VANCOUVER — Premium economy class is selling for Air France, which began operating out of Western Canada in March.
“It has done incredibly well,” said Michael Magliocco, sales account executive for SkyTeam Airline Alliance members Alitalia, Air France, KLM and Delta.
Magliocco, who was in Vancouver recently with representatives from KLM and Delta to show travel agents an Air France aircraft configuration and seating, said the class is drawing passengers from two groups: the economy leisure traveller that wants an upgrade and businesses that are looking to cut costs for their regular corporate travellers that may have booked business class.
The premium economy is also proving popular to long-haul travellers from both leisure and business groups, who have come to Air France in the West because of its connections to points in Africa.
Magliocco said Air France, because it is a new entrant to the Western Canadian market, has come in with competitive pricing. “On these new flights,” he said, “We want to be a little aggressive.”
He said that business class is still selling well. Air France flights do not offer first class on the route. “Business class, though, feels like first class, but at half the price,” he said.
Air France’s premium economy class is a cabin area with dividers between economy and business class and depending on the aircraft configuration the seats are over three to six rows. Air France has reconfigured its section with adjustable seats and footrest, 40% more legroom than in economy, and 12-inch high-definition television screens.
Air France entered the Vancouver market in March with the first Boeing 777-200 touching down at the Vancouver International Airport and providing the city’s only available direct service to Paris on a scheduled carrier. Air France is now flying five times a week out of YVR. The airline has also forged agreements with WestJet providing outbound passengers booking options to connect with the airline and inbound passengers more gateways.