What you need to know about Air France

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What you need to know about Air France. Please stay with Iflyfirstclass and discover all the curiosities and interesting facts about Air France.

What you need to know about Air France

Air France is the flag carrier of France. It is a traditional airline with destinations all over the world. The IATA code of Air France is AF, you will find this on your flight number (for example AF1361). Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris is Air France's largest hub. Air France also concentrates a large part of the daily flight operations at Orly Airport (also near Paris).

History of Air France

On October 7, 1933, Air France was founded with a ceremony at Le Bourget Airport near Paris. The airline was the result of a forced merger of five smaller airlines. Nevertheless, Air France would grow into one of the largest airlines in Europe.

In 1933, five small airlines were brought together in Air France. The French airlines Air Orient, Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, Société Générale de Transport Aérien (SGTA), Air Union and CIDNA (Compagnie Internationale de Navigation) merged to form Air France.  Each small airline had its destinations, one to the French colonies in Africa, the other to Europe, and yet another to the east. The new society was immediately strong in routes to the French colonies in North Africa. Together the companies had a large network, but individually they were too small to survive the crisis of the 1930s. The French government wanted to prevent France from losing all its airlines. The loss of the airlines would not only mean a loss of prestige, but the presence of a thriving aviation industry was also important to the military. To ensure prestige and military importance, the government decided that the airlines should merge.

Air France was nationalized in 1946. The French government ensured that Air France could grow considerably. The development of aircraft had been given a major boost by the Second World War. It became possible to establish a connection with New York, among others. A connection that initially took 24 hours, but with the arrival of newer aircraft types, such as the famous Lockheed Constellation, could be reduced to 15 hours.

Yet fifteen hours was still a long time compared to the jet planes that Air France had at its disposal in the 1960s. The Atlantic Ocean was crossed in just eight hours. This made it possible to fly further and further and these distant destinations heralded the beginning of major tourism. With the arrival of the supersonic Concorde, flight times decreased even further and Air France got its hands on a showpiece of international aviation.

At the end of 2003, it was announced that a new holding company would be formed with the Dutch KLM, this became Air France-KLM. Both companies will operate under the same holding company, which would operate under French law. Measured in turnover, Air France-KLM is the largest airline company in the world. During the merger, Air France introduced the frequent-flyer program Flying Blue from KLM.

Air France figures

  • Air France itself has about 216 aircraft. Furthermore, the regional subsidiary Hop! another 70 aircraft. Transavia France owns 40. Together there are more than 300.
  • Including KLM, Hop!, and Transavia, the airline combination carried 104.2 million passengers in 2019.
  • Air France itself employs approximately 45,000 people.
  • The number of destinations is around 200. These destinations are spread all over the world.
  • Air France was one of the first airlines to use the superjumbo Airbus A380. They currently have 10 Airbus A380s, with 2 more on order from Airbus.


Air France subsidiaries

The regional subsidiary of Air France is Hop!. The low-cost subsidiary of the French national company formed Hop! from a merger of Airlinair, Brit Air, and Régional. Hop! owns just over 100 aircraft, including ATR 42s, ATR72s, Bombardier CRJs, Embraer 135s, 145s, 170s, and 190s. Transavia France gradually has to take on the role of low-cost carrier of Hop! taking over. After the lengthy pilot strikes of September 2014, it was decided in December 2014 in consultation with the pilots that the Transavia France fleet may grow to 37 aircraft in 2019.

Air France planes from the past

Dutch Breeders

Several Dutch aircraft have served in the Air France fleet. From 1967 Air France had Fokker F27 Friendship in service. He only retired in 1997. In the same year, new breeders joined the Air France fleet: the Fokker 100. Unfortunately, it was phased out two years later.


Air France has flown Concorde for more than 25 years. This supersonic plane flew from London to New York in an average of 3.5 hours. This makes a significant difference to the time it takes traditional aircraft: 7.5 hours. The Concorde went out in 2003 when fuel prices were so high that the Concorde was unprofitable. Demand for airline tickets also declined as a result of the 2000 Concorde crash, declining demand due to the economic crisis, rising maintenance costs, and rising fuel prices worldwide.

Skyteam and class division


In 2000, Air France was one of the founders of SkyTeam along with Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, and Aeromexico. This is today the second-largest airline alliance in the world. After the merger in 2004, KLM also joined SkyTeam as part of Air France-KLM. SkyTeam is currently the second-largest airline alliance in the world. Only Star Alliance (from Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and more) is bigger than SkyTeam.

Classification at Air France

Air France has four different classes. First, there is Economy Class. This is the regular economy class we know. On long-haul flights, you have your screen for inflight entertainment. Premium Economy goes a step further. You can take more checked baggage, you can enter the lounge, you earn miles faster with the Flying Blue program and you can board earlier than the other passengers. Once onboard, you'll get better noise-canceling headphones, better blankets, and a better meal (second hot meal and ice cream too). The overall comfort is simply better with Premium Economy. Business is Air France's business class. Flatbeds, better service, and significantly higher comfort. La Premiere (available on some Boeing 777 aircraft, and in the Airbus A380) continues. You can have an a la carte meal at the time you want it, you even have a personal phone that you can use to make calls. In terms of service on an Air France aircraft, this is the best of the best.

Air France hand luggage rules

As with all other airlines in the world, Air France has rules regarding hand luggage. It depends on the class you travel with. Incidentally, you can always take an accessory with you at Air France. Think of a handbag, a notebook, or a camera. Are you traveling in economy class? Then your hand luggage and accessory at Air France may never be heavier than 12 kilograms combined. Are you traveling with a premium economy? Then you can still take a maximum of one piece of hand luggage with accessories with a total of 12 kilograms. The exception to this is if it is a long-haul flight. Then the limit is two pieces of hand luggage with accessories totaling 18 kilograms. Business en la Premiere can also take a maximum of two pieces of hand luggage with a total weight of 18 kilograms (both on short-haul and long-haul flights).

Air France hand luggage dimensions

The maximum dimensions of the hand luggage with Air France are 55 x 35 x 25 centimeters. This includes wheels, levers, and other excellent things.