New Airline: La Compagnie All Business Class Newark To Paris

If there’s one lesson the airlines should have taught us in the past decade, it’s that independent, all business class, transatlantic airlines don’t work. They just don’t. They can’t compete on schedule and frequency. They typically can’t compete in terms of ground services and reliability. And when the economy goes down the drain, they don’t have the backing or flexibility to “weather the storm.” Such is the nature of flying exactly one route between two financial capitals.

The only all business class transatlantic operation still flying is British Airways’ Club World London City service.

It flies between New York and London City, and is operated by an A318 with 32 business class seats.

British-Airways-Club-World-London-City
British Airways Club World London City A318

British Airways’ other “unique” transatlantic operation is OpenSkies, which is operated between New York and Paris Orly by a 757. The only catch is that nowadays it’s a three cabin plane, with business, premium economy, and economy. When the service launched years ago they had goals of flying out of Amsterdam and to Washington as well, but they’re still only flying between Paris and New York, so I doubt the service is performing profitably.

OpenSkies
OpenSkies 757-200

Well it seems that lesson hasn’t been learned. La Compagnie is a new all business class airline that will start transatlantic all business class service between New York and Paris — or more accurately, between Newark Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Via Luxury Travel Magazine, here are the details:

The Fleet

La Compagnie will start operations with a redesigned Boeing 757-200 dressed in the airline’s signature baby blue hue. The plane will offer four to five weekly flights throughout the summer, with scheduled departures out of Paris at 17:50 arriving in Newark at 20:30, and out of Newark at 21:45 arriving in Paris at 11:15.

The B 757-200 is the best plane adapted for La Compagnie’s cross-Atlantic route: it has a range of 3,900 nautical miles and modern winglets to cut fuel consumption. The interior design offers 74 “lie-flat” seats creating a 2×2 configuration throughout a single aisle cabin with no dividing class curtain. Overhead luggage bins are amply sized. The interior cabin is sleek and stylized with leather headrests and armrests in La Compagnie’s signature baby blue. Additional interior tones are muted: from the wood grain of wallboards to the blue-speckled grey carpeting.

La Compagnie’s next Boeing 757-200 aircraft will be delivered in December 2014.

The Crew

Each La Compagnie flight will be crewed by two pilots and three flight attendants fluent in international languages. The experienced cockpit crews have profiles approved by the French Civil Aviation Authority.

The cabin crew will be outfitted in stylish signature uniforms designed by the French fashion house Vicomte A, whose colorful ready-to-wear line combines an aristocratic tradition and elegance as well as French know-how and “art-de-vivre.”

In-Flight Amenities

Passengers will be comforted by in-flight amenity kits including Caudalie cosmetic products, as well as in-flight meal service with menus created by Christophe Langree, the Michelin-starred chef of Hôtel Matignon in Paris, which serves as the official residence of the Prime Minister of France. La Compagnie’s fleet will also be equipped with complimentary WiFi Internet service, and all seats will have personal Samsung tablets uploaded with an assortment of books, magazines, music and movies.

Three flight attendants for 74 business class passengers? British Airways has three flight attendants on their A318s flying between New York and London, so British Airways’ crew to passenger ratio is more than double. Of course that assumes La Compagnie ever has more than 32 passengers on one of their planes, which seems highly unlikely to me, but… 😉

So they plan on launching service in just a few weeks, but don’t yet have a website and aren’t taking reservations.

For more information or to make reservations with La Compagnie, please contact (800)-218-8187 or visit www.LaCompagnie.com starting July 1, 2014. Please note: the call center and website in the United States will be available after receipt of US government approval.

La-Compagnie

If they have good introductory fares I’ll give them a shot, but… seriously?! For their sake, here’s to hoping I’m misreading this and it’s actually a disguised article from “The Onion.”

Comments

  1. This new service is a metaphor for France as a whole. They’re boasting about designer cabin crew uniforms and Michelin-starred on-board cuisine, but nobody thought about a business plan or, God Forbid, profitability. Too bad this new airline won’t live long enough to be listed on a stock-exchange, as it would be a fantastic short position.

  2. @ Drew J. — That is very attractive pricing, at least. Do you know if it prices at half the cost of a roundtrip for a one-way? And is it actually bookable on the websites in other countries?

  3. Just visited the websites and prices are kind of very good.

    Price of one-way is 500€. So return is 1000€ in business? And that for july! Basically you cannot even fly economy in July for that price.

  4. What is the fascination with these airlines going to Paris(I have taken Openskies before). It seems to me that the best shot is all business into London. I know BA is doing it into City, but the amount of travel between NYC and London vs Paris seems to be a good reason to go that route. I guess that is why I dont run an airline!

