It was the most civilized flight I’ve ever experienced. From the moment the flight attendants in tailored shorts and crisp white shirts offered me a cocktail—pink champagne fizzing around a floating candy gel—to the moment I left and stuffed my light blue Caudalie amenity bag into my purse, I was overcome by the sound of silence. There were no children, which helped lower the decibel level, but it was more than that. All of the passengers aboard my La Compagnie flight seemed to be experienced travelers, efficient in stowing luggage and intent on sleeping.
Those who stayed awake were rewarded with excellent food (yes, I just put the words fine dining and airplane together). Michelin-starred chef Christophe Langrée is responsible for options such as chicken mousse balls drizzled with pesto and chocolate over blinis, ravioli accompanied by bright red and yellow beets and a cornucopia of bite-size desserts, macaroons, chocolate ganache, and lemon ricotta.
La Compagnie (translation: “Airline of the French”) is a new(er) all-business-class airline flying from Newark to Charles De Gaulle for incredible prices. My last check of the website showed roundtrip tickets for $1,800.
La Compagnie’s Boeing 757-200 planes have 74 reclining seats in a 2×2 configuration. Pre-departure lounges, Art & Lounge in Newark and Icare in Paris, both offer free drinks and meals.
Like any start-up there are some wrinkles: Movies are delivered via individual Samsung Galaxy tablets and on my flight to Paris, at least six of the devices did not work. After trying to get four of them to cooperate, my flight attendant said that she might be better off throwing them out the window. The choice of movies is also disappointing to Americans seeking the latest blockbusters, but Francophiles will love the selection of French films.
It may not have all of the bells and whistles that business class on larger airlines offers (such as seats that lie totally flat) but as my seatmate commented, “It’s 80% of the goods for 50% of the price.”
For more on La Compagnie, visit lacompagnie.com.
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