The growing popularity of the premium economy cabin continues as Air France has decided that the time has come to roll out “Premium Voyageur” on their widebodies. Upon first glance, it looks like a strong entry.
Premium Voyageur just sounds fancy, right? I mean, without that last “u” in there, it’s just plain, old “Premium Voyager,” and that would have been boring. Of course I’m kidding. I don’t care what you call it as long as the product is good. Take a look:
They’ve gone with a shell seat that will apparently recline into itself (up to 123 degrees). The seat is about an inch or two wider than average – about 19 inches – and the armrests are wider so you don’t have to fight your neighbor. A 38 inch seat pitch seems to be about standard for premium economy. (Note: I’m talking about a real premium economy class and not United’s Economy Plus.) Some amenities come from business (now branded Affaires) class. You get a little travel kit when you fly, and you’ll get a bottle of water, noise-reducing headphones, and a better pillow and blanket. The food, however, is strictly coach class.
As you would probably hope, the benefit isn’t just on the aircraft. You get priority check-in at the airport, priority baggage delivery, and all that other fun stuff that comes with being a premium traveler.
Overall, it looks like they’ve done a nice job As budgets tighten, many business class travelers may look at this as a decent option. They gave some sample pricing of about $1,400 on a roundtrip from Paris to New York, so that can save thousands over a higher class of service.
But I’d bet they’re really looking at this as an opportunity for coach passengers to buy up. At least, that’s how the seat map looks. The business and first class cabins are keeping the same number of seats while the coach cabin loses. On a 777, coach loses 50 seats in coach and gains 28 Premium Voyageur instead.
These seats will be up for sale on some routes on April 1 with installations starting soon after. Looks like Paris to New York, Tokyo, and Osaka will get outfitted first.
Which 777s is it going on? AF currently have 3-3-3 seating in coach on their 777-200, 3-4-3 on their 777-300 — the latter has newer but slightly narrower seats and noticeably narrower aisles (I recently flew both types, LAX–CDG and back). If they put the 3-4-3 seats on their 777-200’s they’l recover some of the loss in capacity.
Interesting…so this is AF’s variation on the Thompson(Twins) CozySuite Y seats DL announced last year. Good to see they are attempting to sync their products across the Alliance.
Ron – It looks like everything – “This cabin will be gradually phased in on Air France’s entire international long-haul network on flights operated by Boeing 777s, Airbus A340s and A330s.” Not sure if this means they’ll go 3-4-3 on the rest of the 777 fleet.
Eric – I don’t think that’s the case. Delta is using those Thompson seats for its regular coach product. Air France is still sticking with a normal coach product for the far back of the bus.
Why can’t Premium Economy seats be more than 38 inces and wider than 19 inches? Some of us have really long legs and need a few inches more. Seat with also needs to improve. There are too many obese people that can only squeeze into 19 inches….meaning their “excess” flesh will ooze into the other passengers seat much to his or her discomfort!
If you notice the shell construction, no oozing is possible. I’m sorry, but seats have to be considered one size fits all.
Charge by the pound for everything. The thin and fit shouldn’t have to subsidize the obese – which is exactly what is happening now…..
I have travelled with Premium Economy to South America from Paris, and I can defintely NOT RECOMMEND IT !!! The fixed shell structure offers VERY LIMITED reclining so for long haul 13 or more hours flights it is terrible, when sleeping is taken into account. I was disappointed to have paid the double of a normal Economy ticket to travel as UNCOMFORTABLE as economy usually is. I just thought I would share my experience if it can help anyone at all…
I am thinking the Premium voyageur from Singapore to Paris in July. But we are worry about the money that we add it. It’s worth ? Do your guy have any pictures of the seat? thanks!
Air France has a bunch of pictures:
Save the money. Definetely not worth. The seats are very uncomfortable and many passengers complain about back pain after a long haul in these seats. The only benefir you get is the longer pitch. Gerard (Af flight attendant)
The seats are absolutely horrible. There is no way to fall asleep in them. The tray tables are unusable unless you weight less than 120lbs! I had to eat with my tray on my lap. Furthermore, Air France refuses to refund these tickets! Also, unlike a full fair economy ticket, and these things cost twice as much, are not flexible. Again I hat to pay $700 dollars to make a change on them. Next time I am definitely flying l’avion!
Twice as much as full fare coach? Hardly. The privacy alone is worth the extra money and you get far more personal service and amenities.
The other bad thing about premium economy is that although you can check in at the business class desk, you are absolutely not permitted to use the business class lounge. L’Avion from Open Skies is a far better deal. Real business class seats with a real business class lounge, and it costs less than Air France premium economy!
I has just flown on this class from BOG to CDG, and was a TERRIBLE experience, seats are absolutely uncomfortable, you can not move, I had to change to a economy seat to sleep, DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!!!
I think the new AF Premium Economy is well worth the added cost. I have done a round trip LAX to CDG and it made a huge difference over the standard coach seat. I just booked another round trip LAX to CDG for April and the difference over coach was $300 each way, well worth it in my opinion.
I was looking at flying Dulles – CDG in the Fall when AirFrance will be using the A380 on that route, and see that they are charging over $4000 RT economy (economy on most of the other direct flights on more ordinary craft is generally around $900 at the moment – even OpenSkies is only about $1500 for its business seats). What gives with that? Do they really think people will pay that for economy?
There shouldn’t be any premium in coach for this airplane. You might have just found a particularly full flight.
We’re booked on Premium Economy long-haul but have read that the seat cushions are uncomfortable. I’m purchasing self-inflating seat cushions before we fly. Hopefully that’ll do the trick.