Review of La Compagnie flight Paris Newark in Business

Airline La Compagnie
Flight B0 100
Class Business
Seat 19A
Aircraft Airbus A321neo
Flight time 08:30
Take-off 16 Sep 19, 10:30
Arrival at 16 Sep 19, 13:00
B0 17 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 2170
Published on 10th November 2019

introduction


Hello and welcome to the 3rd post in this series of flight reviews.

Like every summer, we headed to France for a few weeks to visit family and friends. This time would be a little different than previous years as we would be flying from the West Coast and with a 7-month-old.

We'd bought our tickets earlier in the year, when we still lived in DC, and well before we knew we'd be moving to San Diego. We'd flown la Compagnie before, and wanted to try the brand new A321neo, which was due to be delivered later that spring.   

After a lovely overnight flight on the way to France, it was time to head back to the States and check out the La Compagnie A321neo product on a westbound daytime flight. 

Stick around for a JFK TWA Hotel planespotting bonus at the end of this report!


routing


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check-in & lounge


The last time we'd flown with La Compagnie, they were still operating from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG)–however, operations were moved to Paris Orly in 2018, filling the gap left by OpenSkies (RIP, one of my favourite carriers). I personally find Orly to be more convenient than CDG, not only because it's a bit closer to the city centre, but also because it shaves an hour off the drive to or from my hometown in the Southwest of France whenever we make that drip directly.

 The morning of the flight we arrived at Orly about 2.5 hours before departure time to drop off the rental car. Rental car returns are located at the new Terminal 3, which is centrally located to access Terminals 1 & 2 (formerly Orly West Terminal) and Terminal 4 (Formerly Orly South Terminal).

Our flight was departing from Terminal 4–we decided to walk from the new Terminal 3 as taking the Orlyval train for 1 stop was more hassle than it was worth because baggage carts aren't allowed on the train. 


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It was a relatively short walk to Terminal 4 (a little over 5 minutes). A portion of the walk was outside under a covered walkway. 


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Arriving at Terminal 4


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Check-in was quick and easy with friendly and efficient staff at the ticket counter. 


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We'd originally booked seats in row 20, but the friendly agent moved up to row 19 and blocked the whole row for us, as it was open. Very much appreciated and it ended up being useful during the flight!


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As usual, going through security with a baby took forever. Every single bottle of ready-to-eat baby formula was inspected and tested. Luckily, security staff were very nice and helpful. 

Proudly representing Flight-Report  ✈ (A gift from my lovely team members)


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Once through security we headed straight to the lounge.


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The Icare lounge has been updated since the last time we were here several years ago. It also seemed bigger, though I don't know if it's been expanded. 


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The features an outdoor patio, which includes a smoking area, because of course, this is France. Although it doesn't have tarmac views, it's always nice to have an outdoor space inside an airport.


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There was a decent food selection including croissants and other breakfast pastries, as well as some hot options like omelets. Because security took so long, we didn't have much time to spend in the lounge so I didn't grab anything to eat.

It was a long walk to the gate, which was located at the end of the concourse. 


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This section of the terminal seems new, or at least recently renovated. 


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boarding


No announcements were made prior to the beginning of boarding, so we weren't quite sure where to stand for pre-boarding. The way the gate area was set up, the queues weren't clear and were closed off so we stood near where we thought the entrance would be. Gate agents were busy on the computers so we just hung around waiting, assuming we would be invited to pre-board as we had been in Newark. Another couple with a baby was equally confused and stood with us chatting as we waited for boarding to begin.

Again without making any announcements, gate agents began boarding passengers with mobility devices requiring extra time. We approached the podium, assuming we could pre-board at the same time as in Newark, but were told we had to wait and stand at a different location. That's fine, and I can understand the reasoning, but I did mention that someone could have said something to us earlier as we'd been standing there for several minutes. Though I didn't particularly appreciate being ignored, nor the inconsistency in pre-boarding procedures between EWR and ORY, when there are only 76 seats, boarding is relatively painless. Nevertheless, as I've said before, when you're travelling with a baby and hauling a ton of heavy stuff like strollers and car seats, those extra minutes afforded by pre-boarding to get situated prior to the general stampede are precious.

