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Although economic confidence and business travel are back on the rise, individuals and companies are now smarter about booking, more interested in loyalty rewards, and booking independently — none of which bodes well for this luxury experience, popular in the past.
A new business class airline wants to reinvent the way business travelers fly from New York City to Paris.
Regular prices will start around $1,600 and go upwards of $4,600 for premium service. The airline is set to start selling tickets later this month once it receives approval from the U.S. DOT and FAA.
A redesigned Boeing 757-200 will be outfitted with 74 lie-flat seats creating a 2×2 configuration throughout a single aisle cabin. A second Boeing jet is expected to join the fleet in December 2014.
The available in-flight amenities are so far what sets the experience apart from a commercial airline’s first class service.
Passengers receive free in-flight wi-fi, in-flight amenity kits, meals created by French Michelin-starred chef Christophe Langree, and Samsung tablets loaded with in-flight entertainment.
Each flight will be crewed by two pilots and three flight attendants fluent in international languages and approved by the French Civil Aviation Authority. Crew uniforms have been designed by French fashion brand Vicomte A.
The airline was created by two-time aviation entrepreneur Frantz Yvelin and former Jet Airways COO Peter Luethi.
This is actually Yvelin’s second NYC to Paris business-class only carrier. He founded L’Avion in 2006 and later sold the operation to British Airways.
When asked why the duo would introduce a similar carrier in the same space, Luethi responded, “La Compagnie has nothing to do with Frantz, it has to do with the demand in the marketplace and the needs of business travelers today.”
“Those who fly business class look for service at a reasonable, affordable price, especially after a long period of consolidation in the aviation industry and the skyrocketing airfares that are offered.”
While L’Avion sold, other similar attempts at business class-only service between New York and Europe have flopped.
Silverjet, which operated between NYC and the UK shut down after two years, and Eos Airlines, which also operated flights between NYC and London, shut down after four years. Both airlines attributed the recession with their fall.
La Compagnie will also face competition from the outfit that absorbed L’Avion. British Airways’ OpenSkies runs specialized flights between New York and Paris with fares starting at $1,120.
La Compagnie is privately funded with more than €30 million raised by 41 investors from France and surrounding European countries.