 26

@watson374 Fair enough. That was a factor in building the line progressively. However, the majority of Marseille services do not pass through Lyon, but are served direct. The Mediterranean line branches off to Marseille BEFORE Lyon. I take it regularly. Apart from Paris - Marseille, consider also Paris - Bordeaux - 650 km, Paris - Brussels 320 km, Paris - Strasbourg 450 km, Paris - Dijon - Mulhouse 650 km. All of these lines are full HSR at 300 - 320 km/ h. That's a huge amount of accomplished investment for a country with just over 2 x Australia's population. No-one is suggesting building an HSR SYD-PER. My point is that arguments about population density are not relevant on corridors like SYD-CBR-MEL because we do have both the population AND the traffic to more than make a success of HSR on that corridor based on many other really world example.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jul 2017

Total posts 13

Back to the original topic, I agree with @OzGobal that it is a challenge to match what we expect in the way of Business Class here, in Europe, where other infrastructure serves as well or better.

To throw my tuppenny in on the debate of HSR in Australia, there is a focus on return on investment in this discussion and the wider media. I don't believe that that should be the object of government. The responsibility of government is to spend our money responsibly, providing infrastructure that improves our standard of living at an intergenerational level and provide services that we elect them to provide. i.e. health, security, education, etc.

The focus on short term re-election promises that are essentially bandaids is a reason to demand more not less from our representatives. HSR, power generation, etc are these things.

And finally :) I tend to avoid Air France as I believe Lufthansa offers a better product, but I look forward to trying out the new business class domestic for comparison.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 80

Meanwhile back to the story, QF Q400s offer more room than EuroBiz, and as for a little fizz you can get plenty non the lounge..


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