La Compagnie Canceled My Flight — Any Recourse?

For almost a year now I’ve been writing regularly about La Compagnie. Last summer they launched all business class flights between Paris and Newark, and I had the chance to fly them on one of their very first flights.

La-Compagnie-4

Ultimately I found them to be an exceptional value, given that they’re basically charging economy class prices for a sub-par business class product. A couple of weeks ago they launched flights between Newark and London as well. Unfortunately they left out one important detail — they actually still only have one plane to operate both routes.

La-Compagnie

 

Reader Shablamb asked the following question in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

Lucky – what do you think my options are here? See e-mail below from La Compagnie.

My current thinking is to use 57k United miles pp for one-way business class flight to my ultimate destination (EDI). Luton was the connecting point – I have already booked/paid for Luton-EDI on EasyJet. While this is not a terrible solution (luckily there is availability), the compensation from La Compagnie is not accpetable. I was notified a week out, with non refundable arrangements on EasyJet and hotels. I was on the super cheap introductory fair of $1007 pp RT EWR-Luton.

What options/recourse would you suggest? I’d prefer 100% refund and lettting me keep the return flight. Future credit on the airline is likely worthless. Or do I just take the 50% refund they give me and call it day? Do I have any rights as a US person booking on a French(?) airline?

And here’s the email Shablamb received:

Dear Valued Client,

We are sorry to inform you that we must cancel flight B0 007 New York-Newark (EWR) to London-Luton (LTN) on May, 13rd 2015 due to flight programming adjustment.

We have automatically booked you on our next flight for London, leaving New York on May 15th. Therefore, your travel information has changed: La Compagnie flight B0 009, departing earlier New York (EWR) at 6:45 pm, arrival London (LTN) 6:55 am local time.

If you choose this option we offer you a voucher of £650/€600/$650 per person to use on your next flight with LA COMPAGNIE.

Here are my thoughts:

What is wrong with La Compagnie’s management?

Before I answer the actual question, I just have to rant for a second. While La Compagnie’s business model makes absolutely no sense to me, I do think they potentially add a ton of value to the market. They’re basically charging slightly higher than economy fares for a not-so-great business class product, which is an unbeatable value proposition for the leisure traveler.

Assuming they can make that sustainable, I have nothing but great things to say about them.

But what amazes me is what an operational nightmare this airline has been. La Compagnie is run by two airline industry veterans. This isn’t an airline being run by someone who has never worked in the industry before. Yet somehow from the time they’ve launched, they’ve made operational mistake after operational mistake.

They admit they’re a niche airline going after a niche market. Given that, they should recognize that they can’t afford to piss off so many customers by doing a horrible job of managing expectations. This isn’t an isolated thing, but constant. And I think that’s perfectly evident by the fact that they’re scheduling overlapping flight schedules when they only have one plane.

Seriously, shame on them for that…

Do you have any rights when the airline changes the schedule?

This is one of the (many) dark sides of the airline industry. An airline’s contract of carriage doesn’t actually state how quickly they’ll get you to your destination. If they announce a schedule change in advance you can either accept the change, or you’re entitled to a full refund. But contractually they’re not required to book you on another airline. And given the fares La Compagnie is charging and their lack of organization, I wouldn’t count on them to book you on another airline in business class.

What would I expect, realistically?

Seriously, screw the airline for telling you a week in advance that they have to change your schedule by two days. What crap. In practice, here’s what I’d expect:

  • That they’d be willing to rebook you on the route to Paris on your preferred date
  • Accept the new schedule and take the $650 voucher
  • You should be able to get a full refund if you cancel your ticket, and if they have any sense of customer service they’d give you the $650 voucher to apply towards a future ticket anyway
  • If you want to keep the return, I’d expect them to maybe refund half the fare and still give you a $650 voucher to apply towards a future ticket; in practice this might be tricky, since I’m not sure how they would do that on the back end, but they should find a solution

Regardless, if they have any sense of customer service they’d give you the voucher regardless of which option you go with, since surely they want you to give them another shot. La Compagnie has 99 problems, but too many passengers aint one of them.

La-Compagnie-Business-Class-757-14

Bottom line

I can’t help but shake my head at La Compagnie. It’s not like they’re having some massive disaster outside of their control, but rather they’re scheduling more flights than they can operate, and waiting until a week before departure to inform passengers that their schedule will change by two days.

