Social distancing blunder at Air France? All seats occupied on a Paris-Marseilles Airbus A318


Currently, only one flight per day is operated between Paris and Marseilles Provence. If all seats are open for reservation, isolation measures and travel restrictions have resulted in a low load factor in recent weeks. Except that this Saturday, April 18, all passengers presented themselves at Charles de Gaulle airport at the time of boarding.

In the 20:00 news of France 2 television channel last night, journalist Charlotte Gillard mentioned her experience onboard the Air France flight she took from Paris CDG to Marseilles-Marignane (AF6008 operated by Airbus A318 F-GUGJ) earlier in the day. The flight was fully booked, with all seats occupied. She pointed out the absence of any social distancing between the passengers.

On the Paris-Marseilles I took, all the passengers were very surprised to see that the flight was complete and no separation measures were taken for the passengers. What is disturbing is that during the whole registration and boarding process at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport, the distances were respected. But as soon as we got on the plane, we were told that the flight is full! We were all taken aback, seated, huddled next to each other, most passengers without masks, and our face 30 centimetres from that of our neighbour!“, said the France 2 journalist.

Her neighbours, whom the journalist interviewed, had the same feeling of insecurity. Most of the travellers returned from Reunion or Guadeloupe. On long-haul flights, only one seat out of two was occupied.

It surprised me. The deconfinement is here right away!” quips a passenger. He added that “instead of putting one plane, they should put two! Even if it is not economical!

Charlotte Gillard further points out that the authorities did not carry out any verification of the travel authorisations during boarding at CDG airport.

France 2 contacted Air France, which ensures that all measures are taken “in order to minimise interactions and contacts between passengers during flights“. When attendance allows, some distance between travellers is possible by leaving the middle seat unoccupied. But on some more frequented flights, like AF6008 between Paris and Marseilles yesterday, it is not possible. Air France adds that the air of the cabin air is renewed every three minutes by being treated and recycled by filters identical to those used in hospital operating rooms. The cabin crew are provided with hydroalcoholic gel.

With most aircraft of Air France grounded at CDG, would it have been so difficult to replace an A318 (118 seats) by an A321 (184-212 seats) to make sure social distancing is implemented? On the same route, Air France flew some A320 aircraft (165 seats) very recently.


  1. What’s even more disturbing was that there was no control of paperwork allowing passengers to travel at the gate, as per the French government mandate. I haven’t been very impressed with this airline in general in the past few decades. They sometimes deliver great flights and sometimes the exact opposite.


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