Get Away With Fran

October 26, 2009

Air France passengers get new class with more space

Filed under: Airlines,International — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 2:00 pm


Air France passengers on AF 023 from New York to Paris yesterday got to see something new. They were on the first flight equipped with the line’s new Premium Voyaguer cabin, which is not quite business class but gives passengers deeply reclining seats with 40% more space than coach.

Christine Ourmières, Vice President and General Manager of Air France and KLM in the U.S., cut the ribbon yesterday officiallyinaugurating the new cabinon the Boeing 777-200ER.

I met with Ourmières recently in Boston, and she was gleeful about the new service. The seats are separated by a curtain, so really are a new class – in addition to coach, business and first.

You can reserve the new seats online- from about $1,303, or about twice the cost of a discounted economy ticket from New York to Paris (but substantially less than the cost of business class). The seats are being added this year on other long-haul routes from the U.S. and Paris as well.

Speaking of Air France, a few years ago I wrote a column on their Phoenix Project, which basically is a cultural program designed to make sure flight attendants and other airline staffers and crew more familiar with and able to deal with cultural differences. The training program, for instance, urged flight attendants to ask Americans personal questions because, well, we like to talk about ourselves.

Well, I am happy to report that program has now been expanded to include training on how to deal with other cultures as well, according to Ourmières.

“It’s had a tremendous impact on the customers who travel,” she said. The idea, of course, is to make the French appear friendly, no matter who they are talking to, which even Ourmières admits can sometimes be a challenge.




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