  5. 1000€ is definitely a deal but I can’t imagine that airlines buy new planes without lie flat beds even in an all business “jet”

  6. I am really surprised they can do that with high oil prices

    1000 euros is a bargain ! but again the seats are not the best wondering about the service and no miles to collect

  7. No self respecting blogger would pay less than economy to fly business without a flat seat. Unless it’s LH.

  8. @ Dax — First of all, I wasn’t aware of the pricing when I wrote the post since I couldn’t get the website to work. Totally agree those are some amazing prices, though there’s no way that’s sustainable. Even if they sold every seat it wouldn’t be anywhere close to a break even proposition for them.

    So totally agree that’s a hell of a deal, but there’s no way it will stick. And at the same time there’s no way people will pay competitive business class prices either, between the crew ratio and angled seats.

  9. Those fares are great—until your tickets go the way of EOS like mine did for the outbound to Europe. And then the way of Silverjet like mine did on the inbound. Not worth the stress at all.

  10. @Rob, yes, a press release for a new pseudo-luxury product should mention profitability not the product itself.
    That’s marketing 101!!!!

  11. @David Viessmann,

    You can collect 2x UR points by charging to a Chase UR card or 3x Amex MR points by using the Amex Rewards Gold – way more flexible than La Compagnie points! 😉

  12. @Lucky is does price out a someways for 500€ and yes it appears bookable however I didn’t go through all the prompts. The checkout is a bit buggy right now.

    If you have Chrome browser install the chrome app Hola! and you can set your browser to pull in the Europe site so you can view it all.

  13. Gosh, what a mess. Everything is wrong – fleet, crew, seat, schedule, airports, website. The only thing remotely appealing about this proposition is the unsustainable launch fares. I wouldn’t be booking anything more than a few months out unless your travel insurance covers insolvency.

    Even the seating choice is wrong – couldn’t they have gone with a 1-1 share herringbone style to give every pax aisle access?

    The flight times in both directions are wrong for business travellers. No high powered business person wants to take a 17:50 flight – its far too early, especially to navigate the nightmare of CDG you would have to leave the office at, what, 4pm?! Do you know any bankers or CEOs that leave the office at 4pm? The flight time back is wrong too – arrival into CDG wastes half the day. They’re very stuck with the ideal timings with only 1 aircraft as it cant leave Paris after business hours and return before the start of the next business day so I think they should have waited until they had their second aircraft and launch the following:

    ORY-JFK (or LGA?)
    15:00-18:30 Daily
    20:00-22:40 Daily

    JFK-ORY
    19:30-08:00 (+1) Daily
    23:40-13:10 (+1) Daily

    This would at least have 1 flight per day in each direct at an appropriate time for business travellers.

    I give this 6 months max.

  14. Lie flat seats… angled… hm…

    But they are doing a promotion on their French website – EUR 1667 for 2 pax!

  15. Hi,

    operatet by Island Air.

    In the cabin you enter a world 100% business class where you will feel at home. The plane is composed of only 74 seats arranged 2 by 2 to provide comfort and privacy with a spacing of 62 inches. The seats, embedded in a fixed shell, 180 ° tilt bed with a position angle and have a massage mode to offer you optimal relaxation.

    You have a lamp tilt reading space for your personal belongings and electronics, a socket, a headphone jack and a pocket for your documents, so you can read to work in the largest comforts.

    To relax, you have hypoallergenic pillows, a large soft cover and a travel kit with care brand Caudalie. The light in the cabin has also been designed to offer you a warm atmosphere throughout the trip.

  16. @Rui N: Where in my post do you see a reference to a press release? I was merely alluding to the fact that I find it comical if an unknown airline thinks it can lure new customers with good food and fancy amenities alone. As others have pointed out, the seats are outdated, the schedule is sub-optimal, there’s no affiliation to an alliance and above all, no other company has ever succeeded with this business model. The fact that the airline is backed by industry insiders is as reassuring as to say that a hedge fund has Nobel-prize winning academics on its board (think LTCM if that rings a bell).

  17. You said there is only single all business transatlantic service, but isn’t there SAS service from Stavanger to Houston? And isn’t there some PrivatAir services for Lufthansa/Swiss?

  18. @ Egor — I don’t believe PrivatAir operates any transatlantic service at the moment. And good point about SAS, though it hasn’t launched yet.

  19. @ Lucky – given how much readers enjoy not-so-quite-phenomenal trip reports, are you booking yourself on an inaugural flight? 😉

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