Fly Across The English Channel In A Flat Bed

At ~216 miles and ~40 minutes in the air, London to Paris isn’t exactly a very long flight. Nonetheless it’s a high frequency route for both Air France and British Airways, given what big markets both cities are.

The route is served almost exclusively by tight narrowbody aircraft, where business class is simply economy with a blocked middle seat.

Well, pretty soon there will be an opportunity to fly a special plane on the route, short as it may be.

Air France is in the process of taking delivery of their first of six Boeing 787-9 aircraft. This plane will feature excellent reverse herringbone business class seats, similar to my recent 777 flight between Paris and Toronto.

Air-France-Business-Class-777 - 1

Their first “real” destination with this plane will be Cairo (which is a bit surprising to me, given that it’s a low yield market with limited demand nowadays), though they’ll also be operating it to London Heathrow.

Per @airlineroute, Air France will operate 6x weekly Boeing 787-9 flights between Paris and London Heathrow between February 6 and March 25, 2017. The 787-9 flight will operate with the following schedule (every day except Wednesdays):

AF1680 Paris to London departing 7:25AM arriving 7:45AM
AF1681 London to Paris departing 9:40AM arriving 11:55AM

Those flight timings are practical for someone connecting onto or off of a transatlantic flight. So while I wouldn’t go out of my way to take one of these flights, if you’re flying between the city pairs anyway, it might just be fun to experience Air France’s newest plane with a much improved seat. Award availability on the flight is wide open, including in business class. I wouldn’t redeem miles exclusively between London and Paris, but as part of a larger itinerary it could make sense.

I’d note that this schedule is always subject to change. Typically airlines operate these kinds of flights to train their crews on new planes, and there’s always a chance that there will be a schedule change there. So while the plane is in the schedule as of now, it might not stick for all dates. Hopefully it does.

Anyone planning on flying an Air France 787-9 between London and Paris?


  1. Cairo (with Beyrouth) is the (only) “european” destination where AF uses widebodies.

    It makes sense to use Cairo for the first 787: only 4 hours max and if any problem occurs, it can handle it in an easier way probably.

    Egypt has been (in a very short period of time) a kind of French colony.
    There are a lot of traces of that in the centre of Alexandria for example. An AF ticket agency (in the street) does exist there.
    So there is quite some volume even if the yield is not big.

  2. I was hoping they’d do a couple of other ‘longer’ routes from Paris, 40mins between LHR & CDG is better than nothing but would be glad to know if they’re going to “try it out” on any other routes?

  3. On ITA matrix it’s still showing as being operated by an A320, have they not already updated inventory ?

  4. Don’t forget Garuda Indonesia flies or flew London-Amsterdam with business-class and international first-class services before continuing onward.

  5. @David W
    Yes I mean Beirut.

    Hopefully you are there to correct me.

    Thanks very much for reading my comment 🙂

  6. Since the EuroStar trains started I’ve never flown between London and Paris except as part of a longer connecting flights. The trains gets you from central London to central Paris with a lot less hassle.

    Still, a widebody is nice. SFO to LAX anyone (other than a 767, natch)

  7. @FNT Delta Diamond

    GA LON-AMS 5th freedom flight has been discontinued. They now serve CGK-SIN-AMS-CGK, CGK-AMS, and CGK-SIN-LHR-CGK

  8. You’re too young to remember this, but in the ’80’s and early ’90’s, BA used to fly a daily Tri-star L-1011 on the morning Brussels route, and a two 747’s, Tri-Star’s and even 777’s to Charles de Gaulle. Sabena, at some point flew their A-310 on their morning LHR route. Those were the days.

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