While airlines’ contracts of carriage do protect them from having liability in the case of schedule changes, I think it’s ridiculous to only offer a $650 voucher in the event one accepts the schedule change. I think Shablamb is being perfectly reasonable here, so hopefully La Compagnie is able to accommodate in an acceptable way.

Shablamb, please do update us and let us know what ends up happening.

In the meantime, if anyone else is booked on La Compagnie, it seems you shouldn’t expect your flight to actually operate as booked.

La-Compagnie-Business-Class-16

Comments

  1. I agree with your rant 100% Ben, but I don’t think anyone who follows aviation closely (your readers) should be surprised by La Compagnie being a basket case. It’s not often talked about on websites like yours but airlines with vast route networks, alliance partners and large fleets offer something that can be far more valuable than a better First class seat or the best champagne – reliability. Nobody is going to say that BA or Lufthansa have cutting edge business class product or pricing but I think their management understands the importance of reliability and consistency. I don’t think they offer to fly a route unless they’ve confirmed that they have the resources to do it with high level of dependability. Flying La Compagnie is like flying a seasonal route that is 3X weekly to a remote island, customers need to be ready with a backup plan in case something happens because if the plane doesn’t show up the next one might not be around for a while.

  2. Ben!!! I really think I am going to be sick. I’m supposed to fly with them on June 4.I have a pre-paid hotel in London. I just called them. They insisted that they have the second plane and that my flight is a go but, frankly, I don’t believe a word they say. It’s too late in the day now, but I am thinking of calling their corporate headquarters,

  3. “If your flight was cancelled between 7 and 14 days before departure and you were given a new flight that either departed more than 2 hours early or arrived more than 4 hours late then you will be entitled to compensation.

    If your flight was cancelled less than 7 days before departure and you were given a new flight that either departed more than 1 hour early or arrived more than 2 hour late then you will be entitled to compensation.”

    Not sure if it would fall under this definition, since the flight wasn’t actually cancelled as such. I don’t think you’d be able to get a refund under EU261.

  4. I don’t know why you give them so much press. You saw how much of a mess they were the moment you showed up to check in. Best to just write them off as borderline fraudulent.

  5. Why NI mention of EU 261, Ben? Seems highly relevant here. Totally agree re highlighting the ability for carriers to do this to passengers though – seems quite unfair given the restrictive nature of tickets in reverse!

  6. In the event you agreed with the schedule change, why would you take the 650USD voucher? 650GBP is worth way more than 600EUR or 650USD, what’s up with the FX rate the airline is using?

  7. To progapanda’s point, 650GBP is equal to 1000USD. Who would even let that kind of difference slip by?

  8. I don’t have an airline. I have one jet. You cannot put one jet in a line. If La Compagnie is anything, it is an air dot.

    With apologies to Cabin Pressure

  9. Unfortunalty as you know Ben this situation also extends the the best of carriers but for varying reasons – but the same result of unhappy passengers!
    Our beloved CX routinely cancels CX830 HKG-JFK last minute and from what I have been told it is due to low capacity and yield (anecdotal) the flight is at 9.20am and I like it as it gets you into JFK around early afternoon but it has been cancelled – within 48 hours of departure – the last three times I tried to use it (the last being 17Feb). I now never book it as I don’t trust it will leave!

  10. It now seems that La Compagnie is to business class what Spirit is to coach — both highly unreliable!!!

    Who needs headaches like this!

  11. @progapanda Maybe that refund amount is based on the currency you bought your ticket in? Like if you paid in euros you would be refunded in euros. *shrug*

  12. @ Craig — That definitely sucks and is unacceptable, though I do still think changing someone’s schedule by four hours is a bit different than changing it by 48 hours. Though I agree both are unacceptable.

  13. @ Andy — As stated by others, my guess is that the denomination is based on the currency in which your ticket was booked.

  14. @ dmodemd — Ultimately they’re a combination between being a great value and very amusing. Great blog fodder. 😉

  15. @ Nancy Colson — It seems they finally got their second plane, though I’m not sure when it’ll start flying commercially. Hopefully by next month. I’d guess/hope you’ll be fine!

  16. Sorry, Lucky, but you haven’t done your homework here. As La Compagnie is EU-based its passengers are protected by EU Regulation 261/2004, which in article 5 clearly states that if your flights is cancelled two weeks out or less, you are entitled to a full refund or re-routing under comparable conditions (and it’s he the passenger who gets to choose, not the airline!) PLUS a cash compensation of EUR 600. Your assertion that “contractually they’re not required to book you on another airline” is incorrect I’m afraid. That being said, I’m not too sure you would get La Compagnie to rebook you, so I would just choose a full refund and the 600 Euros and try and book myself elsewhere.

