After their Economy Class last September, and Business Class earlier this year, it was in Asia last Wednesday, 7th., May, that Air France presented their new completely revamped Premier Class to an audience of a hundred or so journalists. Up until the very last moment, this new product configuration, of which the objective is to compete with the best in the long-haul airline market, and costing an investment of around € 50 million, had been kept well under wraps.
Bruno Matheu, Managing Director Long-haul Activity - Air France: "Everything has changed. Firstly the size; it's a large suite, with a volume of over 5 cu.m. The width of the seat between the armrests, has increased to 58 cm. ( a little less than 2ft. ), that's 6cm. ( 2.5'' ) more than previously. The bed width is now 77 cm. ( over 2.5 ft. ), or 7cm. ( almost 3'' ) wider than in the previous Premier Class, and the 24'' video screen is the biggest on the market. It's a real suite and, depending on your preference, you can either have a completely open or fully enclosed space by drawing this curtain. It's also, and above all, a living area."
A much more comfortable 3 sq.m. living area for each passenger which can be divided by curtains to become a completely private space, so nothing like the old configuration shown here. The American B/E Aerospace designed Premier Class Suite, is full of new technologies, such as electrically controlled window blinds, and a high-tech remote control with screen.
For the presentation of the upgrading of its Premier Class, Air France wanted to do it on a grand scale. Their choice was Shanghai, China, but not merely by chance.
Frédéric GAGEY, C.E.O - Air France: "We are already well positioned in the Asian market, and may I remind you that Air France KLM is, by number of destinations, the leading European group in terms of routes. In addition, given the changing face of the biggest city in Asia, Shanghai is obviously an important market for us, and we would like to say to all those Chinese visitors to France, here tonight, a hearty, ''Welcome aboard our Air France aircraft."
This new Premier Class will be available, on certain flights, by the end of June, however, to be able to take advantage of the offer, you will have to make sure that you are onboard a Boeing 777, as it is those aircraft that the carrier will be equipping first.
Starting with the 777-300's then the 777-200's, until all 44 777's in the fleet have been fitted out between now and 2015; and that is only the beginning because Air France also plans to install this new Premier Class Suite on its A-380's.
Count on around 9,000 euros to take up this offer - the price to pay for the pleasure of occupying one of the four suites per aircraft.