La Compagnie To Fly Between Newark & Nice

This is actually sort of brilliant.

La Compagnie is the all business class transatlantic airline that started flying in mid-2014. They operate flights between Newark and Paris using Boeing 757 aircraft.

The airline operates up to two daily flights, and it seems like they’ve been able to build up market share to the point that their business model works.

The airline currently uses Boeing 757s featuring angled seats, but in April 2019 La Compagnie is supposed to take delivery of A321neos featuring fully flat beds in business class, which will represent a huge product upgrade for the airline.

When La Compagnie first launched they also tried to fly between New York and London, though that route quickly failed. It seems like they made the same mistake that most all business class airlines make, which is that they think “if we could get just a few percent of market share from other airlines, we’d be doing well.”

The problem is that it’s tough to compete with the established players, and that almost never ends well.

Well, rumor has it that La Compagnie will be launching a second route seasonally, and it’s sort of brilliant. Le Figaro reports that La Compagnie will offer 5x weekly flights between Newark and Nice from May through October 2019.

The flight isn’t yet bookable and I don’t see any news directly from La Compagnie about this, but Le Figaro is typically pretty on top of things.

This route also makes a lot of sense. Nice (and the surrounding areas) are a huge summer travel destination, and the only airline that flies nonstop from the US is Delta. Based on what I’ve heard, the flight performs really well for them, and the fares certainly reflect that. The airline seasonally operates up to 10x weekly Boeing 767-400s in the market.

For example, the cheapest roundtrip business class fare I see next summer nonstop from New York to Nice is just under $4,000.

Meanwhile there are dates (with over a week stay) where the cheapest business class fare is just under $25,000. Wow.

New York to Nice also seems like a market where a lot of people would be willing to pay for business class if it were reasonably priced, given that the South of France is not exactly a budget vacation destination.

So this seems absolutely brilliant.

What remains to be seen is if La Compagnie intends to use a Boeing 757 or Airbus A321neo for the route. The airline is supposed to go from two 757s to two A321s, but that’s supposed to happen next spring. So I’m curious if they reduce service between Newark and Paris, or if they keep one of the 757s in their fleet through the fall to operate this route (which seems like it could make sense).

What do you make of La Compagnie adding flights between Newark and Nice?

Comments

  1. June 17-21 is the Cannes Lion festival, which is like the film festival but for advertising. So tons of demand from the US and especially New York.

  2. That 23,000 dollar fare is at the start of the Cannes Lion Festival, which I’m sure is a huge driver of the route for Delta, along with the film festival. Anecdotally, I flew that route last year in September and the flight in both directions was under half full, but I’m sure thats because it was the shoulder season. I really did love the ease of NCE, and how close it is to the city center, not to mention the lounge was pretty decent for a small airport.

    Can see a lot of people taking advantage of the flight, I’d have to think its a very premium yielding one, despite it being mostly leisure outside of May-June for the festivals. But I’d also think that Delta has most, if not all of the corporate contracts locked up between its direct flight, and connections with AF through CDG.

  3. Hey Mark, Thanks for coming to this travel page! I am happy to inform you there is a steep airline discount for missionary zealots to a divine and bijou island in the Indian Ocean far away from the bustling tourist throngs. (The shish kabobs are to die for!) Let us know when we can send you and final, um…travel arrangements will be made on your behalf! Bon Voyage, you marvelous little leprechaun, you!

  4. My friends go to Monaco for the Grand Prix every year at the end of May and airline prices on the Delta flight to NCE from NYC tend to be $$$ as well.

  5. FWIW, the NCE-JFK flight often comes up as a fairly cheap transatlantic connection from some European cities. I’ve had people fly PRG-NCE-JFK on OK/DL, as it was by far the cheapest option, even compared to travel on Delta via CDG, AMS or MXP.

  6. I flew on a connecting flight to Nice this year outside of the summer season and it was ~$8500 so clearly that route can bear high prices.

  7. This is a very smart move. NCE is such a premium heavy destination (at lest for Americans and Russians who really think that Nice and South France so-so-so-so unbearably fancy).

    I remember once in July 2009 I took a Sunday evening flight from NCE to Moscow with Aeroflot. There were 20 business class pax and 8 economy class pax booked (it was operated by A319 with 20/96 layout).

    Quite similar experience I had in September 2016 when taking DL direct NCE-JFK. The flight was operated by 764. DeltaOne was fully booked 3 weeks in advance (I checked as I was thinking of applying a GUC), every single seat in Comfort+ was also taken. The rest of the plain was basically empty (I would estimate 50 pax in total). Initially a had a Comfort+ seat but then moved back and had 3 seats for myself and no-one 3 rows in front of me and 5 rows behind me. Best Y class TATL flight ever.

  8. @Mark
    There are too many homophobes lurking in the background here already, so your presence, with your tired old (not witty) slogan, is unwelcome. So f*** off!

  9. Part of the London route failure was that it flew out of Luton – London’s worst low cost airport. I actually missed a La Compagnie flight because of a traffic jam on the M1 that made the normal two hour trip into a four hour trip (was on crutches at the time, and couldn’t handle the train and bus transfers to get there with luggage)

    I treated the 757 as an all PE flight as there wasn’t flat beds, but at the price point, was a great option as the soft product was as good as BA / AA J class.

    Hope this route becomes profitable for them

  10. Very exciting news in my opinion as Nice is my local airport and it’d be nice to have more long haul options.
    Right now the ones available can all be counted on one hand : JFK with Delta, Dubai with Emirates, Doha with Qatar and Montreal with Air Canada rouge/Air Transat.

    Let’s hope the rumours are true

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