You won’t feel the need to scowl at first or business class passengers from your cramped spot in seat 37C when you fly with La Compagnie, a boutique French airline with 100 percent business class seats and services.
Offering routes from New York City to Paris and London with a few flight departures every week, the young airline transformed its Boeing 757 fleet to include 74 spacious lie-flat seats in a two-by-two arrangement, all decked in a soothing white, gray, and sky blue color palette.
And there’s no skimping on amenities: Caudalie travel kit pouches, in-seat plug outlets, anti-allergenic pillows and blankets, and Samsung Galaxy tablets pre-loaded with films, music channels, and television programs are all included with the airfare.
The upscale ante is upped by the flight menu devised by Christophe Langree, award-winning former chef at the Hôtel de Matignon in Paris (residence of the French prime minister), providing passengers with a taste of gourmet French-inspired fare. The menu is tailored toward each specific route, like seared tuna and chile lime butter on the London to New York run, and beef casserole with nuggets of foie gras on Paris departures. Their “Wine Cellar” selection offer four different sips ranging from Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut to a Sauternes, and all additional soft and alcoholic beverages are complimentary.
Perhaps the most alluring feature of La Compagnie is its price range: One round-trip ticket can set you back $1,800, just a few hundred dollars more than many economy seats in large airlines, and possibly less during its many sales and promotions.
So how does La Compagnie measure up? For starters, it’s perhaps one of the best bargains in the airline business; a true luxurious experience without the exorbitant cost. Premium airport lounge access is included, and the plane’s massaging lie-flat seats, fabulous service, and seamless boarding and disembarkation process are highly commendable. There are, however, a few glitches: La Compagnie has a track record for major delays, and the food, while good, could have been better on the New York to London leg, especially with a distinguished chef involved. Also, the Samsung Galaxy tablet’s user experience was often clunky, with a few passengers (such as myself) having to summon the flight attendants to get the tablet to work properly. These are all minor complaints relative to the big picture: If you’re willing to splurge a bit more for comfort and service beyond economy to London and Paris, La Compagnie is a sound choice for flying in highly affordable luxury.