AF « La Première » Outlook

Old May 28, 20, 4:56 am
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AF « La Première » Outlook

I initiate this thread as P product is frequently discussed on sub forums.
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Last edited by Bullspread; Sep 6, 20 at 12:45 am
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Old May 28, 20, 4:59 am
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Following the retreat of the A380 , I notice today that Yield Management reduced the availability of buckets fares P and F to a maximum of 4 to 3 to anticipate the switch of airplane from an A380 to 77W
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Old May 28, 20, 5:30 am
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Will AF install more La Première seats now that the A380s are gone? Not all of the 77Ws have La Première, so they could install them there.

Some other airlines have managed to put First Class on their 787-9s and A350-900s. Don't see AF doing so, but at least there's the opportunity.
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Old May 28, 20, 6:49 am
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I think AF will get rid of La Première within one or two years. The 777 300 ER fleet with 4 F seats is not big enough to justify to keep this class.
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Old May 28, 20, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by AHC96 View Post
Will AF install more La Première seats now that the A380s are gone? Not all of the 77Ws have La Première, so they could install them there.

Some other airlines have managed to put First Class on their 787-9s and A350-900s. Don't see AF doing so, but at least there's the opportunity.
This is an interesting question. I think this would require refurbishing completely some planes, and I am not sure whether AF can afford such an investment in the near future. So I would imagine not much to happen in this sense in the immediate future...
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Old May 28, 20, 7:01 am
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Originally Posted by Jean97 View Post
I think AF will get rid of La Première within one or two years. The 777 300 ER fleet with 4 F seats is not big enough to justify to keep this class.
Of this I am not sure. I think it is a big part of AF selling point as a premium airline. Moreover, AF first class while pricey used to sell quite well. If there is demand and they can operate the B773s with a full P cabin, I don't see why they should stop. They have 19 planes with P (according to Wikipedia France), and I don't see them reconfiguring them or retiring them any time soon.

But I guess that all will depend on how much demand for travel there will be in 6-12 months from now. If anything, I'd imagine that the demand for business and luxury travel would suffer less than for economy.
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Old May 28, 20, 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by alesfo View Post
This is an interesting question. I think this would require refurbishing completely some planes, and I am not sure whether AF can afford such an investment in the near future. So I would imagine not much to happen in this sense in the immediate future...
Removing the P seats from planes will also have the cost of reconfiguration.
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Old May 28, 20, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
Removing the P seats from planes will also have the cost of reconfiguration.
Perhaps they will launch a 'Premium Business' class to use these seats without the ground amenities if P itself disappears?
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Old May 28, 20, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by alesfo View Post
Of this I am not sure. I think it is a big part of AF selling point as a premium airline. Moreover, AF first class while pricey used to sell quite well. If there is demand and they can operate the B773s with a full P cabin, I don't see why they should stop. They have 19 planes with P (according to Wikipedia France), and I don't see them reconfiguring them or retiring them any time soon.

But I guess that all will depend on how much demand for travel there will be in 6-12 months from now. If anything, I'd imagine that the demand for business and luxury travel would suffer less than for economy.
difficult indeed to estimate . I imagine that the demand for business Class from corporate could be strongly reduced these next months
whereas the demand for First class used by wealthy Pax could be less affected (LAX, NYC, HKG)
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Old May 28, 20, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by PeteM01 View Post
Perhaps they will launch a 'Premium Business' class to use these seats without the ground amenities if P itself disappears?
no P product anymore will let apart its clientele.
if I take my example as Ultimate member, I fly AF because they have a very descent First class product.
Should they turn into an only Business/Eco product, I will turn to Star Alliance who have a descent F offer (SQ, LX, LH, ANA) and I will select this alliance rather than Skyteam even on J flights)
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Last edited by Bullspread; May 28, 20 at 9:42 am
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Old May 28, 20, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
Removing the P seats from planes will also have the cost of reconfiguration.
Indeed. My best guess is that they will keep the P as it is on the 773 for several months, until it is clear where the demand is going (and what is the fate of air travel worldwide). Any other move is either costly (refurbishing) or risky. For instance, scrapping the whole P experience and offering a "premium business experience" consisting of a better seat would mean a much lower price point and, more importantly, would damage the brand of La Premiere irreparably (meaning, if it does not work it will be very hard to go back to selling a premium product for three times the cost of a J seat).
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Old May 29, 20, 12:47 am
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Originally Posted by alesfo View Post
Of this I am not sure. I think it is a big part of AF selling point as a premium airline. Moreover, AF first class while pricey used to sell quite well. If there is demand and they can operate the B773s with a full P cabin, I don't see why they should stop. They have 19 planes with P (according to Wikipedia France), and I don't see them reconfiguring them or retiring them any time soon.

