La Compagnie: Lower Cost Business Class Between Paris and New York

A blue and white plane sitting on top of a runway

The new business-class-only airline between Paris and New York officially unveiled its name this Tuesday in New York. It will be called. . . “La Compagnie.”

Co-founder of the airline Peter Luethi explains that the name is crucial, “The two PR firms that worked with us on this project both suggested this name.” Dreamjet, the first name that was publicly announced last month, remains the name of the mother company. 

The idea of offering entirely business class flights is not new–several airlines like this were started in the early 2000s. All have disappeared however, or have left behind the idea of being “exclusively business class” like Open Skies, which flies between Orly and JFK. “But since then, the focus of the industry has resulted in a drop in capacities and therefore, a rise in prices. It’s the perfect time to launch this exclusively “business class” service for a lower price,” explains Peter Luethi.

La Compagnie promises prices 35 to 50% cheaper than the competition, with round trip tickets ranging between $1,800 and $4,600. During the summer, a special offer for the company’s launch will make it possible to buy two round trip tickets for 1,776 euros up until September 5th. At the moment, this offer only applies to tickets bought in France, where sales have been open (on the website since Monday.

The tickets can not be sold in the United States until the finalization of federal approval, “either at the end of June or the beginning of July,” but Chief Operating Officer of La Compagnie Jean-Charles Périno promises that the special offer made on this side of the Atlantic will be “just as attractive.” 

At the beginning, flights will take place 5 days a week (leaving Paris at 5:50 pm and arriving in Newark at 8:30 pm, returning at 9:45 and landing at Roissy at 11:15), before ramping it up to 6 days a week in September and 7 days a week later in the fall. The directors plan to add a second plane in December, “either on the same line to double the capacity or a different destination, based on the results from the first month.”

Inside the cabin, Peter Luethi promises “a business class level comfort that is not the most luxurious in the market, but that is the best relationship between quality and price.” The 74 seats recline at a 180° angle (but don’t go completely horizontal). Meals are served on plates by 3 stewards or stewardesses. Entertainment is assured with a Samsung Galaxy tablet and, in the fall, wifi. 

La Compagnie raised 30 million dollars from mostly French and European investors like Charles Beigbeder, co-Chairman of the Supervisory Board, and Michel Cicurel, former boss of La Compagnie’s financier Edmond de Rothschild, and the CEO Frantz Yvelin, who was originially involved with the company Avion launched in 2007 and since bought by Open Skies (owned by British Airways). A group of experts who firmly believe in “low-cost business.”

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