FLIGHT-REPORT study on the flying public’s response to Air France’s new “Best & Beyond” cabins
Paris/Washington, 8 September 2015: Flight-Report.com presents its second study focused on the passenger experience (#PaxEx) using data from reviews posted by flyers on the website. This study focuses on Air France’s “Best & Beyond” campaign to improve its long-haul product in every cabin.
Since June 2014, Air France has been actively retrofitting its large Boeing 777 fleet with the new “BEST” cabins. The French flag carrier intends to update 44 of its 66 777s.
• Boeing 777-200ER aircraft are being reconfigured with 40 seats in Business, 24 seats in Premium Economy, and 216 in Economy.
• Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are being reconfigured with 4 La Première (First class) suites, 58 seats in Business, 28 seats in Premium Economy, and 206 Economy seats.
As of September 2015, 19 aircraft have been updated with the new cabins.
It is interesting to note that the size of these new Air France cabins can be quickly modified to adapt to changing demand. Air France calls this process “Quick Change.” During the high-Economy-class-demand summer season, the airline was able to increase the capacity in Economy class by reducing the number of seats in Business on 17 aircraft.
Once the entire Boeing 777 fleet has been reconfigured, the long-haul Airbus fleet will get a fresh interior with the Air France A380s and A330s due to receive new cabins. The A340 and 747 fleets will not be updated as the aircraft will be retired by 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The numbers presented by Flight-Report.com in this study are an average of grades given by flyers in reviews of Air France posted between June 2014 and August 2015. Data from all aircraft and cabins in the Air France long-haul fleet is included.
Each seat type has been analyzed based on the “comfort” grade given in hundreds of reviews, written by the flying public, on Flight-Report.com.
The circled percentages on the infographic represent the improvement in the “comfort” grades when comparing older products to the new generation “BEST” product available on 777 aircraft.
Air France has introduced a new type of suite for its new International First class. From British aircraft seat design firm B/E Aerospace, the stylish La Première suite offers great privacy without being enclosed and claustrophobic thanks to its elegant curtain system. The average comfort rating on Flight-Report.com is an astonishing 9.6/10.
In the Business class cabin, Air France has installed the Cirrus reverse-herringbone seat by French firm Zodiac Aerospace.
The older generations of angled lie-flat NEV (Nouveaux Espaces Voyages) seats, are being replaced by the “BEST” seats offering full-flat beds with full-aisle-access. The new Business seats are rated on average 15% higher than older generations. With an average grade of 9/10, to flying public is showing its approval of the new model for this premium cabin.
The Premium Economy seats have undergone the least change of all cabins. The new seats feature thicker padding and a different headrest, but are essentially the same design.
The new thicker padding has improved the comfort grade in Premium Economy by 6%
In the Economy cabin, new seats by Zodiac Aerospace has been installed. Although the seat pitch (distance between seats) and seat width have not changed, flyers appear to appreciate the new sleeker and more ergonomic seats as the “BEST” seats are consistently rated higher than older generations.
IFE (In-Flight Entertainment System):
Air France’s long-haul aircraft feature 4 generations of IFE from 3 different providers. Rockwell Collins, as the oldest generation of IFE, gets the lowest scores. The latest generation of IFE, the Panasonic EX3, featured on 777s with the “BEST” cabin, score highest, with an outstanding 9/10 rating on average.
The numbers in this study show that flyers are taking notice of improvements in the Air France long-haul product. The “Best & Beyond” campaign has aimed to improve the customer experience and reviews on Flight-Report.com indicate that it has been a success.
Methodology: Based on average Customer Rating for “Comfort” and “IFE” in the form of grades attributed by users of Flight-Report.com in reviews of Air France aboard Airbus A330, A340, A380, and Boeing 777 posted within the last 15 months (June 2014 – August 2015).