Air France’s new “hipster airline” JOON – Is this going to work?

in 2017, Air France announced a new airline: JOON. According to Air France Joon will become the non-low-cost, low-cost airlines branded and built for millennial customers. After 9 months of operation, I will be flying this airline coming week; I’m very curious what to expect so I have been digging a bit into it.

 

Boutique Lifestyle-centric Brand focussed on design

According to Dominque Wood, Air Frances VP of branding and communications, “Joon will be a young brand that is directly connected to the demanding millennial traveller. Our main objective was to create a boutique lifestyle-centric brand focussed on design and digital technology“.

So coming Saturday I will be greeted by flight attendants with flare pants, crop tops, beards, an organic beer brewery on board, being served a vegan quinoa salad while they play prayers from Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh?

I doubt it. We are still talking about an airline, guys; a company that brings you from A to B in relative comfort with certain amenities. But let’s see how it goes.

The unique factors of Joon will be that their flight attendants wear sneakers, the will offer VR in their long-haul business class and that 20% of their meals are organic. Air France has definitely thought of some funny uniforms, just check the picture below:

Destinations of Joon

So, where do the millennials want to fly? You’d think that New York, Bangkok, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Colombia and some other worldwide hotspots would be the first destinations for this millennial oriented airline.

Wrong!

The first destinations that were announced were Barcelona, Berlin and Porto. On the long-haul front, we have seen Mahé; an extremely expensive destination on the Seychelles (I doubt many millennials can afford this place). Mumbai (lol), Teheran (okay cool place but I doubt big enough for the millennial market), Cairo (wtf?) and Fortaleza, a Benidormesque city in northern Brazil.

All in all, I am sceptical; where are Boston, Bali (Hipster alarm), New York and similar? I know; they won’t come because Air France can fly there for now!

Wages

So why does Joon exist then? They don’t offer a competitive product; it’s still a regular cabin with little to no extra’s (except for the uniform). Their route network is hardly exciting and their fares are integrated into the Air France fare system (aka, just regular prices).

All the employees have gotten new contacts, many came from Air France. 100% sure the crew will get a much lower pay scale than their colleagues at Air France which definitely saves them some money.

Considering also that most of the routes announced were not new for Air France and are taken over from mainline clearly indicates the main goal of this project is not the creation of a new brand but to drop the wages and save money. And I understand it, but I doubt this is the best way to do it!

No stress; the cabin still looks like a regular one!

What will the future bring?

Industry leaders have clearly expressed their doubts about this project. Willie Walsch, director at IAG (British Airways/Iberia), said: “Joon was a “hybrid” rather than “a very low-cost operation,” adding: “I’m not sure what Air France is doing there.”.

I can’t agree more with him!

Let’s see how my experience will be with Joon the coming week. Minor detail: It will be in Business Class. I hope there is still some free booze on board 😉

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About Ingmar Bruinsma

Ingmar Bruinsma is an entrepreneur in the travel industry. He also provides consultancy services in the field of marketing, business development to clients in travel & aviation. He blogs about topics in tourism, travel, aviation, digital marketing.


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