SkyTeam Special: Air France Welcoming First Airbus A350 as KLM Adds Boeing 787-10

Mar 20, 2019

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Air France announced today that it will welcome its very first 324-seat Airbus A350 in September, with another six aircraft to be added to the fleet by the close of 2020. Meanwhile in Holland, KLM will launch its first extended-length Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner on July 1, with another seven arriving by the end of next year.

Both items are significant for Delta flyers, as they make traveling on one of the two most notable SkyTeam partners much more alluring. Delta’s own A350 — home to Delta One Suites — has proven to be a laudable product for jumping across oceans.

While AirFrance has yet to comment on its own A350’s interior, we’re hopeful that it outfits it with the same Stelia Aerospace Equinox 2D seats that TPG Global News Editor Emily McNutt recently enjoyed on an A330 flight between Paris (CDG) and Houston (IAH).

Air France A350 in progres
Air France A350 in progress. Photo by F. Lancelot/master films by Airbus

The announcements continue a parade of news for Delta (and SkyTeam) loyalists, coming just weeks after Delta launched the Airbus A220 in North America and announced that the Airbus A330-900neo will enter commercial service in July.

KLM’s extended length 787-10 will join the carrier’s 13 787-9s. (You can read more on the differences right here.) Closer to home, United began 787-10 service earlier this year, which TPG Editor-at-Large Zach Honig reviewed between Los Angeles (LAX) and Newark (EWR).

air-france-a350-build-tail
Photo by F. Lancelot/master films by Airbus

Speaking of Dreamliners, Air France will receive two 787-9s for the summer season, bringing its total for that variant to nine. (In fact, I’ll be flying that very plane to the Maldives later this year once Air France restarts seasonal service between Paris (CDG) and Male (MLE).)

In other aircraft news, the Air France-KLM group is harmonizing the distribution of its cabins on its long-haul network, mainly by assigning its Airbus A380s to the United States. It’s a curious move given that smaller planes are likely a better fit from a capacity standpoint. Air France asserts that the shifts will bring its La Première cabin to at least one flight per day to San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), Washington, DC (IAD), Atlanta (ATL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Mexico City (MEX), Sao Paulo (GRU), Abidjan (ABJ), Dubai (DXB), Beirut (BEY), Beijing (PEK), Shanghai (PVG), Hong Kong (HKG), Tokyo-Haneda (HND) and Singapore (SIN).

elm dreamliner
KLM’s World Business class seating on its Boeing 787-9 (Photo by Eric Rosen for The Points Guy)

KLM will offer its new World Business Class on all its long-haul destinations, while its new economy cabin will also be available on all Boeing 777, 787 and Airbus A330 aircraft.

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Featured image by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy. 

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