Despite the confusion, the gate agents were perfectly pleasant and soon we were on our way.


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Love that livery 😍


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We were warmly greeted by 2 cabin crew by the door and another at the rear of the aircraft.
 
The new La Compagnie A321neo cabin is beautiful. And with only 76 full-flat Collins Aerospace Diamond seats laid out in a 2X2 configuration, it feels spacious and open. 


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The light blue tones are chic and represent the La Compagnie brand well. 


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The light blue mood lighting adds an additional touch of softness and modernity.


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And here we are at our seats.


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Thanks to the check-in agents, we had all of row 19 to ourselves. The flight ended up being mostly full, except for the last 2 rows, so the extra blocked seats were definitely appreciated.


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A small compartment behind the head of the seat contains the noise cancelling headphones and a USB port. This is also where the amenity kits and a bottle of water were found.


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These seats were the only ones to be occupied in the last row. 


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Kids learn how to use tech so young these days 😂


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Legroom is very good, as one would expect for lie-flat Business class. Also, as I mentioned in the previous review, the foot space did not feel restricted in bed mode as there is quite a bit of space above and to the side due to the wider cabin of the A321 vs 757. You can see in the photo that there is a gap between the ottoman and the sidewall. 


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Pre-departure drinks were served during boarding. Options were water or champagne. 


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Boarding was quick and completed early and the cabin was readied for departure.


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the flight


We pushed back from the gate a few minutes early


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The new "zen" safety video played as we pushed back and began to taxi to the runway.


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Paying close attention to the safety briefing


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Orly can be fun for planespotting as I find many French leisure carriers to have pretty liveries.

Here's an A330 in hybrid FrenchBee/Air Caraïbes livery 


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Alright this livery is boring/non-existent, but it's a Fly2Sky lease flying for Transavia. 


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Air Caraïbes A350…a good looking aircraft


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Groupe Dubrueil airlines (Air Caraïbes & FrenchBee) have nice liveries IMO. Upon closer look of this aircraft, the Air Caraïbes titles are obviously a sticker over what was FrenchBee. 


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Orly is not only convenient because of its proximity to the city centre compared to CDG, but also for its much shorter taxi times.


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Dense Parisian suburbs.


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Flight time is a little under 8h in this westbound direction.


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Flying over the French countryside on a clear early autumn day.


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The amenity kit is quite nice with Caudalie products. The pouch actually has 2 compartments access with a zipper on opposite sites of the pouch.


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Did I mention we had a whole row to ourselves? 😊


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Unlike the La Compagnie 757s, which have just been retired, the A321neos are equipped with built-in seat-back in-flight-entertainment. 


The system is fast and reactive, though I found the selection of films to be smaller than average. Granted 50 movies still leaves a decent amount of choice for an 8 hour flight.


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La Compagnie don't provide printed menus; however, the menus are available on the IFE. In my experience, the menus tend to be much more accurate departing Paris than departing Newark.


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Above the USB port is the headphone jack. It's a magnetic jack, which I'd never seen before. 


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Power outlets are located between seats, as you'd expect in a premium cabin.


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Seat controls, the IFE remote, and tray table are located in the center armrest.


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We began our ocean crossing over the border between Normandie and Brittany 


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We were treated to distant views of Mont Saint-Michel


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The water colour looks quite nice–hard to believe it's the English Channel. 


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The port of Granville


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Looking back towards the bay with Mont Saint-Michel still visible.


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It got cloudier as we headed out over the North Atlantic, but it's always sunny above the clouds. 


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The apéritif service began about a half hour into the flight.

 We enjoyed another glass of Pier-Heidsieck champagne 


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This was when having the whole row blocked off became useful. The baby was getting sleepy and, as I'd mentioned in the previous review, there are no infant bassinets on board the new A321neos like there had been on the 757s. 