  17. I was booked on the flight CDG-EWR on Sunday 5/10. Due to some snafu I did not receive email or text of 1 hour early departure as the flight indeed had to stop in Luton on the “milk run” to pick up passengers. I was told at check in by the co founder, an ex Gendarme, that service of the 2nd aircraft was delayed hence the stop but that I would earn a e300 credit to be used on the next flight.I can vouch that there are 2 aircraft as the one I flew in in was older and had pale blue seats compared to the one I flew back on.

    We took off about 45 minutes late and on arrival at Luton, a small low cost-carrier airport north of London without any jetways in sight, we descended the stairs with carry on luggage in windy and chilly conditions, were herded onto a bus, driven to an outbuilding some 300 meters away which was a small VIP lounge for private jets, were given no refreshments, then had to go through UK immigration which consisted of 2 border officers typing information into their lap tops, followed by UK security control which unlike France insists that liquids are contained in small zip lock bags and then given no option but to go straight back onto the same bus to wait patiently until all passengers had been subjected to the same procedure which took about 45 minutes.

    Once the bus returned to the aircraft we had to wait inside the bus for another 20 minutes for “cleaning and a secondary security check” – now this is England on a Sunday but one wonders why all this could not have been done during the 45-60′ time we were going through immigration and security…

    On the Paris to Luton segment we were offered a cocktail or water, no hot drinks or snacks. The meal on the Luton to EWR segment was, to my surprise, excellent: lobster salad and I chose the sole, lots of cheese, decent Bordeaux but uncoordinated if well-meaning service. The movies on the Samsung tablet were all relatively old and of the say 40 available I think 25 were James Bond films – they must have got a really great deal on them.

    My colleague who took the same flight on the Friday, reported the same disruption and only one single person boarded the plane at Luton whereas in my flight approx. 7 elderly couples joined us. Maybe the load is greater in the week…?

    Nobody seemed to mind about the delay and hassle too much but it was a Sunday evening. My strong recommendation to La Compagnie is communicate, communicate and communicate. There was a huge lack of information to the passengers as to what and why all this was happening and virtually no apology at all. French customer service not at its finest. They should copy BA captains who give very good updates which make the longest delays bearable.

    Conclusion: will I do it again, you bet if only to use my e300 credit.

  18. It looks as though they are cancelling one flight after another now. I’m supposed to fly them in three weeks and am beginning to think that I should make alternate plans. You can’t get a straight answer out of their US Reservations people. They keep saying my flight is still scheduled and will be fine. How can I believe that?

    Out of desperation, I called the NY-based PR firm handling their account and spoke to the lead. She wouldn’t give me a contact number for the corporate office but said she would forward an e-mail. She also said that the second plane should be flying by next week. Let’s see if I hear back.

    Ben, Any ideas on how to great an “affordable” business class fare to London from NYC three weeks out. I’m getting desperate 🙁

  19. We have tickets with La Compagnie for tomorrow night (May 17) out of Newark to Luton. I just received an email that the flight will be operated by a Portuguese charter airline, HiFly.

    They say this will be a business class service, but I’m nervous. I don’t know anything about this airline. I’m also nervous about coming back. Our return flight from Luton to Newark is in two weeks. Will they have their act together by then? Any insights from anyone would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

  20. We came to NY on May 18 with La Compagnie from London Luton,by changed plane /airline..Portuguese a340.with La Compagnie staff on board….good service..due to return on 22nd May,but flight was cancelled that afternoon with no explanation,just told at check in they have no plane in U.S.,has it didn’t leave UK.They gave us voucher for hotel,to stop last night,hope to fly back tonight.Told us we will get $660 compensation plus round trip,we will see,nothing in writing.Firm seems ok,but seriously need to sort a permanent plane and stop messing people around.

  21. My whole family is booked to fly La Compagnie from Newark to Luton at the end of July, returning mid-August. We’re not business travelers and have never even flown business class but the airfare we got (the $1007 promotion special) was actually cheaper than any economy class fares I could find at the time. Now I’m really regretting my decision. I’m so worried the flight will be cancelled and we’ll miss a day or two of our limited vacation or even worse the return flight will be cancelled and I’ll miss work on my return (I’m a physician and it’s very hard to cancel a full day of patients last minute). Any suggestions for what I can do in advance or is it just a matter of luck at this point? If my flight ends up being cancelled I’d actually prefer to be booked economy class on the same day rather than having to wait 24-48 hours for another La compagnie flight. Anyone know if they would do this? Of course it could all run smoothly, not all their flights are cancelled, but I am worried. I’ve tried to find info on what percent of their flights do end up being cancelled but can’t seem to get the info. Anyone know the raw statistics on this? thanks.

