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Old Mar 21, 12, 8:16 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Paris
Programs: BA ExClub Silver, Flying Blue Ivory (softly landed from Plat)
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History of business class on AF

I thought it would be interesting to open a thread about the history of business class with AF (ie: pre-NEV era). When was it introduced ? I believe in the early 80's (as "Le Club" product: 38" pitch, 123 degree recline if I am not mistaken -- which is not far from the specs of a PV seat). But were medium haul flights equipped with Le Club seats ? If not, how was premium seating on short/medium haul flights then ?

When were business class lounges introduced in the network ?

Was there another product between the Le Club years and L'Espace 127 (127 degrees, pitch?) which was introduced around 1997 if I recall well. I flew a couple times on L'Espace 127 and liked the seat very much, the reclined position was very relaxing even though the pitch was a bit tight as the front seat would invade your personal space when reclined. I never had that fondness for any of the NEV avatars.

Any precisions, fact sheets, recollections, etc. would be nice to share. This could also concern the evolution of the service.

Oh, and by the way this was triggered because for some reason I was looking for pictures of Le Club seats on the internet, and could not find one.
albireo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 12, 12:38 am   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Great idea! First time I flew was 1994, and until 2000 I did not fly even once every year on average. Would be cool to learn more about the time before.
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Old Mar 22, 12, 4:08 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Airlines began separating full-fare and discounted economy class passengers in the late 1970s. In 1976, KLM introduced a Full Fare Facilities (FFF) service for its full fare economy class passengers, which allowed them to sit at the front of the economy cabin immediately behind first class, and this concept was quickly copied by several other airlines.

Both United Airlines and Trans World Airlines experimented with a similar three-class concept in 1978, but abandoned it due to negative reactions from discount economy class travelers who felt that amenities were being taken away from them. United also cited the difficulty of tracking which passengers should be seated in which section of the economy cabin on connecting flights.

American Airlines also began separating full-fare economy passengers from discounted economy passengers in 1978, and offered open middle seats for full-fare passengers.

Around this time, there was speculation in the airline industry that supersonic aircraft would corner the market for the highest-paying premium passengers, and that a three-class market would emerge consisting of supersonic first class and subsonic business and economy classes.

In 1977, El Al announced plans to reconfigure its aircraft with a small first class cabin and larger business class cabin on the assumption that most transatlantic first-class passengers would shift their business to the Concorde.

British Airways introduced "Club Class," a separate premium cabin with numerous amenities, in October 1978 under CEO Colin Marshall as a means of further distinguishing full-fare business travelers from tourists flying on discounted fares. Pan Am announced that it would introduce "Clipper Class" in July 1978, and both Air France and Pan Am introduced business class in November 1978. Qantas claims to have launched the world's first Business Class in 1979.

On November 1, 1981, Scandinavian Airlines System introduced EuroClass with a separate cabin, dedicated check-in counters and lounges for full-fare passengers. Simultaneously, first class disappeared from their European fleet.

Source: Wikipedia
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