I paired lunch with a screening of new-ish indie film, Past Lives, then nodded off during An American in Paris with Gene Kelly. It’s worth noting: the onboard entertainment is the stuff of movie-geek dreams. Business travellers will also be relieved that the WiFi functions from the moment you walk on the plane.
Memorable Onboard Events
In general, air travel tends to be forgettable. There was that one time, on a flight from Beijing to Thailand, when a twenty-something guy dropped a note between my friend and me en route to the bathroom. “Hello sleeping beauties,” it said. “Would either of you care to be semi-naughty on a plane?” He wanted to join the mile-high club and was travelling with his mom. My friend and I still laugh about Owen from Oregon. But typically, flights are a means to an end, and you forget the details by the time you have your suitcase off the baggage carousel.
La Compagnie goes the extra mile to curate onboard happenings that travellers carry with them, from rare champagne tastings to book signings with Paris-based authors like memoirist Anna Kloots and lifestyle tastemaker Ajiri Aki. Said Aki, author of Joie: A Parisian’s Guide to Celebrating the Good Life, “I was so nervous and wondering if people wouldn’t want to be bothered during their flight. I was surprised by how excited the flight crew and travellers were to have the option to come and chat with an author.” Even the pilot asked for a couple of signed copies. Everyone on board seems invested in cultivating l’art de vivre.
The nuts and bolts of flying La Compagnie
Turning to the practical stuff, La Compagnie’s Airbus A321neo planes have 76 seats. Because of the smaller plane size, boarding is relatively quick. While waiting for my flight from Orly, I dined on scrambled eggs and fresh-pressed OJ in the Extime lounge until 25 minutes before the scheduled take-off. Onboard, seats are arranged two on each side, each with universal electrical outlets, fluffy pillows, quilted blankets, and noise-cancelling headphones. Travellers all receive a powder-blue toiletry bag with eye masks and hand and face creams by French skincare brand Caudalie. The pod privacy and ability to recline fully flat made me feel like an elite traveller – the only drawback is that folks at the window are inevitably hurdling over their neighbours to get to the bathroom.
The smaller plane size also means a slightly longer flight: 8 hours and 50 minutes on the westbound trajectory. With the time spent taxiing before take-off, we landed in Newark a full hour late. But in all honesty, I wasn’t rushing off the plane anyway, nor were any of my fellow passengers. The late arrival was compensated for on the return flight when La Compagnie’s premium access allowed us to leapfrog a room full of travellers waiting for passport control at Orly. It was so fast I almost felt guilty.
At a more reasonable price point than the average business class ticket, it’s a worthwhile splurge for the modern Francophile traveller looking for extra comfort. La Compagnie delivers an enjoyable mile-high experience – no club membership required.
La Compagnie roundtrip flights between New York and Paris start at $2,400, depending on the season. La Compagnie also offers roundtrip flights to Nice (during warmer months) and Milan.