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Review: La Compagnie’s all-business-flight from London to New York (Part 1)

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Whilst Rob settles down to his holiday, I will be running a selection of flight and hotel reviews from my trip to New York last month. First up is my review of low-cost ‘all business class’ airline La Compagnie.

In July 2015 HfP reader Sam wrote a review of her La Compagnie flight from London to New York.  Since then, we have keen to try it out for ourselves.  After all, in a sale La Compagnie will sell you a return flight to New York for only a few hundred pounds more than the taxes required for a British Airways Avios redemption.

La Compagnie provided Head for Points with a specially discounted one-way flight which meant that we only paid the APD and airport taxes.  As usual, we paid all of our other expenses from our own pocket.

What is it like flying from London to New York in a one aisle plane that has only business class seats?  British Airways has been offering something similar from City Airport on an even smaller plane, a 32-seat A318, for many years now – but at standard BA pricing.

The boutique airline La Compagnie aims to offer a similar service but for a fraction of the price.  But is it really a full business class experience?


Rob interviewed Frantz Yvellin, CEO of La Compagnie, back in June and there is a lot of background to the company in that article.

La Compagnie was founded in July 2014 and started with flights from Paris to New York. It launched its London – New York route in May 2015.  Two Boeing 757-200 operate on both routes – one aircraft is apparently noticeable older than the other (22 years old vs 16 years old) which happened to be the one I was on.

The lounge

Unlike most trans Atlantic flights La Compagnie flies from Luton instead of Heathrow and uses the Aspire lounge which I reviewed a couple of months ago.  I liked the lounge back in March, but had I written the review now, it would have been less positive.  All of the La Compagnie passengers cause a spike which pushes it to capacity.

The lounge was super busy and I had to wait around 5 minutes to get a drink at the bar.  Setting up wifi took forever and downloading a book onto my Kindle took 20 minutes.  The food was exactly the same as last time and, as I had heard that La Compagnie offered good food, I decided to wait.

The flight was scheduled for 5:30pm.  However a few days before the flight I got emails, phone calls and text messages from La Compagnie that they had to change the departure time to 4pm.  To give them credit, they were determined to make sure that I knew!

la compagnie poster luton airport

The flight

When it was time to go to the gate, things got a bit chaotic. Wizz Air had a flight from the gate opposite and their staff decided to move the waiting La Compagnie passangers as they pleased. First we were told to queue a certain way and then we had to queue from a different direction.  No one from La Compagnie said anything as we were herded around.

Thanks to the changing of the queue I ended up further back than I wanted to be and I wasn’t able to get a good picture of the cabin before it filled up.  Here is a press image:

la compagnie plane

The plane has 74 seats in 19 rows.  According to La Compagnie’s website ‘integrated in fixed shells, [their] seats offer passengers ultimate privacy and comfort’.  Comfort ok, privacy not so much.

The seat

Right after boarding we got a welcome drink. Two bottles of water were inbetween the seats – you just need to clarify with your seat neighbour which one is which.

la compagnie plane welcome drink seat

With no separation between the two seats I think you would enjoy the trip more if you travel with a friend or partner – or are happy to befriend your seat neighbour in order to have a less awkward flight.  I did the latter.

There was a wash bag, pillow and blanket waiting on the seats.

la compagnie airplane seat

Instead of in-built screens, every seat has a Samsung tablet.  This sounds like a great idea but ended up being rather annoying.

The flight attendants had to walk up and down the aisle many times to exchange tablets that weren’t charging properly or weren’t working at all.  There was a USB charging port integrated in the seat, but unfortunately mine was dead.

The film and TV selection was not the best and the entertainment program was only working whenever the plane’s wi-fi was turned on.  Don’t get too excited by the word ‘wi-fi’.  You can neither connect your personal devices to the wifi nor use the provided tablet to browse the internet.

la compagnie airplane seat tablet

The seat does not go fully flat but was perfectly acceptable for a day flight.   My seat neighbour, who had flown with La Compagnie many times before, told me that the seats on the other aircraft are more comfortable.

One thing worth noting is that some plastic parts of the seat were broken and kept getting stuck, which made putting the seat up and down into a bit of a challenge.

la compagnie flight plane seat sleep position

Here is another sign that the plane wasn’t the newest…

la compagnie plane flight tablet screen

However, let’s pause for a minute to remember that you are getting a ‘flat but not horizontal’ bed for roughly the same price that British Airways and Virgin Atlantic charge for Premium Economy.  Compared to that, the La Compagnie seat is clearly light years ahead.

