A French Bee A359 on the taxiway at Orly Airport in Paris. It’s a very lovely livery, IMHO.
Can you have low-cost airfare and elegant service? French Bee definitely wants you to think so.
French Bee is a relatively new low-cost carrier, having begun operations in September of 2016. They’re based at Paris Orly Airport (ORY).
With a current fleet of three Airbus aircraft (one A330-300 and two A350-900s) flying to five destinations, they’re a relatively small player, and they’re France’s first LCC. They also have one A350-1000 on order, currently slated for delivery later this year.
From their ORY hub, they fly to San Francisco, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Papeete, Tahiti, and Saint Denis, Reunion, all of which are vacation destinations for French travelers.
French Bee’s A350-900 seat map
French Bee is part of the Dubreuil group, which also owns Air Caraïbes, a somewhat larger airline which primarily serves Caribbean holiday destinations from the same ORY base.
Interestingly, French Bee started out being named French Blue. When the airline applied for a U.S. air carrier permit in November 2017, JetBlue objected to the idea of allowing another airline to operate in the United States that had the word “blue” in its name. That eventually led to a rebrand as French Bee in January 2018.
With a target audience of budget-minded holidaymakers, the airline’s pricing is very competitive; fares typically run less than $700 return between SFO and ORY. An additional $250-ish buys you a premium-class seat (more on that later).
There are 411 seats on a French Bee A359: 35 Premium, 50 Cosy, and 326 in Eco Blue.
I flew with French Bee on their SFO-ORY-SFO route the first week of April, traveling in 10-abreast Smart Economy/Eco Blue on the outbound leg and in their Premium cabin on the return flight.
flydubai Boeing 737-800 landing in Prague – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
FLYDUBAI ECONOMY CLASS FLIGHT REVIEW BASICS:
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Departed: Prague (PRG)
Arrived: Dubai (DXB)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Economy Class
Length: About six hours
Airline flydubai is one of the fastest growing low-cost carriers (LCCs) in the Middle Eastern region. Since commencement of operations in 2009, flydubai’s network has grown considerably and today they operate to over 83 destinations with a fleet of more than 45 Boeing 737-800s.
Flights to Prague commenced in December 2014 and, at present, Prague is the furtherest destination that flydubai operates. I decided to book my next trip to the UAE with flydubai, as their fare was by far the cheapest. Fares on the Prague-Dubai route start at US$230 for a round-trip (including checked luggage and a meal).
Not a bad view on the way to Dubai – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
As this was an LCC and a relatively long flight on the 737, I decided to pay the extra US$20 each way for an exit row seat, which was well worth it. One criticism I have is that at present, flydubai only offers on-line check-in on flights originating from Dubai; this means I had to check-in at the airport, something I have not done in a very long time.
Air Canada rouge’s inaugural YVR-LAS Airbus A319 flight at the gate on a rainy Vancouver morning
You may have read the recent commentary and analysis by AirlineReporter’s Bernie Leighton, “You Get What You Pay For Rant: Why Economy Class Is What It Is.” I certainly did. It seemed fitting, then, that just a couple of days later, I was invited to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) for Air Canada rouge‘s first Western Canada flight.
Air Canada rouge is an “airline within an airline”, and is part of the Air Canada Leisure Group along with inclusive-tour operator, Air Canada Vacations. The airline is positioned as Air Canada’s “Leisure” carrier, intended to get passengers to their vacation destinations. Air Canada rouge launched last July 1st with flights from Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL) to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the U.S. In addition to specific vacation travel, Air Canada is hoping to make its unprofitable routes financially viable by a transfer to Air Canada rouge, which has lower operating costs. Bernie talked all about that, and CASMs and RASMs, in his rant.
By the end of 2014, Air Canada will have transferred 47 routes to rouge. Another seven routes new to the AC network will be operated exclusively by rouge. The just-announced Western Canada routes include YVR to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, and seasonal service to Anchorage. From Calgary, flights will go to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The Air Canada rouge fleet is made up of Airbus A319s and Boeing 767-300ERs, transferred from Air Canada’s mainline fleet. As of the end of April, there were 15 A319s and four 767s flying for the leisure carrier. Ultimately, rouge may have up to 30 A319s and 20 767s, with the 767s coming into the fleet as Air Canada receives its new 787 Dreamliners.
Fun, cool and trendy Peach Airlines livery on an Airbus A320.
Soon, Japan will have another Low Cost Carrier (LCC) option for passengers: Peach Airlines. The airline will operate out of Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka, Japan. Peach plans to start operations no later than March 2012 between Sappora and Fukuoka and to Seoul in May 2012.
The airline has three major share holders: All Nippon Airways (ANA), Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and the First Eastern Investment Group. Although ANA holds a slightly larger share than the other two investors, I am told the airline will operate independently from ANA.
According to the airline, the name “Peach” was chosen to symbolize energy and happiness across Asian countries. “The name Peach was chosen to reflect our mission of becoming a completely new type of airline that links destinations in Japan and Japan with Asia,” Peach Aviation CEO, Shinichi Inoue stated. “Our promise is to provide safe, low cost travel 365 days of the year, making air travel easier and more accessible. Our airline will also reflect the smart sophistication that has come to represent the words ‘Cool Japan’.”
Although the name might be “Peach,” their livery will be made up of purples and pinks. The colors are supposed to represent “cuteness, coolness and happiness.” Okay, we can go with that. At this point, the airline only has graphical representations of the livery, but an airline spokesperson said we should be able to see the livery an an aircraft sometime in the fall. The airline planes to lease brand new Airbus A320 aircraft in an all economy 180-seat configuration.
The airline has shown some possible concepts of their flight crew’s uniform and they look very trendy, laid back and young.
Interior mock up for Peach Airline's Airbus A320.
You might not realize that P.E.A.C.H. is also an acronym. According the website it matches up to the type of experience you should expect: Pan – Asian, Energetic, Affordable, Cute & Cool, Happy.
The airline explained to me over email that they, “are targeting a wide range of people, but much of our focus is targeting young females.”
Is Japan ready for a low cost airline targeted at the younger and more female population? I am not sure, but it sure seems like ANA and other investors sure thing so.
EDIT: I had originally stated Peach would be Japan’s first Low Cost airline, that is incorrect, I have updated the story. Thanks.