The luxury airline that’s changing the way we look at business class.
Luton Airport might not always be your first choice for flying to New York, but with new luxury airline La Compagnie running out of the location, it certainly should be: the relatively young French boutique airline specialises in “business class comfort without the business class price tag”. Now, as with anything in the luxury market, affordability is a relative term – no one would say that La Compagnie is by any stretch of the imagination a budget airline – but with prices at quite a bit less than other top-tier lines like Virgin Atlantic and BA, it’s certainly worth checking out because the service is truly second to none.
First, there’s the plane itself: using an exclusively redesigned Boeing 757-200, the decor is considerably more stylish than your average interior (all clean blues and icy whites) and also rather spacious – a prerequisite of business class, of course. Then there’s La Compagnie’s interesting take on in-flight entertainment; forget watching one of Adam Sandler’s less beloved comedies on repeat for 9 hours (Jack & Jill on a 2014 Delta flight, I’m looking at you), because with this airline you get a personal tablet for the duration of the flight that’s fully loaded with an impressive selection of movies, e-books, music and magazines. There’s even a little slot in the back of the seat in front of you that you can plug the device into – or your own one, if you’re so inclined.
The main concern (leg room aside, perhaps) for any business class traveller is surely the food. All too often I’ve found business class dining little better than its budget equivalents – I have experience food trauma on more occasions than I care to remember. Fortunately, La Compagnie’s food is a cut above. After all, it would be especially disappointing if a French airline failed to deliver in the culinary stakes. I had a delicate smoked salmon affair to begin with before tucking into a spicy shrimp dish that was up there with some of the best airline food I’ve ever had – okay, that may not sound like the highest compliment, but it really was quite delicious.
Add to that courteous and attentive staff (decked out in a tasteful great uniform), plenty of refills of champagne – a refreshing Piper Heidsieck – and an impressive selection of pastries and you’ve got a service that truly does rival the other premier business class providers: with a considerable saving to boot.