In part two of my La Compagnie review – click here – I will look at the amenities, the impressive food and their pricing.

Comments (16)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • @mkcol says:

    Bottom water bottle is for the passenger on the right.

  • James Alexander says:

    Oh dear. This sounds awful!
    After many years flying USA / UK for me personally in Biz class the vital aspects are;
    A. A decent lounge and NOT being herded in the pre-flight experience – LC clearly lacking
    B. On Board Privacy – LC clearly lacking this -C Climbing over someone to get to aisle is OUT! It’s SO passé.
    C. FLAT bed. I don’t want to sleep at an angle (Air France used to LIE (breaking trading standards) and sell their awful angled beds as Flat! Sleeping on them made me feel as if I was falling – like refuse on a chute) NO THANKS. THEY ARE NOT FLAT!!!! Paging Trading Standards!!!

  • Bob says:

    Thanks Anika for this fair and very detailed first part review.

    I like the very specific details you mentionned. There are few reviews of La compagnie and even less on the london services. Not all show what you describe. It is nice to read your experience. It is also helpfull for solo travellers: it is like if I was in your seat.

    That’s great you had this flight.

  • Simmo says:

    OT//. Ending up going to Hong Kong on thnway back from Thailand.

    Any recommendations for hotels? (SPG gold, Hilton Diamond, Ihg Spire, Accor plat)
    Looking to spend £150 a night

    Also… Flying back in F which lounge should I aim for? Does the BA flight nohback from a certain gate number?


    • Andrew* says:

      Have stayed at Novotel Kowloon twice for work on Club Floor (had no status at the time); nothing special but good location just off Nathan Rd and two positive experiences there…

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      W, Conrad and Indigo are all well regarded. Intercontinental is as well but you didn’t mention Ambassador.

      • h2d says:

        The Pier First Lounge is head and shoulders the best lounge at HKG, well worth the walk regardless of your gate

        • Simmo says:


          Any idea what time the BA check-in will open? Guess only 2/3 hours before the flight? (Flight is 23:45)

          • Gavin says:

            3 hours before but I understand you can check your bags in downtown at Kowloon station up to 24 hours before.

            This is what I will doing in October as I fly into Hong Kong at 4pm on Cathay, and then leave about the same time as you (BA32?) due to Oneworld’s stupid non-through checking policy on separate bookings.

            Get the train into HK, deposit bags, have a very short look around, then back to the airport.

    • Dave says:

      Sheraton HK has amazing views over the harbour and skyline!

    • @mkcol says:

      Ibis Sheung Wan

      Fantastic views if you specify higher floors, harbourview.

      • Simmo says:

        Thanks all!

        Opted for the Pullman – Parklane due to the attractive rate (15% topcash back) and Accor Plat giving me the lounge!

        Last question: Getting to the hotel….
        Should land 6:45pm, should I prearranged a hotel lift or will Taxi/Uber be best?
        Do I miss the rush hour? Or does the airport express train then taxi make more sense?


        • Andrew* says:

          Personally, I’ve found the airport express superb on both occasions. Land, get through immigration quickly, get bags quickly, get ticket for train quickly, and straight onto the train… all very efficient… (that was when staying at the Novotel)

          I got the airport/MTR combo card – lasts a few days…

          • Genghis says:

            I’m going to HK next month. I’ll be taking the train to Central and then a taxi from there to the Conrad near Admiralty (although there is a free mini bus but don’t want to wait for it). From the research I’ve done, this might be the best way for you (the Pullman is further east). Though if you have lots of luggage and there are multiple passengers, a direct taxi might be easier. Prearranged cars seem expensive.

  • Talay says:

    For me, if I have to fly on business then it is necessary and as such, I don’t really want to suffer an old plane with an inconvenient airport, a poor lounge, changes to the timetable in the days / hours before flying and likely no back up if the single said aged plane doesn’t want to go.

    If I am flying for pleasure, I am not willing to suffer too much to save a little money as I am on “my time”. For very similar reasons, flying leisure would be a non starter either.

    My guess is that this is catering to those whose company or personal spend would not reach regular business class and as such, it might be a step up from Premium Economy, which it might be.

    I don’t know what load factor they need for break even but I can’t see too many swapping LHR for LUT onto planes older than their children.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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