We were therefore able to put the baby down for a nap in my window seat and I moved across the aisle for the meal service.

Here is the seat in fully-flat bed mode. 


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The seat ended up making a decent baby cot as the armrests held him in and he we attached the lap-infant belt. We also places some pillows at the bottom, and voilà. 


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He was asleep in no time.


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View of the cabin just prior to the the meal service as one of the cabin crew finished the hot towel service. 


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I settled in across the aisle for the lunch service. 


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Played around with the IFE for a bit and found a movie to watch during lunch.


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The IFE screens are touchscreen but a bit far away. The remote especially comes in handy during meal services, when the tray table is deployed.

The remaining flight time is displayed on the IFE remote. 


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Lunch service


The pre-ordered baby meal came out with the starters. The quantity was just right for an 8-month-old and the tray contained good quality organic products from Hipp Biologique. 


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Now on to the adult food…
 
While the meal service on the Eastbound redeye flight to Paris was an express light supper service, the meal service on this daytime Westbound flight was properly course à la Française. 
 
Starter course:

Oeuf poché sur crème d'asperges et chips bacon
Poached Egg over cream of asparagus and bacon crisps


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A very creative, well-presented, and delicious appetiser course which I enjoyed with another glass of Piper-Heidsieck.

The dish felt elevated and perfect for Business class, unlike the more basic, and often disappointing, catering I'm used to seeing in U.S. carrier premium cabins. 


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An actual poached egg, with a runny yolk, on a plane…that deserves recognition. Bravo La Compagnie!


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Main course:

L'épaule d'agneau  confite à l'huile d'olive et aromates,
artichauts barigoule , condiment agrumes 

Shoulder of lamb confit with olive oil and herbs,
artichokes barigoule, citrus condiment 


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Once again, a delicious and elevated dish. I love lamb and it's always nice to see more interesting proteins than the usual chicken or beef found on U.S. carriers.

The lamb paired well with a nice Bordeaux. 


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As with any proper French meal, there is a cheese course prior to dessert.  


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After the meal, we enjoyed a Poire Williams digestif.


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As mentioned in the previous review, La Compagnie offer free Viasat WiFi, which I found to work very well on the outound EWR-ORY flight.

Unfortunately, on this flight, the WiFi stopped working about halfway through the flight. I didn't inquire about it as I wasn't really using it and watched a movie. Hopefully this was an anomaly–I do appreciate that La Compagnie provide free fast WiFi. 


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The rest of the flight was mostly uneventful passed watching movies—first of my choosing, then of the animated variety once my son woke up his nap. 

Before we knew it, it was time for the pre-arrival service. There were two options available–sweet or savoury. I went for the sweet option.

Assortiment de petits fours, coulis de fruits,
salade de mâche aux copeaux parmesan


Assortment of petit fours, fruit coulis,
salad of lamb's lettuce with parmesan flakes 


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Once again very good. A little on the light side, but that's just fine considering the generous portions at lunch. 


Arrival


  Soon enough we were making our descent into Newark. 


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Making a turn over the Jersey Turnpike. 


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The picturesque industrial wasteland part of the Garden State 🏭


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Downtown Newark


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We landed quite a bit early.


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At 12:34 to be exact, for a scheduled arrival time of 13:00


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Taxi was quick and we pulled in to the gate as 12:38, 22 minutes ahead of schedule. 

We parked next to a sexy United 787-10 


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We took our time to deplane as we had to wait for the stroller and carseat to be delivered in the jetbridge. Note to parents, strollers are only delivered to the jetway in the U.S.–in France, they go to the oversized baggage belt, as mentioned in the previous report. 


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Bye F-HBUZ, thanks for the lovely ride!


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"The Plane to Be"…indeed.


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Immigration was somewhat painful, but mostly because I've had global entry for several years and am used to breezing through arrivals into the U.S., but could not use Global Entry as we were travelling with a baby.

