While so many low-cost international carriers have struggled to stay afloat in recent years, Paris Orly-based French Bee has been quietly buzzing along and even adding new routes. Last summer saw the launch of French Bee’s nonstop Newark (EWR) Paris (ORY) service, and next spring, the carrier will add a third U.S. route to the mix with nonstop flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Paris (ORY).
Originally known as French Blue, the airline briefly changed its name to French after complaints from JetBlue before ultimately settling on French Bee. French Bee began service to the U.S. in 2018 with connecting flights between Paris (ORY) and Papeete (PPT), Tahiti via San Francisco (SFO).
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Where Does French Bee Fly?
French Bee offers nonstop and connecting service from its Paris Orly (ORY) hub to the U.S., French Polynesia, and Réunion Island.
Nonstop flights are available from Paris Orly (ORY) to San Francisco (SFO), Newark (EWR), and Saint-Denis (RUN), Réunion Island. From San Francisco (SFO), French Bee flies nonstop to Papeete (PPT), Tahiti, and Paris Orly (ORY).
Following the recent addition of its Newark (EWR) to Paris (ORY) service in 2021, French Bee will soon add another U.S. city to its roster, with Los Angeles (LAX) to Paris (ORY) beginning April 22, 2022.
French Bee’s interlining agreement with Alaska Airlines makes it easy to book flights from other U.S. cities served by Alaska for travel onward to Tahiti (PPT). Paris Orly (ORY), and Saint-Denis (RUN), Réunion Island.
For passengers traveling from Paris, French Bee partners with Air Caraibes with nonstop service between Orly (ORY) and Punta Cana (PUJ), Dominican Republic.
Related: The 15 Most Exciting New Airline Routes for 2022
What Nonstop Flights Does French Bee Offer?
- San Francisco (SFO) to/from Paris, France (ORY)
- San Francisco (SFO) to/from Papeete, Tahiti (PPT)
- Newark (EWR) to/from Paris, France (ORY)
- Saint-Denis (RUN) to/from Paris, France (ORY)
- Los Angeles (LAX) to/from Paris, France (ORY) *Beginning April 22, 2022
Is French Bee a Good Airline?
Airline review agency Skytrax rated French Bee a 3-star low-cost airline, putting it in the same class as similar budget carriers like Eurowings, Frontier, Ryanair, and Sun Country. Meanwhile, TripAdvisor users rate the airline a 3 out of 5.
As with so many low-cost carriers, the trick is managing your expectations. French Bee’s base fares are low, but travelers will have to pay for any extras, such as baggage and meals, à la carte. For those who prize comfort and safety, the carrier’s impressive new fleet of widebody Airbus A350s offers more bells and whistles than many legacy carriers do on similar long-haul flights. The A350’s improved air quality, soft ambient lighting, and optimized air pressurization help minimize jet lag, something that is probably top of mind for anyone with just a week to spend in Tahiti.
In terms of value, French Bee offers an excellent product for budget travel between the U.S. and France, French Polynesia, and Réunion Island.
Related: 10 Tips for Flying Ryanair
French Bee Booking Tips
With one-way trips priced at under $200, French Bee offers some of the lowest nonstop fares between the U.S., France, and French Polynesia. That’s great news for budget travelers but, before you book, it’s important to know what is and is not included with the price of your base ticket.
French Bee’s tiered ticket model is similar to other low-cost carriers and can be broken down into three levels:
- French Bee Basic: Economy class
- French Bee Smart: Economy class
- French Bee Premium: Premium class
At the lowest level, French Bee’s Basic economy fares cost the least but only include a carry-on bag. They do not include seat selection or checked baggage.
Its mid-tier Smart economy fares are priced slightly higher but do include checked baggage along with a carry-on and in-flight meals.
Premium Class fares include a carry-on bag, up to two checked bags, in-flight meals, seat selection, priority boarding and priority baggage. While Premium Class does mean a comfy seat at the front of the plane, note that lounge access will cost an additional $37 for each leg of your trip.
Anyone can purchase lounge access regardless of what fare class you’ve booked. That’s also true of other ancillary perks like priority boarding and inflight amenity kits which can be booked in advance. French Bee offers a selection of bundled amenity packages that can be purchased and applied to any fare.
- The Serenity Pack: includes line-jump, priority boarding, and lounge access for $55 one-way.
- The Express Pack: includes dedicated check-in, line-jump, and priority boarding for $40 one-way.
- The Comfort Pack: includes an upgrade to Premium seating plus airport lounge access for $277 one-way. This is only available for purchase at the airport on the day of departure.
Related: How to Pack in Just a Personal Item Sized Bag
French Bee Luggage Allowance
No matter what French Bee ticket tier you’ve booked, your carry-on baggage can’t exceed the maximum weight allowance of 26lbs (12kg). In order to make sure bags fit in the overhead, the maximum carry-on dimensions are 21" x 15" x 7" and cannot be more than 45” in total. In addition to a carry-on, passengers can also bring aboard a personal item such as a purse, small backpack, or laptop bag weighing no more than 9lbs (4kg). Personal items must fit underneath the seat in front of you.
Heavy packers may bring a second checked bag for $90 when booked at least 48 hours in advance of departure, or $130 when booked at the airport on the day of departure.
Passengers may also bring along standard-sized sporting equipment so long as it does not exceed 50lbs (23kg). The fee for sports equipment is $100 when booked 48-hours prior to travel or $130 when booked the day of departure. If you’re unclear as to what constitutes standard sports equipment, French Bee defines this as bicycles, golf clubs, fishing gear, water skis, battery-powered scooters, and diving gear. You may also bring more oversized items such as surfboards, kiteboards, longboards, and windsurfing equipment to be checked for a fee of $130 when booked 48-hours before travel or $165 the day of departure. These items should not weigh more than 70lbs (32kg).
Something potentially tricky to note about bag fees: they only apply to one leg of the journey. That means passengers flying on a Smart fare from Newark to Réunion would have the Newark-Paris leg covered in the price of the ticket but not the Paris-Saint-Denis portion of the flight. That could easily catch some travelers off-guard and cause headaches for large families or heavy packers.
French Bee and COVID-19 Refunds and Rebookings
In light of the ongoing pandemic, all tickets booked on French Bee for travel through June 30, 2022, may be refunded, exchanged, or postponed without any change fees. Passengers will only be responsible for paying the difference in cost if the new travel dates are more expensive than the original. Any refunds or voucher requests must be made at least seven days before departure.