In the autumn’s rush of news, we may well have overlooked the late September release of the smart, pleasingly designed and professional-looking cabin aboard Air France’s Airbus A220-300 — and it’s time to remedy that.
Dedicated to European flights within the airline’s network, 148 seats are on board, which compares to the 142-143 on the various flavours of Air France’s Airbus A319 (which it is nominally replacing in terms of fleet updates) and the 174-178 on its A320s. That’s three more seats than on the early all-economy/Eurobusiness A220-300 operated by airlines like Swiss and AirBaltic.
First impressions are, well, impressive. It’s hard to make a blue-and-offwhite all-economy cabin look attractive, but the high ceilings and large windows of the A220 frame, together with what has been confirmed as Collins Aerospace’s Meridian seat product, work well with the small lick of red that is the Air France ribbon mark.
Next to a small galley kitchen on the right side of the aircraft, which is separated from the cabin, it’s interesting to note that Air France has selected a small serving station for immediately aft of door 1L. While not particularly integrated into the rest of the cabin in terms of shapes and angles, it will come in useful for serving the 148 passengers (minus however many Eurobusiness class neighbour seats are blocked off) on board.
Speaking of business class, Air France’s seatmap shows that the B aisle seats and E centre seats are blocked. This is a positive move, particularly for the A seat passenger, who thus has an entire side of the aircraft to themself.
Interestingly, that seems to be different (at least in display) to the airline’s Embraer 170 aircraft, usually operated by its regional outfit Hop, where none of the seats in the 2-2 configuration are marked as blocked off.
The seats themselves are wide and modern, with various conveniences: a phone and tablet holder, a cupholder and fullsized table. While no full AC sockets are visible or mentioned in Air France’s material, the availability of both USB-A and USB-C power sockets should keep most devices charged up for the duration of what are relatively short flights.
Helpfully, those sockets are up at the top of the seatback, right next to the seatback PED holder, avoiding the modern frustration of the shin-level power supply being further than the average cable length from the position of the PED while it’s being watched.
Inflight connectivity, as RGN reported at the time, is provided by the Intelsat (formerly Gogo) Ku-band network with the 2Ku double-antenna solution, unusual in Europe but regardless a strong choice.
Extra passenger experience technology marks, too, to whoever thought up illuminating the cabin from left to right with LEDs to form the blue-white-red of the French tricolore flag. Chapeau, indeed.
All in all, the cabin is effective and very French. It’s an elegant bit of painting within the numbers of the A220’s superlative single-aisle cabin — and those numbers remain industry-leading, even more than half a decade after journalists first clambered aboard a test aircraft, then called the C Series, in Paris in 2015 and boarded demonstration flights a year later in Dublin.
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- As Air France drops A380, picks up A220s, a wider deal is speculated
- Air France pins turnaround on improved premium passenger experience
All images credited to Air France