Yes, in order to access the Global Entry lanes, every person in your party must have Global Entry…including infants and small children. I'd learned this well in advance of this trip and had applied for Global Entry for my son 2 months prior to travel. However, due to delays, supposedly resulting from the partial government shutdown in early 2019, Global Entry applications are taking a very long time to process. 

When I had applied for myself several years ago, my application was conditionally approved within 24 hours and I was able to schedule an interview with a CPB officer the following week, where I was officially approved. 

It's now been almost 5 months since I've applied for my infant son, and paid the $100 application fee, but still haven't so much as received conditional approval–which I find to be absolutely ridiculous. This is a baby, we're talking about–he basically has no past to investigate–one would think that children and infant applications would be prioritised as they should be quicker to process. 

The Trusted Traveler Program website has displayed this banned all year.  


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Upon submitting an application status inquiry on the CBP site, average processing times for Global Entry were listed as being 3-5 months. Wow…meaning that some applications can take over 6 months…


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If you're a frequent international traveller to/from the U.S. Global Entry is wonderful, but be aware, new applications and renewals are taking 3-5 months, so plan ahead.

Thanks so much for reading and hope to see you again for the new review, 757-200 Delta One transcontinental Business class.

I also hope you enjoy the TWA Hotel Planespotting bonus below. There will be a full photo review of the TWA Hotel itself in the next report.  


TWA hotel planespotting


Bonus : Click here display
See more

Verdict

La Compagnie

9.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering9.0

Icare Lounge - Hall 4

7.0/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering6.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services7.5

Paris - ORY

8.0/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

Newark - EWR

6.5/10
Efficiency6.5
Access7.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

I'll say it again, I'm a big fan of La Compagnie. I already thought they were a good value when they operated a fleet of 757-200s with angled lie-flat seats--now, they're a fantastic value with the wonderful new product on the A321neo.

The cabin is beautiful and seats are spacious and comfortable. Meals were delicious and well-presented. The IFE was good and the free WiFi is great, though the IFE content could be improved a bit. Cabin crew were lovely--I'm still amazed at how they can offer such good and attentive service being only 3 cabin crew per aircraft. They did a fabulous job with a touch of class à la Française.

As an AvGeek, it enjoyed my first ride on the A321neo. It is a smooth, quiet, and comfortable ride.

Information on the route Paris (ORY) Newark (EWR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 15 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Paris (ORY) → Newark (EWR).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is La Compagnie with 7.5/10.

The average flight time is 8 hours and 31 minutes.

  More information

16 Comments

  • Comment 529726 by
    Harry_He SILVER 59 Comments

    Lovely report Kévin! Glad that your trip went smoothly. The business class bed looked very spacious with a baby sleeping on it. It’s very nice that you guys got the entire row to yourselves. It’s a shame that global entry had deteriorated from all the credit card companies offering free application...

    • Comment 529841 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5100 Comments

      Thanks Harry!

      It’s a shame that global entry had deteriorated from all the credit card companies offering free application...

      For sure. In addition to the gov't shutdown delays, and delays resulting from this administration's focus on the southern border, processing times are really taking a hit.

  • Comment 529748 by
    757Fan 580 Comments

    Looks like a great return trip, Kevin. Love your photos at the end at the TWA Hotel - would love to check this out sometime!

  • Comment 529753 by
    Travelxperiance 29 Comments

    Lovely FR!!! But seats look a little narrow in photos. How do you compare this with wide-body business class seats?

    • Comment 529845 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5100 Comments

      Thank you! I believe they look thin in photos because they are angled towards the windows, but actually they are wide and spacious. It really depends on the type of seat used on a widebody, since there are so many models, but these seats are wider than some, like DL 767 J or LX J, and comparable to others in width. As I've mentioned in these reports, the A321neo cabin is wider than 757s, where these seats are often seen, so the seats are definitely more spacious that on a 757 as I'll compare in the next review.

