When all business class airline La Compagnie announced its launch two years ago I was skeptical to say the least. The founders had tried their hand at this before, and got bailed out by a sale to British Airways (their first attempt is now OpenSkies).
Occasionally some entrepreneur looks at a big market like New York – London or New York – Paris and says ‘if we could just get 1% of the market we could make money.’
- But those markets are dominated by large sales contracts for those premium cabin seats.
- Airlines attract a disproportionate amount of business by offering choice in flight times through multiple frequencies daily.
- They have brand recognition and frequent flyer programs that members belong to and have a strong incentive to stick with. It’s hard to break in.
La Compagnie flies from Newark to Paris Charles de Gaulle and to London Luton. They offer all business class service, but it’s with old angled seats. Their model is to offer business class for not much more than coach. And at the very least I often tell folks in New York to save their miles, especially when they have points in programs that add fuel surcharges to awards — they may be able to buy a ticket for a little more than they’d spend in fuel surcharges.
If the founders of the airline want to light money on fire, we might as well at least use it to keep us warm.
Right now they’re advertising a fall sale for $1400 roundtrip between the US and Paris.
It’s hardly available every day, though on days it isn’t it may be a couple hundred more each direction.
And in fact the sale prices out from $1395 roundtrip all-in:
I haven’t flown La Compagnie. I think my favorite thing about the airline is the number of times British Airways has run sales to match their pricing since the small upstart launched, and of course when BA does that you can apply the $400 AARP discount.