London to New York in Business Class for £500 return!

The history of ‘all business class’ airlines flying between London and New York is not a pretty one.  Apart from the British Airways service which operates out of London City, none of the independent operators who have tried this over the last decade have succeeded.  They ALL went bust – Silverjet, EOS, MAXjet etc.

The reason was simple.  These small airlines were not flying out of Heathrow and had no corporate contracts.  With only one flight a day, there was no flexibility for business travellers whose plans changed.  Passenger earned no miles and there was little in the way of exciting lounges.  They were totally reliant on price and there are not that many people booking business class tickets on price alone.

There is also a risk factor.  If you book with a tiny airline with only a couple of planes and one flight a day, you are in trouble if your flight is cancelled due to mechanical problems.  You are also at the mercy of weather delays, relatively common flying out of New York.

This has not stopped La Compagnie from jumping in.

La Compagnie aircraft

The company started flying from Paris to New York Newark last July.  It has now started selling tickets for flights from London Luton (yes, Luton) to Newark from the end of April.

The service will use an old Boeing 757 with 74 angled lie-flat seats in a 2×2 configuration.  IFE will be provided via a Samsung tablet handed out by the crew.

There will initially be just four flights a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  This would worry me, to be honest, since if your flight is cancelled for any reason you have to wait at least 48 hours for the next one.

Flight times are also not ideal, leaving at 5.45pm and landing at 9pm.  I prefer to take an earlier flight so that I am in my hotel at a more sensible time and can get some sleep.  The return flights will depart Newark on the same days, departing at 10.30pm and landing at 10.30am the next day.

La Compagnie seat

If this sounds ‘interesting’, La Compagnie is running a fantastic (if the plane goes) launch deal.  The first 500 tickets to be sold will cost just £649 return, or £1007 for a couple travelling together.  It is reported that a typical price once the service has bedded in will be closer to £1500 per person – more than BA charges in a sale.

You can find more details at La Compagnie’s website here.  I will not be rushing to try it – unless they offer me a review flight – but if you are feeling adventurous then the price is certainly attractive.

Here is a trip report from US blog One Mile At A Time on the Paris service which makes it clear what you will and won’t be getting for your money.  Don’t miss his earlier article about the chaotic check-in, lounge and departure experience.

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  1. Looks like 500 people may have booked already….You’re too popular Raffles – hope you’re getting a cut!

  2. Old aircraft….. ? Similar to an aged, BA 747 then….. That might also be grubby.
    Could be good if it fits schedule.
    I thought Eos were good….

  3. Dummy Booking for April:

    Ticket fare :
    Taxes & Carrier imposed Fees :
    TOTAL PRICE : £2577.72
    BEST Buy
    CHANGE : £200/leg

  4. I wonder if this is the only service with business class from Luton? Is this the airport that has an airport drop-off charge?

    • Yes £2, plus horrific roadworks leading off the M1 to the airport. Although once these are completed in April, it should make the route to the airport from the M1 much easier.

    • Kiran: “I wonder if this is the only service with business class from Luton?”

      If you are talking only about services that have business class alongside economy, I believe AtlasJet from LTN have it, also El Al certainly do, I don’t think TAROM have it exLTN.

      If however you are talking about ‘business class only’ services, there arn’t that many airports with them in the first place, but keep in mind there are loads of private business jet flights operating out of Luton (some aircraft are just parked there, but there are plenty of paid fare departures, although not scheduled).

      When Silverjet operated they used a custom facilty, not the main terminal, and not the private jet facility either. Not sure what these guys plan to offer.

      Lots of airports now have vechile drop off charges, while there I things I think LTN can be criticised for, I wouldn’t single it out for any of those reasons.

    • Yes.

  5. Saw this on HUKD yesterday, most people seem to think their business class is no better than premium.

  6. Info at FlyerTalk says TWO 757s will be used. The schedule increases to 6x per week in summer.

    This should allow a more reliable service, something like BA’s 2x A318 to JFK out of LCY.

    But it’s still LTN …

  7. Froggitt says:

    All over the papers this morning, so not surprised its sold out already. LTN great location for me 🙂 Note that dropoff is free to the midstay carpark.

  8. Dominic says:

    At that kind of price range, and without any flier miles as an added incentive, I’d be much keener on BA ex Europe!

  9. Well I managed to book a city break for May at £1k for both of us. Did it last night though after seeing it in the Evening Standard, so I think this morning was too late. Live in Herts so Luton is actually good for us, and the cheapest Economy tickets were £487 each so it wont have to be amazing to be a really good deal!

    Will report back in June….

  10. High availability in June 2015 on almost every day at $975.70 (£637) return LHR-EWR 🙂

  11. Best compromise for me is the 1600$ round trip on open skies in premium.

  12. Looks like the old SAS/Lufthansa seats, which to be honest were ok but damned annoying because you constantly slid down the seat.

    Most airports charge to drop off these days, disgraceful. Edinburgh gets around it by having a ‘free drop off zone’ which is actually the long stay carpark and then you have to get a bus!!!