Paris/Washington, November 2015 – In this month’s new infographic, Flight-Report.com takes a look at the major players in one of the busiest transatlantic markets: NYC – PAR. With the legacy of Charles Lindbergh’s famous crossing with the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927, the New York to Paris route continues to be a source of prestige for carriers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Seven carriers operate flights between the French capital and New York.
Three U.S. carriers: American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines
Four French carriers: Air France, La Compagnie, XL Airways, and OpenSkies (British Airways subsidiary)
Transatlantic flights between New York and Paris are operated from several airports on either side of the Pond. On the French side, Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is the main gateway, as the largest airport in France and main hub of the French Flag Carrier, Air France. Paris – Orly Airport (ORY) has a smaller long-haul operation and only one airline operating regularly scheduled flights to New York. On the U.S. side, New York – John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the main transatlantic gateway on the East Coast; it served by a wide variety of U.S. and international carriers. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) also serves as a major transatlantic gateway, focused mostly around a large Star Alliance operation with the presence of a large United hub.
Most flights between Paris and New York are operate at Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG):
• Flights between CDG and JFK:
• Flights between CDG and EWR :
• Flight between CDG and both JFK and EWR :
Delta Air Lines
From Paris – Orly Airport, only OpenSkies operates scheduled flights to New York. However, the small boutique carrier operates to both major New York airports with daily flights to JFK and EWR.
The large amount of daily flights between the U.S. Financial capital and the French capital has made this one of the world’s busiest intercontinental routes. With its major hub at Paris – CDG, Air France dominates the Paris – New York market with the most frequencies and seats.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the “Big 3” major U.S. carriers operate in the New York -Paris market, but are less focused on the route due to the multi-hub model of North American airlines.
Air France operates up to 5 daily widebody flights between NYC and Paris. The French flag-carrier puts its best foot forward in this important market flying its best aircraft, often featuring the newest products, on the route. Air France was among the first to fly the Superjumbo A380 to New York in 2009. When the airline unveiled a new Business class cabin with full-flat seats and all-aisle-access, New York was naturally the first destination on which the cabins were introduced in 2014. Air France is also the only airline to offer a true International First class cabin between New York and Paris.
OpenSkies, a French subsidiary of British Airways, offers the second most frequencies in the market after Air France. This boutique airline offers a relatively small amount of seats as it operates a fleet of low-density Boeing 757-200s with large Business class and Premium Economy cabins. OpenSkies flies from Paris – Orly Airport to both JFK and EWR.
Delta Air Lines, a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, has a close relationship with fellow SkyTeam member and Transatlantic Joint-Venture partner, Air France. Like OpenSkies, Delta flies to Paris from both JFK and EWR, but with larger aircraft. On the JFK-CDG route, Delta operates a daily A330-300 with 293 seats. The EWR-CDG flights are operated by a daily B767-300 with 211 seats. All of Delta’s flights feature fully lie-flat seats in Business class with aisle access for all passengers.
American Airlines also operates two daily flights between New York and Paris, though both are from JFK. One of the flights is operated by a B767-300 featuring a new cabin interior with fully lie-flat seats offering aisle access for all passengers in Business class. The second flight is operated by a B757-200 aircraft featuring AA’s older angled lie-flat Business class seats.
United Airlines, member of Star Alliance, operates to Paris exclusively from its large EWR hub. Of the 3 major U.S. carriers, United flies the largest aircraft from New York to Paris, a daily B777-200.
XL Airways France and La Compagnie are both much smaller players in the market. XL Airways operates a low-cost high-density model, while La Compagnie offers the only All-Business class flights between Paris and New York. Both airlines fly from Paris CDG, with XL Airways to JFK and La Compagnie to EWR.
XL Airways operates high-density two class A330-200 aircraft with 364 seats. La Compagnie’s smaller B757-200s are configured with only 74 angled lie-flat Business class seats. Both airline, despite their very different business models, seem to have found their niche in this very competitive market.
Airline grades on Flight-Report
The grades attributed to each class of service for each carrier are the average of grades given by passengers who have posted reviews on Flight-Report.com. Let’s take a look at the break down by class.
As previously stated, Air France is the only airline operating a First class cabin between New York and Paris. Despite the lack of competition, the service receives high marks with 8.4/10
American Airlines, with its newly refreshed Business class cabins featuring full-flat seats, currently has the highest average grade for Business class at 8.5/10.
Delta Air Lines, also offering full-flat seats, is ranked 2nd with an average grade of 8/10 for Business class.
Air France, still operating a mix of aircraft with both new fully lie-flat seats and older angled seats comes in 3rd place with an average score of 7.9/10.
OpenSkies takes the lead in this category with an average grade of 7.6/10 for its “Prem+” product. Prem+ features a 2 – 2 configuration with 20” wide older-style Business class type cradle seats that offer a generous 46” of pitch. Air France is in 2nd place with an average score of 7/10 for its innovative fixed-shell Premium Economy seat.
United Airlines is in first place with 8/10. The humane 3-3-3 configuration on the 777 (as apposed to 3-4-3 on some other carriers) along with the comfortable 2-3-2 configuration on the B767 that sometimes operates the route play a large part in the score.
Air France is ranked 2nd for Economy class with an average score of 7.6/10. AF runs a mix of A380s, which generally score high for seat comfort, alongside 777s in a tight 3-4-3 configuration, bringing down the average grade.
OpenSkies’ small 66-seat Economy class cabins have an average score of 6.3/10, putting the boutique carrier in 3rd place.
XL Airways, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines received generally low grades from passengers posting reviews, landing them at the bottom of the ranking. XL Airways high-density configuration in Economy can be to blame for its low score, while AA’s lack of individual seat-back in-flight entertainment on the refurbished B767-300 plays a part in its low average grade. U.S. carriers seem to be focusing on upgrades in the premium cabins rather than economy class.
U.S. carriers seem to be focusing on upgrades in the premium cabins rather than economy class. The investments in Business class are paying off with American and Delta ranked best in the category. Full-flat full-aisle-access has become the golden standard for International Business class and the two airlines consistently offering this on the New York to Paris route were ranked highest by flyers.
Methodology – Based on average customer rating for airlines in each class of service in the as attributed by users of Flight-Report.com in reviews of direct flights from New York to Paris (and vice-versa) posted on Flight-Report.com over the last 2 years (From November 2013 to October 2015).