Air France is introducing a new premium economy product on its long-haul flights, dubbed 'Premium Voyager', and will begin to rebrand its remaining aircraft cabins from next month.

Premium Voyager tickets will go on sale on 1 April, for roll out from this autumn. The cabin will feature a bespoke-design, fixed-shell seat with 40% more space than Air France's economy class product.

The 48cm-wide (19in) seats will be configured with a 97cm pitch and a 123° recline. They will be equipped with a 26cm video screen, with the control box incorporated into the seat rather than being stowed beneath it.

Air France says: "In this intermediary cabin range, Air France is the first European airline to offer fixed-shell seats, and the first airline in the world to offer so much legroom."

Air France Premium Voyageur
 © Air France

Passengers will benefit from priority check-in, a 30kg luggage allowance, priority boarding and baggage delivery. They will be given amenities from the Affaires cabin, including a travel kit and noise-reducing headphones; the meal service will mirror Air France's economy product.

Premium Voyager will gradually be phased in across Air France's Boeing 777-, Airbus A340- and A330-operated long-haul network. On average, an area previously equipped with 40 economy class seats will be configured with 22 Premium Voyageur seats.

The first available destinations will be New York-JFK, Tokyo and Osaka. Air France says fares will be "highly competitive" and suited to small- and medium-sized businesses. Return flights between Paris and New York will start at €1,038 ($1,419), including taxes. Paris-Tokyo will start at €1,660 and Paris-Osaka at €1,665.

Air France says: "These fares will enable customers to move on from the comfort of the economy cabin to a dedicated private seat area in Premium Voyageur."

Air France Premium Voyageur
  © Air France

With the Premium Voyageur launch, Air France will gradually introduce new cabin brand names from April 2009. On its long-haul network, the French carrier will rebrand its first class cabin, now 'L'Espace Premiere', as 'La Premiere' and its 'L'Espace Affaires' business product as 'Affaires'.

'Alize', a premium economy product on Caribbean and Indian Ocean routes will become 'Premium Voyageur/Alize' and the 'Tempo' cabin will be renamed 'Voyageur'.

On medium-haul routes the 'Affaires' business and 'Voyageur' economy class branding will also be used, with premium economy product 'Tempo Challenge' switching to become 'Premium Voyageur'. On short-haul links 'Tempo/La Navette' will become 'Voyageur/La Navette'.


Source: Air Transport Intelligence news