La Compagnie To Start Newark To London Flights March 29, 2015

La Compagnie is the French airline which launched flights around the middle of last year, offering all business class flights between Newark and Paris. Their launch was a bit hectic to say the least, though I also give them credit for staying true to their mission up until this point — they’re truly offering a (not so great) business class product basically at economy class prices.

La-Compagnie-4

So while my review of them wasn’t stellar in comparison to other business class products, I think they add a hell of a lot of value to the market. For the fares they’re charging, there’s simply no other airline that can compete with them. For example, right now they’re offering sub-$1,400 roundtrip business class fares between Newark and Paris.

La-Compagnie-Fare

Originally I gave them a few months at most, though I wasn’t factoring in fuel prices. It goes without saying that they can survive as long as the economy is doing well and fuel prices are where they are (when either of those factors change, though…).

Anyway, in December I wrote about how La Compagnie will be launching their second route. Initially their plan was to offer twice daily service between Newark and Paris, though it seems the demand isn’t there for that. Instead, they’ll be offering service between Newark and London Luton as well.

When I wrote about it in December they just had announced that the service would launch in “March 2014.”

Though based on a newsletter I received from La Compagnie last week, it appears as if La Compagnie’s Newark to London flight will launch on March 29, 2015. Furthermore, they claim that they’ll start accepting bookings as of “early February.”

La-Compagnie-London

Now, I’ll do everything I can to get on their inaugural flight, since I sure would love to fly them again. And I’d love for as many of you guys to join me as possible. So I’d say “mark your calendars” for March 29, though given La Compagnie’s track record for punctuality, I’d suggest using the faintest pencil ever in marking your calendars. šŸ˜‰

La-Compagnie-5

Ā So, who’s potentially interested? šŸ™‚

Comments

  1. Looks like that’s Luton (LTN), not Gatwick, per their newsletter…but maybe that’s something they’re not sure about yet, either…

  2. It’s interesting that they would choose to use CDG in Paris which is a full service carrier airport (presumably with associated high fees) and then come to LTN for London with almost no full service carriers and dominated by the low-costs?

  3. Luton. Oh sweet suffering horrors. The worst airport in London, by far. It makes Gatwick look like Changi. No direct rail link. Everything built to Ryanair specs.

    Oh, the glamor: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2287978/The-town-rats-run-packs-Shocking-pictures-Luton-hordes-rodents-feeding-rubbish.html

    They are either out of their minds. Or they’ve negotiated a way to use the old Silverjet private terminal at Luton. Which would actually be an almost-smart move: http://www.etriptips.com/wiki/Silverjet

    Because that worked out so well for Silverjet: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/2790804/Silverjet-The-rapid-rise-and-fall-of-a-business-class-only-airline.html

    Really wish I could short this outfit…

  4. If they plan on a set up at Luton similar to what SilverJet had, it will be much better than going into Gatwick. I am definitely going to try them this summer. They are the only option that wiil keep me out of Premium Economy on this route — short of spending $5000 for business class ticket.

  5. @takke – not very easy to get LHR slots right now

    @lucky – I personally think La Compagnie is an excellent idea given that they’re at the higher economy/lower premium economy prices and still deliver a product that at least aims to be business and therefore serves on proper tableware, serve smoked salmon etc, quiet cabin and lie-flat rather than a 4-inch recline and airplane food on some AF Y or, even worse, UA Y plane.

  6. If it’s only to Luton or Gatwick, they have nothing on LCY-JFK on BA’s airbus. As a Brit, I can categorically say that I would never book any flight out of Luton. I’d rather not travel at all. Gatwick is also a huge pain in the ass to get to, so I’d only fly out of Gatwick if there’s no other alternative.

  7. Really? You want to fly the inaugural? You’re kidding, right? And that’s a nice version of Economy plus, not long haul business class.

    BTW, are you going to fly review WOW Air?

  8. Althrough Luton will not work well for US clients, there are a lot of well off areas quite near Luton who will be happy with the time saved compared to getting to heathrow/gatwick

  9. @abdallah.abdelrahim wasn’t thinking of LHR, clearly too expensive (by a long long way!), but would have thought LGW better because it does at least serve some legacies

  10. @ Jake — Right, but they’re also not trying to compete with BA Club World London City. BA considers that to be a “premium” product, while this will be discounted business class. It will likely cost a fraction of what BA charges.

  11. @ abdallah — Totally agree, I just think the business model isn’t sustainable with a recession and/or high oil prices. And since they’re a smaller company, they can’t necessarily afford to “weather” either of those situations.

  12. @ Jon Tarik — Nope, why would I be kidding? I’d love to try them again and see what has changed since they first started flying.

    And no, no plans to fly WOW Air… šŸ˜€

  13. Hmmm… While I appreciate that there is a market for those who wish to fly in comfort but not bothered about miles accumulation, seat design, quality of service or food onboard, I struggle to think the market would be big enough.

    Surely those who always fly Business class would always prefer the products with bigger and more established airlines, such as BA’s CW from City. And those who don’t see the point or value of spending a penny more than the cheapest Eco ticket they could find, will not likely to dish out hundreds more to try a ‘budget business class’ product?

  14. @ Jake — I agree, I don’t know if the market is big enough. I think the market that benefits from a product like La Compagnie is the leisure traveler on a budget. La Compagnie is a fantastic option for them. But that’s also not a huge market, especially since La Compagnie isn’t very well known.

  15. Weighing in from a corporate perspective… travel budgets and travel policies have all been restricted (for example, C class is permitted for travel when flying over 10hrs, effectively kaboshing transatlantic pointy end) for the vast majority since 2008/9.
    I really believe that, schedule permitting, many business travellers will take this option over y/y+ and forgo points to enjoy a more comfortable experience (yes, even if they have to go in and out of Luton).

  16. Lucky,

    When would you know if you’ll get on their inaugural flight? I would be interested in being on it too. I think it would be really cool to hang out with you, specially on an inaugural flight.

  17. If one is staying at a centrally-located London hotel, what are the options to get to LTN?

    @ Lucky — ask them to reserve an entire flight for OMAAT readers! See if you can get us a $600 RT price šŸ˜‰

  18. @Ivan: There are Thameslink trains that stop at various places in central London and take about 40 minutes and (somewhat infrequent) direct services from St Pancras that take about 20 minutes to Luton Airport Parkway from where are frequent shuttle buses to the airport taking less than 10 minutes.
    Of course there are also bus services from various places in London taking about 80 minutes and taxis take about an hour though that of course can depend on traffic.
    Everything considered, unless one’s hotel is particularly close to Paddington and one is willing to pay for Heathrow Express, it should not take much longer than going to Heathrow. From the city/eastern part of central London it can even be considerably faster.

  19. @ Kris — I agree, but it seems many corporate travel departments have a strict “no business class” policy regardless of what the fare is. So in many cases they’ll let you book an economy ticket that’s more expensive than a business class ticket, it just can’t be business class. Or is that not the case?

  20. @ Juan — Well they claim bookings will open early next month, so if that’s the case I’ll post right away and we can devise a plan. šŸ™‚

  21. Lucky,

    Cool! Looking forward to it.

    On a different note, I’ll be trying out Avianca’s new 787 in business class. That should be interesting.

  22. BOG-JFK. That’s the only route where the 787 is operating on at the moment (I believe). Finally I’ll be motivated to start blogging and write a trip report šŸ™‚

  23. Luton is by far the UK’s largest Biz jet airport so people with money are aware of the airport. When Silverjet operated from Luton most passengers arrived by limousine. I never saw anyone arriving by public transport.

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