What’s the buzz about French bee? (Yes, their style is a tiny “bee.”) The French airline just launched nonstop service from Los Angeles to Paris with one-way tickets starting at $321.
French bee (www.frenchbee.com) operates modern Airbus A350s with two classes of service — Basic Economy and Premium Economy — for nonstop flights. In addition to Basic Economy fares starting at $321, one-way Premium Economy fares start at $679 for flights from Los Angeles to Paris.
Flights will depart LAX at 7:45 p.m. with arrival in Paris (ORY) the following day at 3:35 p.m. Flight time is set at 10 hours and 50 minutes from LAX to ORY.
French bee will operate the LA-Paris service three times a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays starting in April. The frequency will increase to five times a week in June 2022, just in time for what should be a huge summer of travel, hopefully post-COVID. If travelers needed an extra incentive to visit Paris in May, the city will host events such as the Festival, the Taste of Paris Festival and the French Open.
French bee joins LEVEL (which has just launched a service to Barcelona from Los Angeles) to offer non-stop service to Europe from California. Budget airlines are picking up the slack from Norwegian Airlines, which has ended the low-cost long-haul service that made it a delight for budget travelers.
The LA/Paris route is served by French bee’s fleet of five wide-body Airbus A350s, each with 411 seats. The airline has four A350-900s and one A350-1000, optimized for long flights like the 5,652-mile route from Los Angeles to Paris. Quiet planes offer mood lighting on board that mimics sunrise and sunset, using LED lighting to improve sleep quality and reduce jet lag. The aircraft is equipped with leather seats with adjustable headrests, USB and power ports and headphone jacks. French bee offers what is billed as unlimited in-flight entertainment on its HD touch screens.
As with most budget airlines, passenger ticketing options are a la carte, a nice way of saying you pay for upgrades. As a spokesperson said, on French bee “There are over 20 a la carte services to add to any ticket so that customers have the flexibility to pay for exactly what they want during their journey. .”
French bee’s three booking options are Basic, Smart and Premium. Passengers who choose Basic, the cheapest option, get a 26lb carry-on bag included. Smart includes Basic carry-on plus a 50lb checked bag and an in-flight meal, with choices including vegetarian and fish options. Premium customers receive one carry-on and one pound checked bag of 50 pounds, plus an additional 50-pound checked bag, two premium meals, complimentary drink service, choice of seat in the Premium cabin, priority boarding, priority baggage delivery and “line skipping”.
In Paris, French bee has a new lounge near the departure gate at Paris-Orly 4. The Prime Class lounge offers a panoramic view of the runways and services such as free Wi-Fi, hot and cold drinks and snacks.
On board, the meals included in Smart and Premium fares sound intriguing. For example, the “Instant Duo” meal includes an aperitif, two bottles of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne (200 ml) and two plates of three hot canapés (nems, beggar’s purse and vegetable samosas.
Even French bee’s internet access, iZiWifi, is offered à la carte. The four plans include Hello ($4) for “emoticons and WhatsApp addicts” and a social plan ($9) for those who like to track their likes and tweets. Then there’s the Geek plan ($17) for email and internet, and the Addicted plan ($29) for the ultra-connected who crave bandwidth.
“France is not just Paris”, notes a press release from French bee. French bee has an interesting partnership for its budget travelers to explore the rest of France. The airline has partnered with SNCF, France’s national rail operator, to offer packages that combine air and rail fares into one fare so travelers can explore other destinations in France.
French bee is operated by Dubreuil Group, a family-owned holding company in Belleville-sur-Vie, France, which operates airlines through its subsidiaries. French bee is a sister company of Air Caraïbes within the airline division of the Dubreuil group.
Flights from Paris are the third American routes for French bee. The airline offers three US routes from San Francisco (SFO), New York (Newark; EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX.) The airline offers several flights per week from New York, San Francisco and now Los Angeles to Paris. And if you want to get away from it all, French bee also offers flights from SFO to Tahiti.
Marc Rochet, President of French bee, said: “Affordability continues to be a key factor for our customers as well as for our new Airbus A350 fleet, which makes long-haul travel efficient and comfortable.
For all reservations made for travel until June 30, 2022, French bee indicates that its tickets can be changed free of charge provided that the same fare is available. Otherwise, the price difference is applicable. In the event of cancellation, tickets can be exchanged for a refundable voucher to be exchanged within one year.