  22. Hi all. We returned from our vacation on May 31. Our Newark-Luton flight was on Hi Fly on May 17.

    I was nervous, but all was fine. The flight was delayed by about an hour and a half. Service was fine, and the crew was extremely nice. The seats were fine (still blew coach away), but not as nice as La Compagnie.

    On the return, our flight went out of Luton on May 31, just as scheduled. The service was wonderful. They could not have been nicer or more accommodating; the seats were comfortable with plenty of room; entertainment was great; food and drinks were plentiful and wonderful; and the crew was amazing. Got into Newark on time.

    I hope it all goes as well for everyone else. I’ll try to check back here to answer questions if people have any. Good luck to all.

  23. We were due to fly La Compagnie tomorrow but our flight was cancelled today and we’ve been re-booked for Saturday. Similarly, our return flight on June 26 has been cancelled and we’ve been re-booked to the next day. Uggh! Really not sure what to do!

  24. We were due to fly on June 12th and have been moved to the June 13th flight, losing 1 day of our holiday and non-refundable hotel costs in Newark for the Friday night, and huge inconvenience of arriving in Newark at 9pm with a 4 month old baby and having to transfer directly to Brooklyn. Notification came 30 hours prior to the flight departure time by way of an email, you would think that someone would call you to inform you of this??

    What are our compensation rights in this instance?

  25. @ Martin Brady — Ouch, that’s ridiculous. Sorry to hear about that. Legally don’t have any compensation rights, unfortunately, though the airline should offer you something as a “gesture of goodwill.”

  26. I just got back from my round trip EWR-LUT-EWR on La Compagnie. Despite having a flight cancelled (more on that later), I loved these guys and truly wish them well.

    I left from Newark on June 4. Everything worked perfectly. In fact, I had some of the best service at check-in that I have ever had. I got to the airport early so there were still a few people checking in for the Paris flight. There were four people ahead of me and they apologized for the long line. The agent who checked me in, went out of his way to help. I mentioned that I had switched my seat to row 12 in the hope of having no one sitting next to me, he said we can do better than that and moved me to 2C bulkhead without my asking — no one sat next to me. I was then told that the airport manager wanted to meet me. He was delayed so someone walked me to the lounge (the old Virgin Atlantic landside lounge now redone). Sure enough, the manager shows up a few minutes later, shows me around and we had a nice chat. The food in the lounge beat anything I’d find at Delta or United. There was an assortment of pasta, vegetables, salads, bread cookins — more than enough for a basic pre-flight meal. They offered to escort me through security but that really was not necessary. When I got to the gate Peter Leuthi was there to see everyone off, he acknowedged me by name, we talked for a bit. Boarding was quick and smooth. I fell asleep almost immediately so didn’t get to sample the light supper. Breakfast offered just about anything you could want from fruit, to fresh breads, to French toast and omlet and bacon — more than is provided on most other business class flights. The flight over was on the newer plane. No the seats don’t compare to the true lie flat beds but a 5′ tall I found it quite comfortable and able to sleep. Ben, I have to say I thought of you when they offered a pre-flight drink and took my coat to hang it up. We got in on time. The crew was lovely. I couldn’t have asked for more.

    What can I say about Luton? I don’t hate it. Yes it is old and yes it takes a few minutes longer to get there but I was out of that airport in the time it would take me to walk to the gate at Heathrow. My only mistake was taking the train. I would have been much better off on the bus to Victoria. It might take a few minutes longer but it is much easier.

    I guess if you worry about something enough, it is going to happen. I was supposed to fly home on Friday, June 12. Thursday afternoon I went online to print out my boarding pass only to get a message to try back with 24 hrs. I checked my watch. Hmmm… I looked more closely at my e-mails, and found the e-mail telling me my flight had been cancelled and that I had been rebooked for Saturday:

    “We inform you that we have to cancel your B0 006 flight on June 12 between London-Luton to NY-Newark due to operational constraints.

    In order to minimize the impact, we already rebooked you on B0 006 leaving on June 13. If you wish to travel on alternative dates or wish to cancel, you can change your reservation without penalty.

    We apologize for this last minute change and remain at your disposal should you need any additional information.