But I guess that all will depend on how much demand for travel there will be in 6-12 months from now. If anything, I'd imagine that the demand for business and luxury travel would suffer less than for economy.
I already made some comments here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/32407365-post2891.html

Regarding your points. There is no way that longhaul air travel will reach pre-covid levels in the next 12 months. Maybe AF will restore most of its flights, but loads will be less.

P is a big marketing part in AF advertising. Whether it is successful is another question. It might be in America where national airlines have a mediocre F product, if any. At the other end of the spectrum, AF premium image is poor in Asia. Unreliable-airline perception and the mix of old and up-to-date J seats are damaging. Over half of AF P seats were antique and did not help either. Other Asian airlines have excellent F too (CX, SQ, NH, JL, KE, OZ,..). Furthermore, it is unclear whether advertising a great F will boost Y or J travel. I do understand that some posters here would be upset if AF removes P, but AF should take a rational business approach to the decision, not wishful thinking.

It is likely that the future of P is not an urgent matter for AF. AF will wait to reach a decision. With the removal of A380s, one waiting position would be to temporarily halt offering F and the huge cost involved. There will be plenty of overcapacity in the coming months (possibly years), so no need to spend on retrofit.The 4 P seats could fly empty or be used for opup of some J pax, but with J service.
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Old May 29, 20, 4:32 am
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
It is likely that the future of P is not an urgent matter for AF. AF will wait to reach a decision. With the removal of A380s, one waiting position would be to temporarily halt offering F and the huge cost involved. There will be plenty of overcapacity in the coming months (possibly years), so no need to spend on retrofit.The 4 P seats could fly empty or be used for opup of some J pax, but with J service.
I suspect the P seats will be reserved for crew use for the forseeable future, if P is discontinued. It would be nice to 'flub' occasionally (as they say on the BA forum) but I don't hold out much hope.
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Old May 29, 20, 4:34 am
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
I already made some comments here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/32407365-post2891.html

Regarding your points. There is no way that longhaul air travel will reach pre-covid levels in the next 12 months. Maybe AF will restore most of its flights, but loads will be less.

P is a big marketing part in AF advertising. Whether it is successful is another question. It might be in America where national airlines have a mediocre F product, if any. At the other end of the spectrum, AF premium image is poor in Asia. Unreliable-airline perception and the mix of old and up-to-date J seats are damaging. Over half of AF P seats were antique and did not help either. Other Asian airlines have excellent F too (CX, SQ, NH, JL, KE, OZ,..). Furthermore, it is unclear whether advertising a great F will boost Y or J travel. I do understand that some posters here would be upset if AF removes P, but AF should take a rational business approach to the decision, not wishful thinking.

It is likely that the future of P is not an urgent matter for AF. AF will wait to reach a decision. With the removal of A380s, one waiting position would be to temporarily halt offering F and the huge cost involved. There will be plenty of overcapacity in the coming months (possibly years), so no need to spend on retrofit.The 4 P seats could fly empty or be used for opup of some J pax, but with J service.
I agree, and I even go further, as I started the discussion with the announcement of A380 retirement in AF fleet. On SQ for instance, there is a huge gap of comfort between F on 773, and Suites revamped on A380. I pay the price for suites, but prefer to travel in J when plane is 777. For AF, It might become quickly the same with aging 777 if no new plane proposes F seats.
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Old May 29, 20, 6:16 am
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AF is anyway in the process of refitting their 3-class B77W with new J-seats, so the additional cost of configuring them with a 4-8 seat P-cabin is negligible. I firmly believe this was anyway the original plan to compensate for the A380 removal. Now while the A380 goes faster, demand will not pick up that fast, so they will have until around 2022 to offer the full P-capacity in the network.
Having just 76 P-seats in the fleet will not warrant the fixed cost of providing P-service (P-lounge, staff, etc.). So either they (mostly) compensate the A380 P-capacity or completely remove P. I believe Paris warrants a La Premiere offering from its flag carrier. Focus is on the long-term with an investment horizon over the next 10 years, not the short-term Corona period. Those who invest in the crisis, will come back stronger afterwards.
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