Inside budget airline French Bee’s premium cabin

November 26, 2021, 3:00 PM UTC

French Bee, France’s first long-haul budget airline, recently brought back its trans-Atlantic service from Paris to Newark International Airport, offering another option for leisure and business travelers now that U.S. has widely reopened its borders.

Founded in 2010 and originally known as French Blue, the airline rebranded to French Bee in 2018—notably, after expanding to the U.S., so as not to conflict with JetBlue Airways.

French Bee operates an all Airbus A350 fleet.
Courtesy of French Bee

French Bee’s entire fleet is made up of Airbus A350 jets, with two cabins of service: premium and economy. Given that this is a low-cost airline, passengers should not expect a lot of frills in either cabin. But for business travelers on a tight budget or perhaps leisure travelers looking for a little extra room, French Bee’s cabin service could fit the bill.

While they don’t fully recline, French Bee says the seats are meant to feel like armchairs for lounging compared to economy seats.
Courtesy of French Bee

There are only 35 seats total in the Premium cabin, with 36 inches of space between seats. Each seat is 18-inches wide, with 36 inches of leg space. The adjustable headrest can also be moved to four different positions. And on the seatback in front, there is a 12-inch HD touchscreen with a full digital entertainment center, with at least 20 movies, as well as TV shows, video games, and music in both English and French. The HD screen also has ports for headphones and USB devices, and there is a universal power outlet at the bottom of each seat.

There are 36 inches of space between seats.
Courtesy of French Bee

Guests in the Premium cabin are greeted with a beverage of their choice—including champagne—upon boarding. Both cabins have access to meals for purchase, but the Premium cabin does include a meal and snack service in the ticket price, and the airline will accommodate dietary and allergy restrictions.

The 12-inch HD touchscreens offer access to a comprehensive entertainment center as well as ports for headphones and USB devices.
Courtesy of French Bee

Travelers who have flown with other European budget airlines, like Ryanair and Easyjet, will likely be familiar with French Bee’s fare structure, although it might come as a bit of a surprise to U.S. carriers.

Premium fares start at $969, while there are two options for economy: Basic starting at $189 and Smart (which is Basic plus a few amenities included, like first checked bag) for $239. From there, the fees add up based on what the passenger wants, whether that be meals, an option to choose a seat, an option to choose a better seat (i.e. window), extra leg room, and more. Like many domestic airlines these days, there are extra fees for baggage, although carry-on luggage is free across the board. (But do note there is a weight limit—up to 26 pounds—and they will weigh your luggage at the airport before boarding to confirm.)

French Bee currently operates round-trip service from Paris-Orly to Newark, San Francisco, Tahiti, and Reunion. The airline is also booking tickets for Paris to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, starting April 2022.

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