    In the meantime, if you choose to fly with us on June 13 or on another date, we will be pleased to offer you a free ticket at your convenience on top of reglementary compensations.”

    I’m not sure of what I am entitled to when the say “relementary compensations.” I immediately called there corporate office and they agreed (in writing) to cover my hotel for another night. I’m not sure of what else to expect.

    Frankly, this time it didn’t pose a hardship for me. It was sorted out very quickly by La Compagnie. I was fortunate that I was able to keep my room another night and had the funds to cover it. I had an extra day in London and will have a upcoming free flight. That said, I don’t want to minimize the hardship and inconvenience it caused others. It just happened that in this case it worked out fine for me.

    The flight back was equally smooth. Car service to Luton. About a one hour delay and we were off. Check-in at Luton was also smooth, I was the only one in the Priority Security Line so that was very quick. The Aspire Lounge is still a work in progress but should be nice when done. I was nursing a very bad case of food poisoning so didn’t sample any of the food– for that matter I couldn’t even look at it.

    The flight was quite full but given that I wasn’t feeling well they arranged for me to have two seats to myself. Row 15 and more that enough leg room. This was the older plane and, honestly, I liked it better. Since I wasn’t well, I slept most of the way and again missed the meal. I did sample the afternoon tea which was sandwiches and scones. Basic but just right.

    Arrival at Newark was fast and easy — very quiet at that time of night.

    Bottom line: I would definitely fly them again. They have a good product at a great value. I truly hope they make it. They are all working very hard to make that company a success and are dealing with some of the obstacles they’ve had to face as best they can. They really deserve a chance.

    So ends my first ever trip report!

  27. Hey Ben,

    Just got the email notification saying that my flight at the end of July was cancelled and we were moved to the following day’s flight. Unfortunately I might have to cancel and get the full refund since this change would have my wife and I miss a family wedding. We were really excited about this trip, and now this is turning into a headache.

  28. Hi Ben,

    I think we are approaching the time where you must consider taking the position of making a stern “No FLY” recommendation to your readers for La Compagnie!

    After reading up on La Compagnie regularly and seeing the great number of cancellations and headaches it is causing, I can’t see how anyone can recommend an airline, not knowing whether you will be on a flight or not, or whether it will be canceled with almost no notice at all. I don’t think it matters whether the flight is an exceptional value, the staff is extremely pleasant or you can start out on their frequent flyer program with 10 credits. If you can’t rely on an airline to transport you, what good are they?

    Perhaps some people have such flexible schedules that they can go any time the airline wants to put them on a flight, but I imagine the vast majority of people make hotel reservations, have time commitments, utilize positioning and connecting flights, and assume they will be flying within a few hours of their scheduled departure times, as opposed to a few days.

    You, yourself, have questioned from the beginning whether La Compagnie can even sustain its business model for any significant period of time. You wonder what is wrong with their management. You call them an operational nightmare! Perhaps this is the beginning of the end.

    So Ben — at what point do you think it is reasonable for a frequent flyer guru such as yourself to form an opinion that an airline is too unreliable to fly, and if so, should you share that opinion with your readers?

  29. Just got the dreaded email. . . “We have to cancel your B0006 flight from London-Luton to New York-Newark on August 09th, 2015, due to operational constraints.”

    They’ve rebooked me and entire family on equivalent flight the next day. This would be fine except I have to work the next day and am not sure I can rearrange my schedule to get the day off, though at least I have a few weeks lead time to try. Also shouldn’t they cover the cost of one more night in hotel in London?

    Do I have any other recourse? I have found an equivalent flight home on Norweigan Airlines (non-stop) in economy for $633 (not bad for one way flight) which I would prefer to take because at least it gets me home on time. Am I entitled to a refund for half the trip? Any suggestions for who I should contact at La Compagnie? I assume I will get nowhere with the customer service people. Who should I try to contact to get this resolved?

    Thanks for any advice.

    p.s. Learned my lesson — I would not use this airline again.

  30. Hi, can anyone help?

    Last week we arrived at Luton and were told the flight was 2 hours delayed. An hour later we were told the flight was cancelled (too late to get a taxi to Heathrow and jump on a different flight to get to NYC in time for my meetings).

    The La Compagnie representative ushered all customers into an area to tell us about the cancellation and series of compensations:

    – refund or next day flight
    – complimentary tickets for another flight (why would I!)
    – payment for our missed NYC night hotel
    – payment for a london hotel
    – payment for the taxi to heathrow and expenses

    I emailed the customer care team that night and after 2 days received an email saying we were getting the refund (one week later and no money yet..) and the comp flights however, on the point for the compensation of hotels and expenses (about £650) they wrote:

    “we have to point out that the liability of the carrier ends at the finald estination mentioned on the ticket. Therefore, additional costs concerning the private organization of the travel (like taxi fees or hotel cancellation fees) is out of La Compagnie’s liability.”

