FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Marie-Joseph Malé, VP And General Manager, Air France U.S.A.

Oct 1, 2005
2005 / October 2005

Global Traveler: What is Air France doing to address the needs of the frequent business/luxury traveler from the United States to Europe?
Marie-Joseph Malé: First of all, we have a truly global network, further strengthened by the 2004 merger with KLM and our U.S.-based SkyTeam Alliance partners, Continental, Delta and Northwest. Fifty percent of our U.S. passengers travel beyond our Paris hub, Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG), to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and even Asia. The power of CDG is the number of opportunities for connections — 17,300 every week. It is the largest hub in Europe.

Besides the global network, Air France has a niche network for the oil, gas and energy industries. Our Dedicate program offers nonstop flights from our CDG hub to remote or hard-to-reach destinations in Africa and the Middle East. We currently offer Dedicate service to Kuwait, Malabo, Pointe-Noire, Riyadh and Tashkent. These flights offer a full range of airline services and scheduling tailored to the needs of the energy professionals, using a dedicated fleet of Airbus A319-ER aircraft with business- and economy-class service.

Additionally, our recently introduced New Travel concept goes beyond Air France’s already spacious and enhanced first- and business-class products. It is a travel experience that takes into account everything — reservations, check-in, on-board service and airport lounges. The quality and choice in in-flight dining are also exceptional.

Air France’s frequent flyer program, Fréquence Plus, has joined with KLM’s program, the Flying Dutchman, to create a totally integrated product called Flying Blue. Of course, we continue to be part of the SkyTeam Alliance, and our passengers can accrue and redeem miles on Delta, Continental and Northwest. Additionally, our VoyageurRewards program is a loyalty program specially designed to benefit small- and medium-sized companies.

Finally, we are always enhancing our Web site to offer our passengers special fares and more choices. Recently, we introduced a new functionality that lets passengers search for the lowest possible fares three days before and three days after their search dates, when less expensive fares can be found.

GT: Tell us a little bit more about Air France’s new business- and first-class service.
MJM: Unlike many airlines today, Air France still believes in offering a first-class product. There are certain markets in the United States that can support first class, and in those markets all three classes of service are available. For example, in New York (JFK), Washington, D.C. (DCA) and Los Angeles (LAX), we offer all three classes. Other markets, such as Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL) and Detroit (DTW), have the new business- and economy-class service.

This new service brings back the glamour in flying, with enhanced comfort and amenities. For people looking for more space and privacy, our new first-class product offers 50 percent more space, since we have reduced the number of seats from 12 to eight without decreasing the size of the cabin. The configuration offers a lie-flat bed and truly premium service. Our new business class is set up for efficiency and comfort. The new seat sports a flat bed, flexible to be in any position, and the seat’s shell design provides complete privacy.

The crew is also very important to the overall passenger experience. Over the past seven years, we have made great strides in training and improving quality. We want to offer a high-quality product, which means focusing on the details. For example, we have 330 standards for service, which are designed to encompass all aspects of the customer relationship.

We also employ third-party “mystery shoppers,” who are paid to fly in all classes of service and report back with their findings, enabling constant and consistent monitoring of the quality process.

GT: Air France is part of the SkyTeam Alliance; please discuss the benefits for U.S. business travelers.
MJM: The SkyTeam Alliance allows codeshare partnerships to 125 destinations in the United States — 104 with Delta, 21 with Continental and even more when Northwest is added this fall. This offers passengers the greatest flexibility when traveling.

For U.S. passengers, Air France can connect from more cities nationwide to Europe and beyond with ease. With our codeshare partners, Air France has more than 100 destinations in Europe to choose from. Flying with the partners provides the opportunity for passengers to earn elite status, redeem on any member airline, select more fare options, utilize nearly 390 lounges worldwide and enjoy other benefits.

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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