Air France Is Launching A New Route To Atlanta… With An A320!

I’m writing about this not because I think there’s going to be a mad rush to book Air France’s new route, but rather because I find this to be interesting. If I was at Atlanta Airport and saw an Air France A320, I’d probably assume it’s a few thousand miles off course and got lost, since the airline primarily operates this plane out of their Paris hub. šŸ˜‰

However, something a lot of people don’t realize is that Air FranceĀ has a couple of A320s based in the Caribbean, which operate short hopper routes within the region. On one hand that’s logical enough, given the number of French territories in the Caribbean. On the other hand,Ā I imagine it would at least catch manyĀ of us off guard to see an Air France A320 so far from mainland Europe.

As it stands, Air France operates the following Caribbean hopper flights, per a Rapid Travel Chai post in 2014:

  • Cayenne to Fort-de-France
  • Cayenne to Pointe-a-Pitre
  • Pointe-a-Pitre to Cayenne
  • Pointe-a-Pitre to Fort-de-France
  • Pointe-a-Pitre to Miami
  • Pointe-a-Pitre to Port-au-Prince
  • Port-au-Prince to Miami
  • Port-au-Prince to Pointe-a-Pitre
  • Fort-de-France to Cayenne
  • Fort-de-France to Pointe-a-Pitre

Air France is now adding their second mainland US hopper flight, after their Port-au-Prince to Miami flight. Per @airlineroute, Air France will be launching twice weekly flights between Pointe-a-Pitre and Atlanta as of November 21, 2017. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

AF608 Pointe-a-Pitre to Atlanta departing 4:20PM arriving 8:05PM
AF609 Atlanta to Pointe-a-Pitre departing 10:15AM arriving 3:25PM

The flight will be operated by one of their A320s, featuring both business class and economy. However, much like in Europe, business class simply consists of economy with a blocked middle seat.

The flights are now on sale, and are quite pricey.

While I can’t say I have all that much of a desire to fly Air France’s A320 on a four hour flight between Atlanta and the Caribbean, I find this to be pretty unique nonetheless.

Comments

  1. It is not fifth freedom. Those islands are French overseas territory, similar in a sense to Puerto Rico, and like Puerto Rico, treats domestic airlines the same as if they were on their respective continental mainland.

  2. I believe the caribbean fleet actually has more legroom in Business class and is a set 10 seats (with blocked middle seats of course).

  3. It’s actually quite expensive. I looked at flying from Miami to Haiti on Air France. Ridiculously expensive.

  4. Port-au-Prince is the capital of Haiti, an independent country. A flight from Haiti to the US on AF is most probably a fifth freedom flight. Haiti was a French colony but I’m not sure that counts.

  5. Except that Haiti is an independent country, not a French territory, so Haiti-USA would be Fifth Freedom.

  6. Steve is right. Haiti gained independence in 1804. Flights to the USA would be Fifth Freedom.

  7. I expect to see more transatlantic A320 family flights as the neo series comes online. Right now the only ones I’m aware of are either all business class to save weight or the Air Canada YYT-LHR run. The YYT-LHR transatlantic run is actually a lot shorter than a YYT-YVR transcontinental would be.

  8. I wonder if this is a good time to cut ties with France. France and US used to stand together, but now they are creating a new low for business class in North America / Caribbean flights. Soon US carriers will follow as the race to the bottom has started a few years ago.

  9. @smallmj – BA operates all J A318s from JFK to LCY and LCY-SNN-JFK branded as Club World London City

  10. @tipsyinmadras

    Exactly. That was one of the all business class A320 family flights that I was thinking of. I was also thinking of La Compagnie, but they use the 757.

    The AC YYT-LHR is a regular 2 class A319.

  11. @chris united has a hub in Tokyo, so unless Air France started competing with Delta with their couple of daily flights, you’re wrong.

  12. The flight is only seasonal and obviously to “protect” market share from Norwegian. Doubt it lasts more than a season.

  13. The timing seems weird on this. Looks like the plane then ends up in Atlanta. Where would it go from there? Another Carribean route? back to Paris? Or would it just sit in ATL for a few days?

  14. Interesting that the schedule is basically more optimized for a plane based in ATL than Pointe-a-Pitre, which is to say it sits in Atlanta for 14 hours but only has a 1 hr turnaround at its hub.

