Air France Will Finally Refurbish Its Airbus A380s….But Not Until 2020

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The Air France A380s that are currently flying around the world offer one of the oldest style Business Class cabins offered by a major European airline. When I tell you that British Airways Club World is more progressive than the Air France A380 offering you should get some idea of what we’re dealing with here – the Business Class cabin doesn’t even offer true lie-flat seats.

The First Class cabin on the Air France A380 is pretty antiquated too and, although you get 32″ of seat pitch in Economy Class, the seats are starting to look threadbare.

As it happens Air France actually has a very, very nice Business Class product. I tried it out on a flight between Paris and New York and was pretty impressed.

a seat in a planeAir France Business Class seat on the 777-300ER

The thing is that, contrary to what you may imagine, that product isn’t available on the Air France A380s and this is starting to be an issue for the airline.

As SeatGuru shows the Air France A380 Business Class cabin offers 6-across seating in a 2-2-2 layout….

a diagram of a seat

…which means that not all passengers have direct access to the aisle – that’s outdated.

I haven’t got a picture of the Air France A380 Business Class cabin to show you because I actively book away from this particular aircraft whenever I can (so I’ve never flown in it) and this is an issue that I think Air France has slowly come to realise isn’t going to go away.

Most people assume that the Airbus A380 is a super-modern aircraft (it isn’t) and so will always offer the airline’s latest interiors. When they get on board the Air France A380 and see a Business Class cabin dating back to the last decade, they can be disappointed – I know I would be – and that isn’t good advertising for the airline.

Air France has finally decided to do something about this and has reported that the airline will retrofit its Airbus A380’s by 2020 (they’re clearly not going to hurry this along!)

As my French isn’t all that great I’ve relied on Alex McWhirter of Business Traveller to translate the gist of what the French article says.

Here’s a brief summary of what is being said:

  • retrofitting is planned for 2020
  • seat design and configuration have not been decided
  • the original plan to move First Class to the upper deck of the A380 may now not happen thanks to the increased weight of the newer First Class suites.

So, in short, we’re still at least 2 years aways from seeing anything new on the Air France A380, the airline still hasn’t made up its mind what kind of seats to use and the First Class cabin may or many not be moving to the upper deck. Great. Good to know the Air France hierarchy is on top of things!



  1. I too avoid this seat. When trying to sleep one feels like one is sliding downwards and to make matters worse one cannot sleep on ones back as there’s not sufficient room to allow ones feet to point upwards! I challenged AF on a mis-selling point as they disingenuously sell these seats as “flat-bed”. No reply. Clearly AF don’t understand what 180degrees means!

    • The airline will claim that the seat is at 180 degrees…just not 180 degrees parallel to the floor. Sadly airlines love to play with semantics and that’s what catches a lot of us out.

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