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Air France vs. Delta: Which is a Better Airline?

Air France and Delta Air Lines are two of the biggest carriers in the aviation world. Simply referred to as Delta, the latter airline is a legacy carrier and among the major ones in the United States. Air France, it is the flag carrier of France and one of the most popular airlines in Europe. Both airlines operate globally, and they offer luxury and comfort irrespective of the type of fare class. 

In this post, I will be discussing how they differ in services rendered. And, of course, I observe their policies on cancellation, refunds, etc. Before then, however, let’s look at their background.

Air France

It is headquartered in Tremblay-en-France and is a subsidiary of the Air-France-KLM Group. Air France is a founding member of the SkyTeam international airline team. Founded in October 1933, Air France serves at least 36 destinations in France and operates internationally scheduled passenger services. It also operates international scheduled cargo services to 78 countries in 175 destinations. In 2019 alone, the airline carried 46,903,000 passengers. 

Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris is Air France’s global hub, while Orly Airport is the major domestic hub. The Airline operates a combination of fleet, including Boeing widebody jets and Airbus, on long-haul routes. It uses Airbus A320 family aircraft on short-haul routes. On 20 November 2009, Air France introduced the A380 with service to New York city’s JFK Airport from the French capital’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. Formerly called Hop!, Air France Hop operates most of its regional domestic and continental scheduled services with a fleet of regional jet aircraft.  

The airline manages the Air France Vaccinations Center in the 7th arrondissement, Paris. This center distributes vaccines for global travel. It has been the only French vaccination center since 2001 that is certified International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001. 


Delta Air Lines, Inc. is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline is one of the largest in the world. Along with its subsidiaries and regional affiliates, the airline operates more than 5,400 flights every day. In 52 countries on 6 continents, Delta serves 325 destinations as its carrier flies as many as 200 million passengers in a year. It is a founding member of the SkyTeam airline alliance. Out of the 9 hubs it has, Atlanta is the largest in terms of departure numbers and total passengers. The airline was recently ranked second among the world’s largest airlines by the number of scheduled passengers carried, fleet size, and revenue passenger-kilometers flown. 

The airline has partnered with other international carriers like Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, etc. Its major hubs include Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City, New York City, and Seattle. 

Chances are that you will be boarding either Air France or Delta soon. So, before booking, here is what you need to know about how they compare. 


Air France

It was announced on 16 September 2011 that orders for 50 Airbus A350s and Boeing 787 with 60 options have been made. This has been managed by both Air France and KLM. The French carrier has a fleet size of 213 aircrafts, including widebody and narrowbody ones. Additionally, Air France manages a fleet of all four types of the Airbus A320ceo family aircraft of 114 jets.

60 Airbus A220-300s have already replaced the smaller Airbus A318. Meanwhile, the company will have to cut emissions by half in 2024 for flights within mainland France. Therefore, the airline intends to put more Airbus A220 on its domestic network. Airbus A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs replaced Boeing 747-400.

Aircrafts in the Air France fleet and their respective age:

Aircraft – Average Age (years)

Airbus A318 – 16.1

Airbus A319 – 19.7

Airbus A320 – 11.7

Airbus A321 – 19.2

Airbus A330 – 18.6

Airbus A350 – 1.1

Boeing 777 – 15.2

Boeing 787 – 3.1


The company operated a fleet of 750 aircraft made by Boeing and Airbus as of December 2020. Delta Airlines is said to operate the largest Boeing 767, Boeing 757, and Boeing 717 fleets in the world. Its fleet size is 750 as of December 2020. Before its merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008, Delta’s fleet comprised solely McDonnell Douglas and Boeing aircraft. After the merger, Airbus aircraft from Northwest was added to the fleet. Since then, more have been added. 

