National and regional origins always played a part in the marketing and brand identity of legacy airlines. Whether it’s the understated professionalism of British Airways or the gracious Asian hospitality of Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines.
However, a balance has to be struck. If it’s forced too hard it can be overwhelming for international passengers. And for local passengers it can feel contrived, or plain cringe-worthy.
Air France has taken the concept of national carrier branding a step further with the strapline “France Is In The Air”.
Following a print campaign last year, Air France has launched a new TV advertisement which will be shown in France as well as Italy, Brazil, the United States, China and Japan:
Last week, Air France flights were significantly disrupted by industrial action by Air France pilots.
The industrial action was due to end tomorrow, Monday, 22 September. However, the latest news is that industrial action will continue until Friday 26 September.
The essence of the dispute are plans by Air France’s parent company, Air France KLM, to expand its low cost Transavia unit (as summarised by the Financial Times.)
As of Sunday evening, cancellations have been loaded for Monday 22 September and Tuesday 23 September on the London Heathrow – Paris Charles de Gaulle route and real time flight departure & arrival information is available on the Air France website.
Air France has also provided specific guidance on cancellation and rebooking options on its website.
Air France pilots are currently engaged in a week long strike, due to end on Monday 22 September. The strike has caused significant disruption to Air France operations, including London Heathrow – Paris Charles de Gaulle flights.
Today, Monday 15 September, four out of eight departures from London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle we cancelled.
On Tuesday 16 September, all departures from London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle have been cancelled.
On Wednesday 17 September, four out of eight departures from London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle have been cancelled (this has now increased to six as of Tuesday evening).
No flights on Thursday 18 September are currently showing as cancelled. This is likely to change over the coming days (Five out of eight flights are cancelled as of Tuesday evening, now increased to seven as of Wednesday evening).
No flights on Friday 19 September are currently showing as cancelled. (Six out of eight flights are now cancelled as of Wednesday evening.)
Air France has provided specific guidance on cancellation and rebooking options on its website.
In addition, real time flight departure & arrival information is also available on the Air France website.
There has been a trend in recent years for airlines to announce short-notice sales of deeply discounted business and first class tickets, primarily aimed at leisure travellers in periods where bookings from corporate travellers are relatively low.
Air France has followed this trend and has just announced a special £999 fare for business class flights from London Heathrow to Dubai, Mumbai, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
Whilst £999 is a lot of anyone’s money, it does make the business class cabin much more accessible for those willing to pay and the pricing is particularly keen when compared to economy fares for direct flights during busy travel periods.
Bookings must be made by Monday 18 August 2014. However, bookings are valid for travel from 22 August 2014 to 31 March 2015. Bookings can be made for flights on both Air France and its sister airline, KLM.
As these are not direct flights from London, it does involve a change at either Amsterdam Schipol or Paris Charles de Gaulle airports (a connection at the former is much easier!).
It’s also worth noting that neither Air France nor KLM currently guarantee fully flat beds in business class across all flights. Both airlines are rolling out new fully flat business class products as per the Air France and KLM microsites.