A Review of La Compagnie's Business Class on the Airbus A321neo

A shot of the inside of the La Compagine's new plane

Taylor McIntyre / TripSavvy

Operating since 2013, La Compagnie bills itself as a "boutique" airline, offering only business-class flights on planes equipped with fully lie-flat or angled lie-flat seats. The company services just two routes, one flying between New York City and Paris as well as a seasonal route between New York and Nice. While most of La Compagnie’s flights are on aging Boeing 757s, in June 2019 the airline debuted a brand-new Airbus A321neo which was designed exclusively for La Compagnie. The new plane features fully lie-flat seat beds, which differs from the older planes that have angled lie-flat seats. This provides passengers with even more room and comfort for those traveling on their New York-Paris route. The company’s second A321neo will enter the fleet in September 2019.

Ground Experience

While La Compagnie prides itself on offering comfort and assistance, my trip did have a bumpy start. Two days before my scheduled departure, I was alerted that my flight had been canceled and I was rescheduled for either the day before or the day after. 

Despite the cancelation, the rest of the flight experience was quite enjoyable. La Compagnie flies out of Newark and into Paris’ smaller airport, Orly, which makes their ticket desks easy to find. The lines were short both ways and the ticketing agents at the desk were friendly, helpful, and quick to remind me how to get to the lounge. 

The lounge in Newark is a third-party lounge that was very busy and cramped when I visited. It also has no windows, which makes it feel even smaller. Even though the lounge was crowded, La Compagnie passengers have access to a special seating section which offers cheese, bread, wine, and champagne. There's a small area with hot food as well. Note that the Newark lounge is located before security, which can make it hard to relax knowing you still have to make it through security. However, a La Compagnie ticket will you get access to the business-class security line that is usually less crowded.

The Paris-Orly lounge was much nicer. Hidden behind a windowless door, the lounge is a large wraparound room with lots of natural light; with a small courtyard in the middle. The buffet was stocked with typical Parisian breakfast fare as well as fun extras, like a machine that, with a push of a button, pops out fresh pancakes. And of course, even though it was an early flight, there was wine at the ready.

A shot of the full seat with the pillow and bedding with view of the headphones and amenity kit
Taylor McIntyre / TripSavvy

Cabin and Seat

The plane itself has a 2-2 layout with 76 lie-flat seats. The beds lie flat to 75.5 inches with a 62-inch pitch and each seat has a 15.6-inch mounted screen. Passengers sit beside each other, which can make it tricky for the person with the window seat to get up if the person with the aisle seat is sleeping. The lavatory was kept impeccably clean. 

The seat had comfortable cushions with an adjustable headboard. In front of the seat below the screen was a large cubby and a shelf. There was also a shelf behind the headrest where the headphones and amenity kit were stored. There was even a small pocket beside the seat that perfectly fit a 13 inch laptop. A USB port was located by the headphone jack as well as a full outlet that supports US and European plugs on the lower console in between passengers. 

The seat’s screen came with a retractable remote control that had a finger pad for when you’re lying down and don’t want to reach to touch the screen. Although, when sitting up the screen was quite responsive and sensitive and didn’t require a hard press. The headphones were fully ear-covering and noise-canceling. However, they were a bit tricky to figure out how to connect. As I struggled with it for the first few minutes and then had to help the passenger beside me connect theirs on both legs of the flight. (The trick is to match the triangle the magnets are on to the triangle of the outlet.)

The entertainment was a mix of 51 French and English films with a couple of choices for children mixed in. There were also 103 music options from various different genres to listen to. You could track your flight, see the menu, as well as call the flight attendant all through the screen. Wi-Fi was complimentary and worked at a decent speed: emails sent, and regular websites loaded quickly. Even YouTube videos would play, albeit a little slower. However, I could never get the Wi-Fi to connect to my phone and I noticed other passengers asking the flight attendants with assistance to get theirs to connect as well.

Entertainment and In-Flight Amenities

At each seat was a La Compagnie-branded amenity kit, as well as a bottle of water, a quilted blanket, and a fluffy pillow. Inside the kit, there were Caudalie skincare products including eye cream and moisturizer. Other items in the amenity kit included toothbrush and toothpaste, a sleep mask, ear plugs, a bag for your shoes, socks, and a small mirror and a pen. There was no turndown service or mattress pad. However, the seat itself includes an over-mattress which made for a comfortable bed.

Contents inside the amenity kit
Taylor McIntyre / TripSavvy

Food & Beverage

Flights attendants came around quickly after boarding with a pre-departure beverage of Piper-Heidsieck champagne or orange juice.

The meal service operates differently depending on which route you're on. On the overnight flight to Paris, the entire service took place in one swoop to give passengers more time to rest. On my flight, the meal consisted of a sweet potato and coconut soup, a choice of seared tuna over quinoa or grilled artichokes and burrata, with a cheese plate and individual apple pie for dessert. The food wasn’t just good for airplane food — it was definitely tasty, especially the desserts. 

Breakfast before landing was a choice of a chorizo and avocado omelet or Nutella French toast. Both options came with a croissant and fresh fruit. 

On the daytime flight back to New York, each course was served separately. A snack of trail mix was served first, followed by a dish of octopus, tomato, and potato in a creamy sauce, then followed by the main course — a choice of cod and mussels with potatoes in a curry sauce or roasted duck with pumpkin. Dessert consisted of a cheese plate and a tart.

Finally, before landing another snack was served. I chose the "sweet" option and was given three different tarts and a small salad. Food was also available in the rear galley between meals. The selection included trail mix, chips, and seconds of the octopus dish.

plate of tarts with a salad and a cup of coffee
Taylor McIntyre / TripSavvy

Service

Service overall was excellent, with hot towels before each meal and quick responses to the attendant call light. Flight attendants even offered seconds or thirds of dishes. On the way to Paris, the Wi-Fi wasn’t ready but to apologize for the inconvenience, they offered each passenger a Netflix gift card. The crew was polite and extremely helpful. After requesting to board early to shoot photos, the crew helped me carry my bags on board, and even offered to switch up the color of the overhead lights to give different moods for the photos.

Overall Impressions

I’ve taken many long-haul flights and this was by far the most enjoyable, in large part due to the new aircraft. I left the flight feeling relaxed and recharged and I enjoyed the meals so much that I really looked forward to every new dish they brought out. The amenity kit was well-stocked and useful.

Perhaps the only con — or a pro for some — is that the company only flies out of Newark. But overall, the airline is efficient and the new plane is extremely comfortable. Passengers on the older 757s are in for a less-luxe experience, given the age of the plane and the lack of the fully lie-flat seats, but the service, the quick security line, the efficient boarding, the lounge access (on the Paris side), and the overall comfort makes this an enjoyable yet luxurious way to get to Paris, especially for the price compared to comparable business class products. Plus, when you’re going to Paris, don’t you want a bit of luxury? 

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