  15. Gaaaah… though AF A320 service is better than the Finnair A319 Helsinki-Astana… not looking forward to that 4-hour return flight with no IFE and no free food later this week… maybe JetBlue could give them some tips on how to outfit their aircraft

  16. Writing “This a click bait article” is people’s new thing on this blog when they don’t agree with the article.
    It’s the equivalent of Trump calling everything “Fake News”.

  17. If this is designed to capitalize on French traffic to/from the Carribean, could this be a precursor to Air France upgrading its ATL-CDG service? Perhaps featuring the new business class more prominently, or even La Premiere?

  18. Air France’s Caribbean flights are all to/from France (except MIA-PAP). Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin, and Guyane (French Guiana) are departments of France, meaning they are like Hawaii and Alaska, not like Guam and Puerto Rico. I have a good friend who is from Cayenne, Guyane and enjoys the freedoms/perks of being French-American. The only thing that people from some of these areas cannot do is visit Brazil Visa Free

  19. @Alain Trump doesn’t call “everything” Fake News. Just the 85% of mass media “news” that actually is fake news.

    That the Russians interfered with actual voting in 2016, which even Obama correctly said is technically impossible. That Comey was going to testify that he never told Trump he was not under investigation, when in fact he testified that he told Trump that 3 times, just as Trump had said. That the shooting at Fort Hood was “work place violence” rather than terrorism. That the attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, on the anniversary of 9/11 started as a protest against a video that virtually no one had even seen, rather than being a well planned terrorist attack by Ansar al-Sharia.

    And of course the ultimate whoppers:

    “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

    and:

    “Trump has no possible path to victory” in this election. šŸ˜‰

  20. Air France probably contracted with a maintenance facility at ATL. That would be a reason for a 14 hour stop.

  21. @robert Hanson.. I believe a high colonic is in order. Please continue the treatment liberally.

  22. I spent nine hours on one of these flying from Cayenne to Miami with all of the stops! Business Class, yes, but it was an A320 … Frankly, it was very boring, and the stop in Haiti excruciating as all passengers had to disembark into the medieval (but apparently TSA approved) airport.

    It would have been expensive but for a very good use of Delta points.

  23. LOL I wouldnt know the difference of an A320 to a Boeing 747…..i think thats just you Ben šŸ˜‰

  24. I took the A320 from Cayenne to Haiti last month (7 hours CAY-FDF-PTP-PAP) redeemed 12,500 +$72 USD tax with Flying Blue in coach. These biz seats aren’t anything special at all (not even for legroom). Fortunately, I found that I could pay $20 to get confirmed exit row seats and they had significant legroom and made all the difference (and easily double the legroom that business would have had). Business awards would have been 37.5k! SeatGuru doesn’t have the most accurate seat map for this 320 Caribbean, as they’ve upgraded to newer 320 aircraft.

    Also a really nice, stylish and brand new remodeled Priority Pass Bessie Coleman lounge at PTP during the 1.5 hour layover which was right outside the AF gate.

  25. @Lucky … I was confused by your post, because that’s not an Air France A320 in the picture

  26. My parents made the bad choice to fly Lufthansa from Frankfurt directly to a 2nd-tier city Pune near Mumbai India.

    The alternative would have been FRA-BOM on an A380 or B747 followed by a 5 hour car ride home.

    Anyway, FRA-PNQ was operated on a PrivateAir or something on a BBJ 737-700. 8.5 hours in a narrow single aisle aircraft.

    Needless to say, they have sworn off it and will always choose the widebody+5 hours on the road in future.

  27. I suspect the reason for the 14 hour stop in ATL is crewing. The layover gives the crew enough rest time in ATL to then operate the return sector the next morning. As the flight operates only 2x weekly, this would save a lot of money on crew hotels (with 6 crew members potentially having to be put up for 4 nights at a time otherwise).

  28. Ha. I actually have a use for this route now. Planning a group trip to Guadeloupe in February – and remembered this article of AF now flying nonstop between our home base of ATL and PTP!

    At the moment, it’s about $250 cheaper to fly this than a Southwest-Norwegian connection in FLL. Doesn’t seem like a good use of points since it’s $123 in taxes and fees.

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