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.