    This is completely unacceptable as we were promised this by their on the ground representative, as were all the other customers. I emailed them back stating this but after 4 business days have still not received an email (or even an email saying they are dealing with it).

    I’ve called the number on the website but they’ve been very unhelpful saying they only deal with bookings and the customer care team have no phone number.

    Did anyone else get the flight on 17th June from Luton?
    Can anyone give advice on what I can do?

    I have inmailed the founder through linkedin but I’m pretty sure I won’t get a response!

    Thanks for reading
    Gavin

  31. Sitting at Heathrow as guess what… my first ever time and La Compagnie has cancelled the flight (with 4 hours notice). I had to change travel plans to rush to get a 4pm flight from Heathrow… just got here in time to check in and guess what… I’m not listed on the flight despite THREE phone calls to La Compagnie.

    The last hour myself and a handful of other passengers have got garbled mixed messages… I asked specifically and was told we’d get business lounge access if we had to wait, then on a following call they said no. They assured me i was on the 4pm flight – but i was standing WITH the check in staff and I was clearly not. Then when i asked specifically for my United booking reference they gave me my La Compagnie reference and said ‘that is all we have’

    They are so far – utterly hopeless. How can they even be allowed to operate without proper airline partnerships in place (they don’t have one with United as the very helpful United staff checked) and despite (from a couple of google searches on them) their regular cancelling and moving around of passengers – they seem to have no well designed process for managing this situation.

    Clearly their service continues to be a bit of a joke – and I’m with the poster above suggesting this should be a clear NO FLY recommendation to avoid this sort of thing happening to more travellers.

    Question: what am i entitled to in compensation with a same day cancellation and them making me change plans for a flight i’m not on? I’m assuming of course they will fly me today (though they’ve already said only Economy Plus on United and no lounge access…)

  32. Hi Lucky,

    We just flew La Compagnie for the second time this year and had yet another horrible experience. Below is an excerpt of my letter to them this morning.

    Me, my husband, and my 4 year old son were due to travel from Newark to Luton on 24th April, at 10.20pm, on La Compagnie B00007.

    Boarding:

    – Upon arrival at the lounge, we were informed there was a slight delay. Our flight time passed by without any further updates. We went to the gate to seek some information, and were told there was a technical difficulty with our plane but they were fixing it. There was no further information communicated to any of the passengers, who by this point were all waiting at the gate, along with our flight crew, wondering when they could board their plane. We kept having to ask for an update, only to be told there wasn’t any update yet. How could we be more than an hour past our flight time with no further updates? We repeatedly asked if the flight was going to be cancelled but received no response.

    – Eventually, a staff member at the gate offered to put us on your flight to Paris, B0101C, which had also been heavily delayed. We boarded, thankful to at least be en route to our final destination (London), even though it meant increasing our travel time by many hours, with a small child in tow, and losing half a day of our time in London, which was most important for my husband as it was a business trip for him.

    – Before boarding the flight to Paris, we inquired THREE separate times as to the status of our bags, and were informed with certainty that our luggage had already been moved to the new airplane and were definitely on board with us to Paris.

    Seats:

    – We were placed in the final row of the airplane (Seats 20C, 20D, 20F) and we could tell immediately that there was something wrong – the fabric of the seats were worn, in places held together with duct tape, and they were all in different positions. The stewardess was most confused as to why we were on board, and informed us that they NEVER place anyone in these seats as those particular seats DO NOT work. We passed the entire night flight in the most uncomfortable positions – with my husband attempting to sleep upright the entire flight, and my son and I unable to recline properly and even unable to sit upright properly (which is most dangerous during take off and landing, and I’m quite sure, against FAA regulations).

    – After a terrible night, we were relieved to finally have breakfast in the morning, only to find that my tray table release button was jammed so I had no table on which to rest my breakfast tray.

    – The tablets in our seats did not work, they were replaced twice by the stewardess but even those replacements were not charged and didn’t even last 30 minutes.