  • Comment 529830 by
    KL651 TEAM 4469 Comments

    Thanks for this FR gurrl.
    An excellent experience and value for money indeed, it really makes me wanna try La Compagnie.
    I don't necessary need a paper menu and prefer to see the savings reinvested in the catering itself. Lunch looked excellent, the pre arrival snack is refined but a bit small as you mentionned.
    We clearly see the Carolles beach on your pcitures from the Mont St Michel :-)
    Orly is so much more convenient than CDG and finally got the upgrades it deserved.

    • Comment 529850 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5100 Comments

      I don't necessary need a paper menu and prefer to see the savings reinvested in the catering itself.

      For sure, La Compagnie seems to have figured out where to cut costs and still provide a good premium experience.

      We clearly see the Carolles beach on your pcitures from the Mont St Michel :-)

      J'ai fait coucou à tes parents par le hublot 👋

      Orly is so much more convenient than CDG and finally got the upgrades it deserved.

      Yes, thank goodness. ORY South especially, was a dump. Great improvement

  • Comment 529843 by
    jish.b SILVER 258 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this report, was looking forward to the continuation of this series. Unfortunately, it won't be an airline that I'll be trying anytime soon because of how my travel usually is. From what I can see, they did you well, right from the ground staff to service in flight. I still find it hard to believe that a member of the A320 family has pretty much taken the reigns of the B757 aircraft (my longest narrow body flight was on a B757...). Amazing pictures from the TWA Hotel, a real treat! Thank you!

    • Comment 529851 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5100 Comments

      Thanks Jish! Yeah, La Compagnie isn't really convenient for many people--it's really a niche market. I agree, it is crazy how the 320 family has been able to take over so much of what the 757 does. And this is a regular 320neo, not an LR or XLR, which will even more closely match 757 capabilities. I also like that the airbus cabin is wider than the 737/757 cross-section, making for a more comfortable ride in all cabins. Though the A320 family will never quite be able to match everything that the 757 can do, Boeing basically just decided to hand over the market to Airbus since now there are rumours they won't be moving forward with the NMA programme.

  • Comment 530130 by
    socalnow GOLD 980 Comments

    Greetings Kevin and thank you for the thoughtful and interesting report on this unique airline. While I can't imagine ever having occasion to use this service I am still hopeful they will be successful. Having a J product for something approximate to a premium economy fare is a model I would like to see catch on in more markets.

    Proudly representing Flight-Report ✈ (A gift from my lovely team members)

    -Fantastic!

    Despite the confusion, the gate agents were perfectly pleasant and soon we were on our way.

    -Did you in fact pre-board?

    Thanks to the check-in agents, we had all of row 19 to ourselves. The flight ended up being mostly full, except for the last 2 rows, so the extra blocked seats were definitely appreciated.

    -Space is so very important when we're traveling with our little ones. What a thoughtful nd kind gesture from the airline. If another passenger, perhaps wanting a direct aisle seat, had moved themselves to the open seats do you think the flight attendants would intervene? Would you? Tricky situation, potentially?

    He was asleep in no time.

    -You are a very lucky parent. He's already a pro.

    An actual poached egg, with a runny yolk, on a plane…that deserves recognition. Bravo La Compagnie!

    -Bravo indeed. Reheating and preserving the perfect texture is commendable.

    As with any proper French meal, there is a cheese course prior to dessert.

    -What is the dessert? Cream filled yummy but not sure how to call it.

    The picturesque industrial wasteland part of the Garden State.

    -LOL, juxtaposition.

    The TTP program has fallen into disrepair. My wife's application took 6 months and my renewal too about 3 months only to say that I have to come in for an interview, for the renewal...

    Most of the planespotting was from our runway-view room. And what a fantastic view it was!

    -Wow, superb shots. The diversity at JFK is unmatched in the US. I was too frugal to stay at the TWA hotel on my last opportunity but next time I'm taking the plunge!

    Thanks again for a very enjoyable read. Happy flying.

