After I was initially tipped off by a reader, the Port of Seattle has now confirmed that Air France will begin nonstop service between Seattle-Tacoma and Paris-CDG airports with a Boeing 777-200 in March of 2018. This is great news for Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines customers. Business class features a reverse herringbone configuration. Premium economy is 2-4-2, while standard economy is 3-4-3. You can even get a virtual walkthrough of the cabin using Google Maps!
Flights will depart on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Flight AF 338 will depart Paris at 1:30 PM, arriving in Seattle at 2:30 PM. Flight AF 355 will depart Seattle at 4:30 PM and arrive in Paris at 11:10 AM the next day. You could schedule a long weekend in the city of light if you want to sneak out of work early.
Although Delta already operates between Seattle and Paris, tensions between Delta and Alaska led to dissolution of their frequent flyer partnership. Earlier this year they stopped letting customers earn miles through Alaska Mileage Plan when flying on Delta or to redeem Mileage Plan for award travel on Delta. Air France is still a partner with Mileage Plan, so by operating its own flight, Mileage Plan members will be able to redeem miles for nonstop travel to Paris. (I also think it’s more fun to fly a foreign carrier than a domestic airline, even though Delta typically has some great service among the U.S. competition.)
Mileage Plan currently charges 32,500 miles each way for travel in economy class, or 62,500 miles each way for travel in business class. A $12.50 partner award booking fee applies in each direction plus the usual taxes and fees. Alaska Airlines does not collect fuel surcharges when you fly on Air France, so these fees will be minimal.
This change may not matter as much to Delta SkyMiles customers, since they already had an option between the two cities. But because Delta is going to continue operating its existing flight, those customers will now have two options, and they’ll be able to choose which carrier they want to fly based on price, service levels, and upgrade availability.