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In-Flight French 101

Steven Guarnaccia French 101

Photo: Steven Guarnaccia

Air France recently followed Virgin Atlantic, Continental, and Singapore airlines by offering in-transit language lessons. Their interactive program is the fruit of a partnership with Berlitz International (the largest language-training provider in the world), whose curriculum emphasizes a conversational approach. Half-hour and hour lessons are available on individual screens in any combination of 23 languages, from French and Spanish to Portuguese, Danish, and even Tagalog. Lessons (unfortunately only offered at the beginner level) focus on simple vocabulary and instructor-led pronunciation exercises—yes, you will talk out loud, to your seatmate’s annoyance. At the end of each segment, passengers measure their new fluency in a test, but the real final exam is at passport control.

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