Aircraft in the Delta and their respective age

Aircraft – Age (years)

Airbus A220 – 1.5

Airbus A319 – 19.4

Airbus A320 – 25.8

Airbus A321 – 2.7

Airbus A330 – 10.9

Airbus A350 – 3.1

Boeing 717 – 19.9

Boeing 737 NG/Max – 10.4

Boeing 757 – 23.8

Boeing 767 – 23.7

Amenities and Entertainment 

Air France

The airline’s in-flight catering is excellent. For La Première (Air France’s foremost first-class product), the first-class menu is designed by Guy Martin. He is the chef of Le Grand Vefour, a 3-star Parisian restaurant. Here, the menu includes hors d’oeuvre, bread basket, entrées, and cheeses, with a dessert cart including petit fours, pastries, and tartles. If you are on a long-haul flight, you will be served complimentary champagne and drinks in every class.  

As for in-flight entertainment, the airline offers Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) in every cabin on long flights. The flight entertainment system has many channels of audio, video, music, and games. You will find Air France Magazine, the airline’s official in-flight publication, in Business cabins and lounges and La Première. On every flight, you have the option of watching a wide variety of movies from English to French to Spanish. Selected movies are available too in Hindi, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.


For in-flight catering, shorter domestic flights have a selection of coffee, snacks, tea, and bottled water in the economy, while those who board higher classes may enjoy complimentary wine, soft drinks, beer, and juices. Also, those in Delta Premium Select have the chance to enjoy larger meals that may include bread and salad, while the lucky few in Delta One enjoy pre-departure bottled water, more food menus by partners like Union Square Hospitality Group or Chief Linton Hopkins are served with Alessi flatware and a wide array of beverages. 

Delta cabins are as comfortable as they come. On long-haul flights, people on Main Cabin and Comfort will get blankets and pillows, and they will receive basic amenity kits including toothpaste and toothbrush, earplugs, eyeshades, and towelette.

In addition, when onboard Delta, you don’t have to worry about missing the news, and social media banters. There is Wi-Fi available (for a fee) on almost every flight. Free mobile message is also available on iMessage, Whatsapp, and Facebook Messenger through their onboard network.

Delta also offers about 1000 hours of free entertainment, including TV series and movies, via the Delta Studio system. Passengers can view this on setback touchscreens on most of the airline’s major aircrafts. There is a USB port to power up your phone. 

Flight Change and Cancellation Policies


Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline adjusted its once stringent and expensive ticket change and cancellation policies and fees. Delta has officially announced that there will be no change of fees on tickets in certain fare classes on flights originating from North America. As of the time of writing, the airline is still waiving change fees on tickets originating from outside of North America. However, this doesn’t apply to Basic Economy fares.

As for baggage policies, it depends on the ticket you buy and whether you have purchased some exclusive reward programs like a Delta credit card or the Medallion elite status. Staying in the Basic Economy with no elite status or an airline credit card means you will incur fees for checked luggage wherever you fly. Else, you will get one or two checked bags free regardless of what fare you book, depending on your combination benefits. 

Air France

The airline’s cancellation policy entails that the ticket’s fare conditions determine flight cancellation. Booking confirmation usually bears these conditions. However, an online refund is available if you have a ticket that allows refunds with or without a fee, you bought your ticket at least 2 days or up to 12 months before today’s date, and that you haven’t gotten your boarding pass yet. For information on refunds, visit their website. As for ticket modification and flight change, the fare conditions related to your ticket determine this. In addition, if your baggage item is beyond the weight limit for your fare, without exceeding 32 kg/70.5 Ib, there is a mandatory fee to be paid at the airport. The fee’s amount is determined by the trip. 

Air France vs. Delta – Summary

These are the basics to know before flying either airline. Delta and Air France both offer several fare classes, much to the convenience of passengers. Delta has Basic Economy, Main Cabin, Comfort, Premium Select, Delta First, and Delta One. Air France has La Première, Business, Premium Economy, and Economy. These airlines have been around for a long while, and that’s why I’m sure that you’ll be having a great time when you get to board to your destination. 

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