Air France Adding Daily Airbus A380 Service Between Atlanta and Paris
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If you've been looking for a way to both fly up front on an Airbus A380 and arrive in Paris in time for espresso and viennoiseries, you're in luck. Based on schedules loaded in across the board, including Air France's own booking portal, the carrier will be shifting one of its two daily nonstop flights between Atlanta (ATL) and Paris (CDG) from a Boeing 777 to an Airbus A380. Those who follow routes closely may remember that Air France did indeed run a one-off A380 flight between ATL and CDG in December of 2017, but now we're graduating beyond the tease.
Effective March 31, 2019, the later of the two flights (AF689/688) will be flown on an A380-800 henceforth. For an idea of what to expect should you opt for that over the 777, you should check out TPG's review of Air France's A380 in La Premiere between New York and Paris.
Air France already operates an A380 between Paris and Abidjan (ABJ), Johannesburg (JNB), Los Angeles (LAX), Mexico City (MEX), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Shanghai (PVG) and Washington–Dulles (IAD). From March 31, 2019, onward, you can add Atlanta (ATL) to that list as well.
From that point, Air France will run two daily nonstop flights between Atlanta and Paris, complementing Delta Air Lines' two nonstops on the same route. (Delta runs one of those on a Boeing 777, and the other on an Airbus A330.)
We've reached out to Air France for confirmation on the swap, and to learn more on why it's adding capacity, and if the outgoing 777 will be used on a different route. The carrier didn't respond prior to publication, but we'll update this article should we hear back.
Cash and Award Pricing
As for booking a seat on that first A380 run between Atlanta and Paris? Though we're still mourning the loss of the Flying Blue award chart that was (if you hadn't heard, it switched to variable/dynamic pricing earlier this year with no set award fee chart), mileage rates on the March 31, 2019 flight aren't too bad.
Cash fares for AF689 on March 31, 2019 are just over $3,000 in Economy, and nearly $10,000 in business. Granted, that's being inflated given how far out the booking is, and because we're looking at one-way fares rather than round-trip. Still, those seeking to hop on board would do much better via miles.
A ride in Economy will set you back 29,000 Flying Blue miles + $68 in taxes, while a business-class ticket is showing as available at just 66,500 Flying Blue miles + $219 in taxes. Given TPG's valuation of Flying Blue miles (1.2 cents apiece), that's like parting ways with $348 + taxes for Economy and $798 + taxes for business. In other words, those award fares are a screaming deal compared to what you'd have to pay outright if using cash.
If you've been searching for another award route to fly an A380 on, this addition is a huge plus. Given how long we have until it begins servicing Atlanta, you have plenty of time to boost your Flying Blue account by procuring credit card miles that easily transfer over. Signing up for and achieving welcome bonuses for cards like the Citi Premier® Card (60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening), The Platinum Card® from American Express (up to 100,000 points via the CardMatch tool; targeted offer; subject to change at anytime), Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months), and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months) can catapult your Flying Blue balance without ever flying or spending a single night away from home.
To learn more on how to transfer points to Flying Blue, how to book flights via its award portal and understanding the program as a whole, we've included a few handy links below.
- 5 Things You Need to Know About Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- The Illogical New Flying Blue Program, Explained in Screenshots
- SkyTeam’s Best Award Search Tool Returns via Air France
- Transferring Ultimate Rewards Points to Flying Blue
- The Top Uses of Flying Blue Miles
- Maximizing Flying Blue: Earning, Redeeming, Transfers & More