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Best & Beyond – Air France reveals new economy and premium economy class upgrades

by Devesh Agarwal

Flag carrier Air France, revealed its new upgraded economy class and premium economy class service offering which includes new seats, new meal services, in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems, ice-cream and second hot meal service on longer flights. The carrier will equip 44 of its long-haul Boeing 777s starting from summer 2014 with the new product.

These upgrades are part of the new Best & Beyond initiative the airline is undertaking under the umbrella of its Transform 2015 strategic plan.

The airline will also upgrade its business class and La Première first class which will be unveiled in January and April 2014.

In economy class, there is a new fully-revised seat, with more legroom, a new seat cushion, more comfortable headrests and a wider tray table. The seat has been ergonomically-redesigned to guarantee optimum comfort. The seat also features new functionalities including an electric socket, headphones holder, etc.

CGI of the new economy class seat. Photo courtesy Air France.

Children have received a lot of attention from the carrier in their meal upgrade. The airline uses organic produce adapted to the tastes of infants and young children, new tableware and a selection of new games (plane-shaped cutlery, pilot’s badge, colourings) to make the flight fun for children.

Economy class children’s meal featuring “plane” cutlery shaped for children and toys pouch. Photo © Devesh Agarwal.

Economy class meal featuring new lightweight plastic containers. Photo © Devesh Agarwal.

In premium economy, Air France retains its leadership with its exclusive shell seat, which will be made more comfortable with improved seat cushions and a multi-position footrest. The meal service too is upgraded along with amenities and has been implemented since September this year. Candies, and chocolates are also added. On flights longer than 8.5 hours a second hot meal will also be served.

Premium economy class meal with Champagne service, candies and chocolates in a conical tube. Photo © Devesh Agarwal.

CGI composite of the new service offerings in the premium economy cabin. Image courtesy Air France.

For an actual cabin photo of the current premium economy cabin, please read our trip report.

The IFE is being upgrades with wide touch screens loaded with High Definition images offering over 1,000 hours of music, movies, TV series and many other programmes on an AVOD (audio video on-demand) system.

CGI of the new touch screen HD AVOD IFE system.

At present Air France operates only Airbus A330s to India and has no plans, at present, to re-introduce any Boeing 777 service.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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