    Arrival in Paris CDG:

    – We were happy to at last get off the plane and continue on our journey. We were met at the gate by a member of staff, who had printed out tickets for the Eurostar to London, but who seemed confused that we had luggage to collect. The train tickets were also for many hours later, the 5pm train, which would have put us in London in the evening, thus now wasting an entire day of our time. We were told to collect our luggage and take the local train to Gare du Nord (with a child stroller, three suitcases, and two pieces of hand luggage).

    – When we arrived at the baggage carousel to collect our luggage, we did not see it and were told to check at the luggage desk Alyzia. Our bags were not there, and they could not find any record of them in their system, and informed us the bags were probably still at Newark airport, even though we had been ASSURED 3 times that they were already on our plane!

    – We filed a lost luggage report and had no choice but to continue on to London.

    – We took a taxi to Gare du Nord and then had to pay Euro 100 to be put on an earlier train!

    London:

    – Upon arrival in London we had to immediately go to a store and purchase some essential clothing for the night and the next day. As we were told by your lost baggage persons in CDG, we kept the receipts and attach them to this email for reimbursement. My husband had to look around to find a suit to wear as he had business meetings the next morning. This is absolutely not how we anticipated spending our first evening in London.

    – We were only in London for 3 nights, after which we were heading to Malta for a wedding. We spent almost our ENTIRE time in London calling Paris CDG and La Compagnie to try to get an update on our baggage. At NO time did anyone from your airline even bother to call us with an update, and when we spoke to your representatives in London they had no information for us at all, only the standard “I’ve emailed our luggage team and am waiting for a response.” I can not tell you how frustrating and stressful it is not only not have your luggage, but not have any answers as to where it is, and to have the airline you flew on have NO IDEA either.

    – Luckily, before we had boarded the flight from Newark, the La Compagnie Station Manager at Newark, had given us his business card, so we at least had someone to call. If we did not meet him in Newark, then we would have no idea who else to call, because the La Compagnie customer service helpline was absolutely and appallingly unhelpful. He informed us that the luggage tags were never changed on our bags – so even though they WERE on the plane with us (!!!), because they had different tags they were kept aside and never put on the baggage carousel. I’m not sure why no one at the luggage desk even bothered to check for other bags that had arrived on the plane, but it would have made an already harrowing journey less stressful.

    – Our time in London was completely ruined, because we had no luggage, and because we had to spend many hours trying to track it down and gain some answers. Finally, on the 26th I was informed by Alyzia that the bags had already been sent to London the previous evening and then informed by the Newark rep that they would be delivered straight to our hotel that day. We waited all day but they never came.

    – When I called La Compagnie late on the 26th afternoon for an update, I discovered that not only did they have no information for me, except for the standard “I’m waiting for a response from our Paris team,” but they did not know AT ALL that the bags had even been sent to London, nor did they know how they got there, nor did they know who to call to find out.

    – Imagine my frustration when I had to inform your representative that I ALREADY KNEW my bags were in London, only to be told by the La Compagnie service representative that I should “just go to London Heathrow” if I knew the bags were there! So after spending a night and an entire day in London trying to track down my baggage myself, the suggestion is that I should now just show up at Heathrow with no confirmation from my airline that they had moved my bags there, and I should just wander around trying to find them – because of course La Compagnie has no desk at Heathrow so where on Earth would I go for help?! She then suggested that I should call the lost luggage desks at Heathrow – but isn’t that YOUR job as the airline who is responsible for my luggage? Isn’t it in your best interests to find my bags and return them to me as speedily as possible, especially after such a terrible journey from beginning to end?!

    – Finally, I had to keep calling and emailing the manager at Newark, who got us in touch with someone in Paris, who told us the bags had been sent to Frankfurt and then London via Lufthansa. He had no idea which flight it had been put on and while he was trying to find out, I called Heathrow Lufthansa Lost Luggage and tracked them down myself, and then I had to make sure that they were going to keep them there long enough for me to go and fetch them. After basically finding them myself, I did not trust your airline to deliver the bags to me without any more mishaps, especially as they had already been in London for ONE WHOLE DAY at this point, sitting at Heathrow airport. We got into a taxi and spent our evening going to Heathrow to pick them up and bring them home.

    – We had one day with our luggage in London and then had to leave for Malta, which means almost our whole trip to London was wasted by La Compagnie and it’s lack of care with our belongings, lack of communication between employees/airports, and utter disregard for customer service.

    My husband and I have been flying with various airlines our entire lives, and have never, ever experienced something like this. To summarize, your initial flight was delayed (and ultimately cancelled) with no communication, you put paying customers in defective airline seats, lost our luggage and proceeded to be little-to-zero help in finding them. While each event itself is unacceptable, the aggregate of events made our journey extremely stressful.

