La Compagnie is the latest airline attempting to fly a business-class only service between ORY in Paris and EWR in New Jersey.
L'Avion attempted this concept back in 2008, although it quickly added coach seats, then replacing them with a Premium Economy offering. The company was acquired by British Airways, which merged it into its own Open Skies.
The company offers 20 fully flat beds, angled Premium Economy seats and traditional coach ones (the upholstery is nice).
The lowest price you can fly is USD 1120 for Eco, 1299 for Premium and 2484 for Business.
No wonder, then, that La Compagnie's promise of a business-class flight from the real hub of Paris, CDG and Newark for a bit more than USD 800 looks appealing (believe it or not, it's the same Frantz Yvelin who launched L'Avion that is going at it once more).
Well, $800 is a special discount if you buy two seats, but even a single roundtrip remains at a bit less than USD 1500.
Living in London, I haven't had the opportunity to try La Compagnie's single 757-500, but Ben Schlappig did.
His review is quite epic. It looks like that it isn't a product on-par with what the industry consider "business class" today.
If you think of it as paying economy prices for a sub-par business class product, you’ll be thrilled.
Yeah. Amazing value, but don't put it in your head that you'll have a full luxury experience either.
I encourage you to read the entire review. It seems that besides the product, the company has to figure out some kinks (can you really book only 6 hours in advance?? That sounds like a logistical nightmare).
I've been offered tablets before (on some medium-haul Etihad flights for instance), but I find the following quite inventive design-wise:
I'm personally not sure if La Compagnie is truly viable. At those prices, they mustn't do a ton of profit per seat/flight. It's also obviously outside of any loyalty system—a perk most business travelers appreciate.
Besides OpenSkies, the other business products are either equipped with flat-beds (Delta, United) or are transitioning towards flat-beds (American, Air France). And any service that La Compagnie attempts to cut back on (flight attendants, food choice,…) is a risk between attempting to both turn a healthy profit and maintain an appeal to business travelers.
Most airlines that have attempted this model on any long haul routes have failed (Silverjet, Hong Kong Airlines, etc.). Even mighty Singapore Airlines stopped its famous Singapore-New York service. Only Lufthansa offer intermittent business service.
Still, I wish them success. Somebody has to crack the code.