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Air France reveals its new business class seat – with a door

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If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. In a surprise announcement, Air France has announced a new business class seat that will be flying from September.

It is joining a growing gang of airlines – including Delta, Qatar Airways, British Airways and more – who are installing suites with doors in business class cabins. (Finnair, which recently launched an innovative no-recline seat is one of the few airlines to buck the trend – have we reached peak door?)

Air France business class 3

Air France says it is based on the Cirrus seat, which also forms the basis for Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Suite. To me, it looks closer to seat manufacturer Safran’s new Versa seat and is quite different from previous Cirrus configurations.

Air France’s existing business class seat is also based on the Cirrus product so there is a level of continuity. It is evolution rather than revolution, albeit with some key upgrades.

It looks very smart from the PR photos:

Air France new business classs

The seat is installed in a reverse herringbone configuration, which means window seats are angled towards the windows whilst the centre pair face inwards:

Air France new business class 4

All seats are lie-flat and feature direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 layout.

Air France has opted for a striking two-tone look, with dark navy textiles and lower half with a gleaming off-white top half. This has the benefit of disguising nicks and marks at foot level where wear is high whilst making the seat look bigger at eye level:

Air france new business class 2

It would have been nice to see a few more touches of the iconic Air France red to liven the cabin up. As it stands, it is almost as plain as BA’s Club Suite. At least there is a fun carpet motif that adds a bit of dynamism to the cabin:

Air France Business Class carpet

As I mentioned above, the seat features a half-height privacy door, but even with the door open the seat should offer more privacy than its predecessors thanks to its tall wrap-around shell.

In the middle pair you’ll also find a full-width privacy screen which can be up or down depending on whether you are travelling with a companion or not (or whether you want to see them!)

Air France new business class divider

This is a much better solution than BA’s tiny sliding window in Club Suite. It means that the seat is perfectly suited regardless of whether you’re flying solo or not.

Another upgrade versus the old Air France seat is the fixed seat-back in-flight entertainment screen, which enables gate-to-gate operation. At 17.3″ diagonally they are pretty average in size for business class, but they are 4K. Let’s hope Air France stocks 4K content. You’ll also be able to pair Bluetooth headphones directly with the IFE.

Air France new business class storage

Another touch that I like is the glowing winged seahorse motif on the storage console which adds a clever bit of branding:

Air France new business class window

Where can I fly Air France’s new business class seat?

The new seat is being installed on 12 Boeing 777-300ERs, with the first due to arrive in September. The installation will include a complete refit of all cabins, including the installation of Air France’s latest premium economy seat from the A350 as well.

The aircraft will feature 48 suites in the business class cabin, as well as 48 premium economy seats. 273 economy seats round out the aircraft.

New York will be the first destination to get the refurbished aircraft.

Remember that you can redeem Virgin Points via Virgin Flying Club for Air France flights, so there is an opportunity to fly this as a redemption even if you don’t have any Flying Blue miles. Don’t forget that there is currently a 30,000 Virgin Points bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card.

Comments (42)

  • Aston100 says:

    That looks just like Club Suite to me.
    What is the difference?

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    I dont like the colours. It’s too white. Won’t age well either with stains etc.

    • Rhys says:

      It’s only white depending on which way you look!

    • AJA says:

      I quite like it. I think it is fresh and bright. Makes it light and airy. I think ir reminds me of Finnair’s colour scheme on its A350s

  • RoundTheWorld says:

    No First class?

  • His Holyness says:

    There’s STILL big safety issues at AF since 447.

    Search avherald.com for even recent GPWS incidents.

  • Luca M says:

    Problem with this configuration is the height of the footwell for this of us that likes to sleep on the side.. I kept banging my knees against the underside of the table. The Emirates business class on the A380 has a somehow more comfortable footwell and so far the only seat where I had a proper, comfortable, 6 hours uninterrupted sleep.

  • Tom gold says:

    Can anyone shed some light on the current air France seat I’m likely to encounter on business to South Africa in June with or how about KLM?

    • Rob says:

      Air France is up there with Lufthansa in the number of different seats it has. You need to look at the aircraft you’re on and then do a specific search on that aircraft type. The A380 seats, for example, are 1990’s style ones which slope to the floor at an angle and are not horizontal.

      • Tom gold says:

        Thank you Rob. That translates as ‘best avoid’ to me.
        I’m trying every option to get my way from TLV to JNB on a business class flat bed with avios or virgin points.
        Interestingly Qatar won’t even recognize TLV on their website

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