La Compagnie Join The Business Class Only Flight Party
There seems to be no end to airline operators venturing into business class only flights, exemplified by previous posts on this very blog.
The latest kid on the block is French airline, La Compagnie which is hoping what the likes of Maxjet, Silverjet, and Esos failed to do – successfully operate an all-business class airline on the transatlantic route.
The flights, which commenced on July 2014, are initially operating on a five-flights-per-week basis between Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport and New Jersey’s Newark airport. In the beginning, the company is operating only one plane – A Boeing 757 – which will depart from Charles De Gaulle airport at 5:50pm, arriving in Newark at 8:30pm before leaving for Paris again after a 75-minute service changeover on the ground.
Later this year in December, the company plans on adding another Boeing 757 to its aircraft fleet at which point it will operate seven flights a week on the route. The aircraft has 74 seats which can be fully reclined, and arranged in a 2x2 configuration. Tickets for the flight come in three different cost categories: beginning with the restricted option which is priced at $1800, the $4200 mid-tier option, and the fully-flexible option priced at $4600.
For passengers who choose to fly with La Compagnie, the perks are worth the price of the ticket. Not only are each of the 74 seats of the aircraft almost 10 inches wider than ordinary plane seats in economy class, passengers will also be provided with in-flight Wi-Fi, a refreshing kit courtesy of Caudalie, and a Samsung Galaxy Pro 12-inch tablet provided for the duration of the flight. The list of perks does not end here however, as the passengers will be given priority clearance at the airport security line, and will have the option to check-in up to two pieces of luggage free of cost.
However, the big question looming for La Compagnie revolves around its profitability prospects and whether it stands to have a chance in an industry with a fairly tight competition. Nevertheless, Peter Luethi, the airliner’s co-founder and deputy CEO, is optimistic and strongly defends La Compagnie’s vision by saying, “It is not the same model as has been tried before. It is not a déjà vu. It is not going to be the most luxurious business class, but it will be the best for the price."
As far as the competition in the current times is concerned, British Airways and newly-launched Odyssey Airlines already fly an all-business class flight on the London-New York route while emerging aviation giant Qatar Airways is set to launch a similar service on the Doha-London route. With a strong financial background, these airlines are expected to take the lion’s share of the luxury travel class. La Compagnie, on the other hand, has been privately funded by a group of mostly European investors who have raised about $40 million to fund the airline.
It remains to be seen how successful these ventures will be, but one thing is for sure, luxury travellers certainly won’t have limited options for business class only flights between Europe and New York.
Source: Bidness ETC, August, 2014
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