Just Back From

We Tried It: Flying All-Business Airline La Compagnie to Paris

The Overview: Routes & Booking

With airports more crowded than ever this summer and travel to Europe forecasted to be up as much as 55 percent, according to Allianz Partners travel insurance estimates, flying in a premium cabin—and enjoying all the in-airport perks that come with it—is all the more appealing now. We recently tried all-business boutique French airline La Compagnie’s direct service to Paris Orly from Newark on the Airbus A321neo, which carries 76 passengers in a roomy cabin with lie-flat beds. Given its decidedly boutique vibe, we were surprised to learn that the airline, part of DreamJet SAS, also flies all-business to Milan and Nice at rates that are anywhere from 30 to 50 percent below competing airlines. All tickets are changeable without a fee.

La Compagnie is also committed to economic and environmental responsibility: the Airbus A321neo offers greater fuel efficiency than most planes of similar size, emitting a carbon footprint that is 23 percent lower than competitors flying similar routes to Paris, 20 percent lower to Nice and 34 percent lower to Milan, according to AtmosFair and Google Flight; the company is the first airline in France to be able to make that claim. Added bonus: Passengers are allowed one golf bag, bicycle, surfboard or pair of skis at no extra charge.

Here, a look at the experience.

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to learn more about planning your next travels. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations, reservations and guides that are right for you.

Check-in

Checking in can be done through the airline’s online portal, but in the name of research, we went to the La Compagnie desk up the escalator on Level 3 at Newark Airport to have a boarding pass printed by airline personnel. There was no line on a Monday night at rush hour (and we waited only a few minutes at Orly on the morning return flight). In both airports, we weren’t checking a bag (pro tip: carry-on only!) and were promptly directed to a priority express line at security. Even with the brief check to ensure all liquid toiletries were in plastic bags at Orly on the return flight, we made it through in less than 15 minutes. (Admittedly, the Plaza Lounge located after security between gates B51 to 57 at Newark nor the Icare Lounge at Orly are a far cry from Hong Kong or Singapore lounges, but they beat sitting elsewhere and we did have breakfast and a cappuccino). Boarding was casual and stress-free, with passengers simply lining up and settling in, all completed within 20 minutes. Note: We also tried the 1-800-number just to see what customer service was like and found the staff on the other end to be helpful, polite and courteous.

On-Board Experience

Interior cabins were spacious, with 76 seats set 2X2 throughout. Each seat has its own extra-large 15.6-inch screen display, and passengers have an appealing selection of movies, TV shows, news, music, digital-only magazines and newspapers, and a dedicated meditation channel curated by Petit Bambou, all heard through (funnily enough) slightly noisy noise-canceling headsets and free, unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi while on board.

As passengers rearranged their baby blue quilts and sorted through their Caudalie amenity kits, attentive all-female team of flight attendants poured champagne and Mimosas in some of the chicest uniforms out there: navy shorts suits with baby blue accents on their lapels and back pockets, crisp white oxfords and matching scarves tied at the neck.

When it comes to airline safety videos we can safely say that La Compagnie rivals Virgin: this one involves a couple both dressed in white Lycra doing yoga positions to calming music while demonstrating the safety features and procedures—designed to lower your heart rate and anxiety level prior to flying.

Food

Airline food is typically something we don’t really relish, but we were curious if there would be a French twist to the menu. We wished we’d known that La Compagnie’s special request meal options are extensive and passenger health seems to be a priority: Gluten-free? Check. Diabetic? Check. Muslim, Kosher, Asian vegetarian, Hindu, vegetarian, lacto vegetarian, low lactose, low salt, child and baby? There are special requests for all those, too. Meals were more appealing than expected—en route to Paris, a supper of tomato soup with parmesan croutons and a chicken thigh confit with green beans and new potatoes served like a salad nicoise did not disappoint. It was served with a mini cheese course—no mistaking that this is definitely a French airline—and a tart. Breakfast options included creamy scrambled eggs with portobello mushrooms or a banana nutella crepe. We were fans of the Maison Kayser pastries and breads and the chic narrow tumbler glasses and porcelain dishes and actual silverware (reducing plastic use), along with the use of local and seasonal produce. Wines served on board are organic and curated by two respected French wine critics Michel Bettane and Thierry Dessauve.

The Takeaway

Clocking in at around 7.5 hours, our flight arrived in both instances on time or ahead of schedule and we were directed to a shorter line through customs upon arrival. All in all, stress-free and easy. Compared to a recent fully packed flight from London with limited space to stow bags and a long boarding process, this was a far more pleasant experience. We felt well attended and ready to hit the ground running upon arrival.

The Cost

From $2400, for all flights from Newark to Paris, Milan and Nice.

Who It's Right For

There were singles, couples and families with children on board (and service pets), and all will find it appealing. If, like us, you fly regularly with a limited number of airlines and you only fly your regular carrier to Europe because of the miles, you should know that La Compagnie offers its own loyalty program. Given the ease of boarding and the service, we would definitely recommend it.

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to learn more about planning your next travels. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations, reservations and guides that are right for you.

Published onJuly 13, 2023

More Inspiration

Plan Your Trip With Us

We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities.

Get In Touch

Welcome back,
log in to Indagare

Not a member?

Forgot Password

Enter your email and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Type the first 3 letters to begin