    • Comment 530244 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5100 Comments

      Hey Socalnow, thanks for your comments!

      Having a J product for something approximate to a premium economy fare is a model I would like to see catch on in more markets.

      Yes! Especially here on the west coast...though that's not likely to happen anytime soon with the longer TATL stage lengths

      Did you in fact pre-board?

      Pre-board-ish...we, along with the other family we were hanging out with, were allowed to board several minutes after the passengers with wheelchairs went down.

      If another passenger, perhaps wanting a direct aisle seat, had moved themselves to the open seats do you think the flight attendants would intervene? Would you? Tricky situation, potentially?

      So funny you should ask, because that actually happened. Later in the flight, when we weren't using those extra seats, another passenger came to sit there because he was having trouble with his PTV and asked us if the seats were free. We told him they'd been blocked off for us, but that he was welcome to sit there as we weren't using them at the moment. He ended up sitting in the window and leaving that aisle seat open for us if we needed it so it all worked out. There were also 2 empty seats behind us that could also be used. Space was not lacking for us that day :)

      My wife's application took 6 months and my renewal too about 3 months only to say that I have to come in for an interview, for the renewal...

      6 months is nuts! but 3 months for a renewal is even worst in many ways. And now the LAX Global Entry office is closed until God-knows-when, so that's not going to make things any better. I hear they do interviews at LGB, not sure about SNA (I'm guessing yes since SNA has Intl flights??).

      I was too frugal to stay at the TWA hotel on my last opportunity but next time I'm taking the plunge!

      I tend to be pretty frugal with hotels since I prefer to spend on the flights (I know, that's backwards compared to most people), but had to splurge on the TWA Hotel. Actually it wasn't too bad. I originally got a standard room for $220/night, and upgraded at check-in for an additional $30---totally worth it and way cheaper than booking runway view outright, which was over $400 at the time of booking, if I remember correctly. It was a gamble hoping for a buy-up on arrival but it paid off this time. Either way, even if I hadn't gotten a runway view room, I would have hung out longer on the fantastic rooftop.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 530661 by
    loukas SILVER 315 Comments

    Hi Kevin! So nice to see the Baby already wearing a FR t-shirt! I see he enjoys flying from the very beginning. Everything about La Compagnie is so...calming: the livery, the cabin, this light blue headrest. Thanks for this report and congrats on fantastic aerials!

  • Comment 531082 by
    YGeorgeW GOLD 183 Comments

    Hi Kevin, thanks for sharing this La Compagnie flight.

    Love that livery 😍

    -Absolutely agree; these are gorgeous A321neos.

    The new La Compagnie A321neo cabin is beautiful. And with only 76 full-flat Collins Aerospace Diamond seats laid out in a 2X2 configuration, it feels spacious and open.

    -The light blue is a great touch, makes the cabin feel very relaxing.

    The amenity kit is quite nice with Caudalie products. The pouch actually has 2 compartments access with a zipper on opposite sites of the pouch.

    -I didn’t notice a picture of the contents, what were they?

    I love lamb and it's always nice to see more interesting proteins than the usual chicken or beef found on U.S. carriers.

    -How did it taste though? It looks a bit dry in the picture.

    Overall, this looks like a great value given La Compagnie’s frequent sales. It seems like they have comfortable seats and pretty decent catering. How was the speed of the meal service though?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 532157 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5100 Comments

      Hi YGeorgeW, thanks so much for your comments and sorry for the late reply!

      I didn’t notice a picture of the contents, what were they?

      I remember taking a pic, but I couldn't find it for some reason. Just your basic amenities: eye shades, socks, ear plugs, pen, shoe bag, with Caudalie skin care products.

      How did it taste though? It looks a bit dry in the picture.

      It was very tasty and super tender and juicy.

      How was the speed of the meal service though?

      It was a bit slow, to be honest, but I don't mind for Westbound daytime flights. Plus, being French, I find long meal services normal and American-style meal services to rushed. Meal service probably took 1.5 hours in all.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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