- La Compagnie is a French all-business class airline that just resumed flying between the US and France.
- New Airbus A321neo aircraft serve Paris and Nice in France from Newark and will soon fly to Israel and Italy.
- Only 76 seats are found on its aircraft and all have fully lie-flat capabilities, making the aircraft more like a private jet than a crowded airliner.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
France is open once again to US tourists, and also taking customers across the Atlantic once more is La Compagnie. The French boutique airline specializes in premium, yet discounted, transatlantic travel with an all-business class offering. Operating the flights is La Compagnie's new flagship aircraft, the Airbus A321neo, boasting greater comfort and efficiency than the Boeing 757s it replaced. At present, the airline can be found flying between Newark and the French cities of Paris and Nice. But new routes to Milan Italy, and Tel Aviv, Israel are scheduled for later this year, depending on how international travel develops given the Delta variant. I went onboard one of La Compagnie's swanky aircraft after a flight from Paris. Take a look inside the airline's Airbus A321neo. On the outside, La Compagnie's aircraft are unmistakable thanks to an iconic blue and black livery. Even the cockpit windows feature Airbus' signature black mask, affectionately referred to as "eyeliner." Powering the aircraft are two CFM International LEAP-1A engines, that are quieter and more fuel-efficient than previous generation engines. When combined with aerodynamically-friendly wingtips, known as "sharklets" on Airbus planes, fuel burn is reduced by 20% per seat compared to older generation aircraft. In a normal configuration, the Airbus A321neo can fly 4,000 nautical miles. But La Compagnie's configuration is anything but normal. A total of 76 business class seats comprise the single cabin, spanning a mere 20 rows. There are no economy seats onboard La Compagnie, nor middle seats, for that matter. Each row offers paired seats, with an aisle and a window seat. They're ideal for couples traveling together but there is a partition in case the seat neighbor is a stranger. The window seat offers the greatest amount of privacy since it's away from the aisle. But the tradeoff is a lack of direct aisle access for window seats. The choice is between having a good view and having unobstructed access to the aisle and lavatories. Each seat has a seat-back entertainment system with high-definition displays. The screens are immovable but quite large and also touch-screen. A remote is available, however, so flyers don't have to keep reaching over. A range of complimentary content is offered, in addition to complimentary in-flight WiFi. Options include movies... Music... Kids selections... And a map section. Menus for the meal service are also listed on the screens. La Compagnie offers French cuisine on its flights, unsurprisingly. Three flight attendants service the cabin during flights for a ratio of one flight attendant for around every 25 passengers. Tray tables extend from the side of the seat and can be half-extended to hold drinks or light items. And then they can be fully extended for meal times or when using a laptop, for example. Coat hangars can also be found on the seat-backs. Seats are fully lie-flat and controlled by a panel next to the seat. Each seat comes with a pillow and comforter for when it's time to sleep. The lie-flat capability is a step up from when La Compagnie flew Boeing 757 aircraft that only had angle-flat capabilities. Each pillow also has a saying in French and English. Mood lighting helps to relax passengers, especially when it's time to rest. And when it's time to wake up, colors change to make the body more alert. One downside to the seats is that headrests are not adjustable, and minor cracks do show in the leather. In terms of seat amenities, a pair of noise-canceling headphones can be found at each seat. These are common in transatlantic business class cabins and make the already quiet A321neo experience even more tranquil. For those travelers working or reading during the flight, a personal reading lamp is available so the cabin can be kept dark during night flights. In-seat power is also available. And a business class amenity kit also comes standard for all passengers. Inside are the essentials such as an eye mask, socks, and lotions. Customers with high heels or other shoes can also store them in a bag. French champagne is served onboard the airline with at least three selections from which to choose. Passengers are handed a glass after stepping onboard. The lavatories were the only non-glitzy part of the aircraft and were surprisingly basic, aside from a few extra lotions. The exit rows feature some of the best seats on the aircraft as they offer just slightly more legroom than the rest. After walking through the plane, there really weren't any bad seats, aside from some with misaligned windows. In row 15, for example, the windows don't exactly line up. The last row is also to be avoided as they double as crew rest seats and have a metal bar above them that holds a curtain. La Compagnie is now, however, the only airline offering all-business class flights between the US and Europe, and has been since British Airways retired its Airbus A318 aircraft flying between New York and London, UK.
Read the original article on Business Insider