Following the announcement of the lifting of travel restrictions for vaccinated international passengers travelling to the United States, effective early November, Air France announced last week that the company would strengthen the number of its flights to and from the United States and increase the number of its flights to New York, Miami and Los Angeles. The objective of Air France is to go back to 90% of its offer-mostly the same as 2019- with the target date March 2022. Most recently, Air France has won four Skytrax World Airline Awards 2021 including Best Airline in Europe and the COVID Airline Excellence Award. Great news for the company.
The French airline operates 11 destinations in the United States: New York, Boston, Washington DC, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles with more than 100 flights per week. For Air France, the North Atlantic is the most important long-haul axis which represents 40% of the Group’s long-haul revenue. New York JFK is the most important international stopover for the company which operates five flights a day from Paris.
Air France is the ultimate ambassador of French art de vivre and the window of France around the world. From the emblematic white bird with a curved beak, the uniforms designed by the greatest couturier Cardin, Courrèges, Dior, Carven or Jean Patou -to name just a few- to the interior elements imagined by emblematic Raymond Loewy, Charlotte Perriand or Andrée Putman and on board gastronomy supervised by maestro Chef Alain Ducasse, Air France commemorates all the codes of French luxury. The airline company has always been recognized for its exceptional service and attention to its customers.
More than 50% of the American business and first class clientele are touristic, compared to the other companies where American passengers fly mostly for business purpose. Flying with Air France is the first step towards a magical French adventure which starts in New York when customers board an Air France flight to Paris. Then they will definitely experience a stay in a Parisian Palace and travel to the south of France.
“In my childhood two airline companies made me dream: Air France and Pan Am. I want to keep the magic of Air France and I will do all my best to maintain its specialities and strengths. Air France is a magical brand, a unique experience for passengers” said Air France CEO, Ben Smith when he entered the company in 2018.
On June 24, 2021 Air France celebrated its 75th anniversary of the very special route Paris-New York. The two cities have been the foundations of Air France adventure and a laboratory of innovation that forever changed air travel. A wonderful love story between two cities which are looking to each other on each side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The story began on June 24, 1946. A Douglas DC4 called “Ciel d’île de France” took off from Paris-Orly at 7:00 p.m. 23 hours and 45 minutes later with two stopovers, one in Ireland and the other in Newfoundland, the first Air France scheduled service landed in New York. For 75 years, so many memories and stories have forged the reputation of the French airline shared by its crews, teams and of course all the customers.
Concorde has grandly contributed to the rich and iconic history of the company. With this extraordinary plane, Air France accumulated an unbelievable savoir faire. In 2000, Air France opened its first Salon La Première in Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle, today it is one of the best lounges in the world.
Alain Vershuere, Air France Chief Purser, who entered Air France in 1982 as a Stewart likes to evoke his flights on all the Air France planes from Boeing 747 to Concorde. “I am forever grateful to have been working on Concorde” told Alain Vershuere. “It was magical to fly to New York and come back on the same day”. “It was the era of going always faster, today our guests like to take their time and enjoy their flights.” He added. The extreme tailor made and incomparable luxury of the Concorde era gave Air France an immense savoir faire with its clientele incorporated then into the company.“Our customers like to come back flying with us because we have a made to measure approach they cannot find anywhere else”. “They love France and Air France is part of the French identity. Our heritage, human kindness and careful service are the strongest and most important richness of the company” remarked Alain.
The Paris New York route has always been a dream for pilots and aviation lovers, Air France Captain Jean Michel Buffet pointed out that it is probably the most beautiful destination in the world. Captain Buffet entered Air France in 1987. He flew on “the queen of the sky” Boeing 747 and today on Boeing 777. He likes to say that his happiness is to be part of this iconic Paris New York route which has transported millions of passengers since 1946. It is the busiest route in the world. “There is another life above the Atlantic Ocean. When flying at night, I am very lucky, as a captain, to see auroras borealis, shooting stars or uncommon phenomenons like I recently had the chance to observe a kind of cloud full of twinkles located up to North Pole.” “Captains love to run after the sun and play with time zones ”. Captain Buffet celebrated the 75th anniversary as he directed the Air France flight AF006 on June 24, 2021. “It was and it will always be a memorable route. We flew very north up to Greenland, Newfoundland, then Boston, Cape Cod. On the way back to Paris, we caught the jet stream so we arrived one hour earlier.” Even after 33 years inside the company, Captain Buffet is still amazed by the hours spent up there.
Since last May, Vanna Oak is the Air France Station Manager at New York JFK. She oversees the most important stopover after Paris Roissy CDG. Paris-New York-Paris is the busiest route of the Air France network and takes the second place after Roissy in terms of Air France employees. Vanna Oak started in Air France in 2006. From Boston, to Washington Dulles and now New York JFK, she – as an Air France employee- has participated in the history of the transatlantic route. The opening of the beautiful Air France lounge in Washington Dulles is one of her proudest achievements. Today, in JFK, she manages flight schedules, Air France teams and all the operations on the ground on a daily basis. “This stopover is the window of the company in the United States, we need to continue to maintain it at its top level”. “We need to return to its highest level – as it was before the pandemic – the Air France Salon is an important part of this Air France story. “We are ready to welcome passengers from Paris back again ”. Vanna told with a big smile.