Air France will upgrade its aging business class to adopt Cathay Pacific's award-winning business class seats (based on the Zodiac Sicma Cirrus design) giving passengers a fully flat sleeping experience plus direct aisle access on its flights.
The French flag-carrier will customise the seats to to its own specifications and is promising a significant improvement for business travellers compared to its flimsy and cramped angled lie-flat seating.
Air France will be the first European airline to select the Zodiac Sicma Cirrus seats, which Australian Business Traveller voted the best in the sky last year.
The French airline will join a select group of airlines using the seat, which is arranged in a reverse herringbone layout.
Reports in the financial journal La Tribune (French, Google Translate) mention only Air France's Boeing 777 aircraft as being in line for the refit, but the airline's Airbus A380 superjumbos are also tipped for the upgrade.
Australians will be familiar with it as Cathay Pacific's new business seat, which will also be installed on American Airlines' jets, while US Airways' Envoy business class and Delta's Boeing 747s also use a slightly less advanced version of the same seat.
Using the new seat will "reposition Air France among the best airlines worldwide in terms of service quality, seat comfort, ground services and food quality", explained Air France CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
Emirates, meanwhile, has added a second daily Airbus A380 flight to Paris, enabling more all-superjumbo connections to France — meaning better seats, more space and the stand-up business class bar all the way to Europe.
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About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.