Another Airline Decides to Light Money on Fire With All-Business Class Service to Paris

The old joke is still true:

    Q: How do you become a millionaire quickly?
    A: Start out a billionaire and invest in an airline.

La Compangie will offer all business class flights between New York and Paris.

When they invited me out to their launch announcement (I couldn’t go), my first thought was “because that always works.”

There’s always an aviation executive who things “there’s a really big market, and if we just got 1% of it we’d be profitable…”

But getting that 1% is a challenge

  • With limited frequencies
  • Without corporate contracts
  • Without an existing customer base or brand recognition
  • Without a major frequent flyer program for support

Eos, Maxjet, and Silverjet didn’t make it. British Airways’ OpenSkies has had the support of a major airline but didn’t stick with a true all business class format. And OpenSkies already flies.. New York-Paris. And they do it to Paris-Orly so at least there’s a reason why some people would choose them, rather than Charles de Gaulle where La Compagnie will fly.

What’s more, these Newark-Paris flights are going to be operated with angled seats. Pricing has not been announced.

If I was going to just provide renderings of a seat, I would make it look more comfortable. And I would add my own branding (that writing in the back of the cabin just says ’boutique airline’).

Moreover, they’ve announced that business class will just have 3 flight attendants for 74 passengers. I find that one crew for a small domestic first cabin can be insufficient…!

It seems like there are so many fantastic things they could do with the investment other than this. Like sending kids to college, or hookers and blow.

Customers won’t just default to an airline like this, flying them is a choice and there needs to be a reason to choose it. For New York – Paris, the competition will offer full flat seats (United and Delta are already there and Air France plans to get there). So unless these are business class seats at the price of coach…

The airline has one Boeing 757 with two-by-two seating. United can tell you how great 757s are for transatlantic Westbound flights in Winter. They’ve been known to operate ‘focus cities’ in Goose Bay and Gander for refueling when headwinds get significant.

La Compagnie’s Paris flight will depart at 5:50pm, arrive Newark at 8:30pm and do a 75 minute turn back to Paris, presumably spending about 6 hours back on the ground in Paris.

They expect to begin taking bookings in July, and have a second 757 delivered in December.

Get ready for some big discounting on the New York-Paris route… At least for as long as La Compagnie service lasts.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. hookers & blow ftw. holy hell…I would pay not to fly those seats. to try to launch an airline and tout that as a premium experience…………I’m sad for them.

  2. Did you ignore all of the comments on Luckys post about this today? Pricing is available and at only 1000 euros round trip it is extremely competitive. Considering delta ruining their program, I for one would pay almost comparable to delta economy to try this bird out

  3. I LoL’d at “hookers and blow.” If only they thought to combine that with their airline business.

  4. Many companies tried building a profitable search engine and failed.. until Google came.

  5. The Airline Hunger Games: Money Catching Fire.
    Executive Producer: Richard Branson
    Starring: Seth as Passenger 57
    Co-starring: Lucky as Frank Abagnale Jr.
    And: Emily as Barbara Billingsley
    With: Gary as Howard Jarvis

    Any resemblance to actual characters is purely coincidental!

  6. Even if they’re competitive now, they’ll be gone in under a year. I’ll spend more with an airline that’ll be around in a year and build loyalty. Also, hookers and blow.

  7. I’m not so sure. If the pricing is really going to be around 1,000 Euros then this product is potentially very attractive for people who are flying coach–especially those who hate it, but not enough to shell out 4 or 5 thousand for business class. The angled seat may not be ideal, but it’s a whole lot better than a coach seat. The same goes for the number of flight attendants. If all you really care about is being reasonably comfortable and getting some shut-eye, this may be just fine.

    Also, La Compagnie’s timing may be very good since loyalty programs seem to be getting stingier and stingier. I am a free agent these days–no incentive to be loyal to any one airline anymore .

    Flying out of Newark though, that’s a drawback.

  8. Gotta love bloggers thinking they know better than a multi-billion dollar company on how to run a business

  9. I think the hookers and blow logo could be a great graphic on the side of the plane and carry on in all their advertising…….c’mon 1G for hookers and blow and throw in a free trip to Paris………then they could do a West Coast mellow version from the Haight in San Francisco to the North Island of Hawaii…….it’s investor money…..who cares………..

  10. I fly Open Skies semi-regularly because: 1) OneWorld (I’m AA EXP), and 2) Orly (I hate CDG).

    Why on earth would anyone fly to CDG on a crap airlines with no loyalty program on angled seats with a company that’s going to struggle to attract and retain pilots (we have a shortage, you know)? I know the occasional tourist might, but they have no connecting traffic; it’s all O&D, so it’s really only 1) tourists from NYC/Northern Jersey and 2) really sophisticated schedulers and people that use travel agents that are going to book multi-airline itineraries to get to and from EWR to fly an airline with no loyalty program and angled seats. How many of those people are there?

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