New dynamics are being built around Paris-Orly airport. After the merger of the Orly West and Orly South terminals in spring 2019 and the inauguration of the new junction, called Orly 3, Air France continues its reconquering customers of the Caribbean – Indian Ocean (COI) routes and particularly in the Premium segment by inaugurating its new loungeavailable to Business customers and Flying Blue Gold, Platinum and Club 2000 membersUltimate and Sky Team Elite Plus.
With subsequent investments in new travel cabins on Boeing 777-300ERs serving Caribbean and Indian Ocean destinations, more than 124 million euros have been invested in this market segment!
At the invitation of Air France, TravelGuys was present for this event.
Location of the lounge
The lounge is located in the reserved area, behind the security and police formalities. Elevators lead to the lounge located on the upper floor, at the top of the terminal.
When leaving the elevator, self-service kiosks allow you to scan your boarding pass. Two staffed counters are also located to the left of the entrance. Air France asserts its brand image by arranging a decoration around the accent, and this from the first visual contact with the lounge.
The lounge is divided into two main rooms, one on the left and the other on the right of the entrance. We start the visit with the right part, named The Dining Room/The Lounge
Immediately to the left is a newspaper stand.
The layout of this part echoes the codes of the Business lounge opened by Air France in the summer of 2018 in Terminal 2E, Hall L at Roissy-CDG, exhibiting rather circular shapes with this large bench seat.
At the back, there are more intimate spaces with alcoves. Once again, the Air France accent is a visual thread running through the entire lounge.
Staying on the decorative elements, we must admit that nothing has been left to chance: the commercial posters present honor destinations accessible from Orly, like Fort-de-France and New York.
The central element of this lounge is the champagne bar, which will offer references according to the same procedure as all the other lounges at the Paris CDG hub: when a brand is offered in month N, it is offered in the lounges in month N+1.
Its design is once again curved, and the decorative elements play this time on a circular shape, marker not only of the champagne bubbles but also of the bunch of grapes. Stools are available for seating.
Small bottles stamped with the accent, only there for decoration, are arranged on the shelves of the bar.
Air France has of course taken advantage of the work on the new lounge to introduce a new catering offer, which has been expanded. Let’s have a look at the new possibilities.
According to Catherine Villar, Vice President of Customer Experience, the food and beverage offering at the press opening is pretty much in line with what customers will see when it opens to the public on January 16, and may even be better.
First, there is a salad bar
The desserts are not left out with a rather complete offer and some novelties compared to the other lounges of the CDG platform, like the chocolate ganache
Further on, you discover the second part of the buffet.
You can find a range of delicatessen products.
But the real novelty is the arrival of the hot offer with two proposals: chicken with morels and flavored vegetables.
The space is called a “wine bar”, but is in fact more of a decorative element: the references offered are comparable to previous lounges.
Another small touch of this lounge, a rum cart in noble wood material is available and gives a foretaste of the characteristic destinations of Orly airport: the West Indies.
Relaxation and work areas
We continue the visit with the other room, called “Le Petit Salon” (the small lounge).
The entrance to this area leads to a small circular table equipped with induction chargers for devices compatible with this technology.
Further on, a co-working space, the first of its kind in an Air France lounge, allows a team of 4 people to sit down and even share their screen by means of a central HDMI socket, connected to a screen.
Secondly, there is a relaxation area, with 5 lounge chairs that are undeniably reminiscent of the La Première lounge at CDG.
Toilets and showers
Finally, two shower cabins are available for guests wishing to refresh themselves before a long flight. They are rather spacious, and equipped with toilets. Note also the razor with a rather avgeek packaging.
Bottom line and ambitions
The visit took place in the company of Anne Rigail, Executive Vice President of Air France, Jean-Michel Mathieu, Vice President in charge of the Caribbean/Indian Ocean network and Catherine Villar, Vice President in charge of Customer Experience. A trio very proud of this new offer and optimistic about this new offer from Orly.
It remains to be seen whether Air France will be able to capitalize on its position as a historic operator (the West Indies have been served by Air France since 1947) and find a well-calibrated positioning between the exclusive and mass-market sides of the airline in order to face up to the low-cost competition. Air France retains a market share of approximately 30% on West Indian routes.
In addition to the Caribbean, customers flying to New York (flight AF32) and Algiers will also be able to use the new lounge.