  33. @ Vikki G – I am sorry to hear of your awful experience. thank you for sharing. i flew them once to Paris with an unscheduled milk stop at Luton on the way back. Reading your report, I will not be flying them any time soon and will alert my friends.

  34. My parents had booked several months before departure. On May 24, 2016, the check-in desk at EWR opened 45 minutes late, only to tell passengers there was a technical problem and the flight to Paris would be cancelled. Passengers were not informed of any alternatives, nor offered any food, drinks, nor any assistance with re-booking. “Check back tomorrow, and we’ll see if we can get you on that flight,” they said.

    The United flight #54, departing about 1 hour later had seats available in multiple classes. Passengers were told they had to book themselves, but reimbursement would only be for premium economy, not business class.

    My parents purchased 2 one way tickets on the United with the expectation that it would be reimbursed, given that the EU and Montreal Convention offer rights to passengers, in cases when a flight is cancelled due to basic equipment maintenance matters that the airline should’ve reasonably anticipated and planned for.

    La Compagnie has to date only offered vouchers for future travel (2 @ $1750 USD), and nothing near the cash expense incurred to buy two last minute one way economy class tickets on United ($5,000+).

    La Compagnie has cancelled at least 3 flights per month in May, April and March 2016, in each direction between Newark and Paris. (I found out after the fact)

    The airline is insured for these claims, so I’m hoping they’ll do the right thing and reimburse for the alternate transportation that my parents reasonably booked. I welcome any support from fellow travelers who want to lend their voice to calling out La Compagnie.

  35. Earlier this year I booked some Luton-Newark return flights on the £1500 deal. Outgoing 11 Aug, return 22 Aug. I received last week an email telling me that the return flight on 22 Aug had been cancelled due to “a flight programming adjustment”. They have offered to move the flight to the day before, on 21 Aug, but I have very little confidence in this airline now if they’re already making cancellations two months in advance! They also offered a refund for the return leg – but of course, alternative flights are now much more expensive than they were when I booked.

    I hope this serves as a warning to anyone else who comes across this blog while researching La Compagnie – use them at your own risk!

  36. Yes they are good value but unreliable if you have to travel on specific dates or arrive at specific times. My Paris Newark flight last year made an unscheduled and uncomfortable (deplane and customs check) stop in London.

  37. So, just to let you know how it turned out in my case. See my comments from June 2nd for the whole story.

    It took some persistence, but La Compagnie issued a full reimbursement of approximately $5,000 USD cash, wired to the bank. This reimbursement was for 2 one way tickets on United from EWR to CDG.

    The United flight leaves about an hour later than La Compagnie from EWR. It would have been better, if La Compagnie had coordinated the re-booking, but they were not interested in doing so. The self re-booking required an outlay of $5,000 and then several hours of phone calls, documentation and communication, over a period of about 1 week, before the approval of reimbursement. This was stressful, since La Compagnie was not initially forthcoming on the reimbursement.

    The outbound flight to Paris was in United economy class, even though the original booking had been for La Compagnie business class. There was no compensation for the downgrade, nor meals and drinks forfeited since passengers could not use the lounge at EWR. La Compagnie ultimately did the right thing, but it was a process to get them to provide the compensation. I cited article 19 of the Montreal Convention and threatened to sue for damages.

  38. Recieved this response to a flight cancelled just over 2 weeks from departure. It looks like they have become more stingy with their vouchers!

    As far as I know, EU law doesn’t give passengers the right to anything following a cancellation advised 14 days or more in advance.

    Does anyone know which regulation they refer to with “right to care”??:

    “Allow us to restate our cancellation policy. When schedule changes occur more than 14 days before departure, passengers are given the choice between re-routing on an alternate flight or a full ticket refund.

    We automatically rebooked your flight for 08/05/2016.

    Whether you choose to travel on 08/07/2016, in compliance with the regulation, you are entitled for right to care. Therefore, we will participate to your accommodation fees for a fixed-price of £160 per person and per night upon receipt of your settled hotel invoice. As we value you as a customer, we are offering you, as an alternative, a £260 voucher good for any flight on La Compagnie within the next 12 months.

    Based on your choice and upon settled invoice, we will either credit you card used for your purchase with the amount, or send you a voucher by email.”

  39. Hello Ben I was reading your review and was hoping you may have a phone number to contact La Compagnie? I was booked on a flight this past June to Paris that was canceled and I have not been able to receive a refund for the flight.

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