Uh Oh: XL Airways Stops Selling Tickets

Filed Under: Other Airlines

It looks like another one is about to bite the dust…

XL Airways is a French low cost airline that operates a fleet of four Airbus A330 aircraft. They operate primarily from Paris Charles de Gaulle to popular long haul French leisure destinations (including in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean), though also have some routes to the US. XL Airways and La Compagnie are also part of the same company.

XL Airways Stops Selling Tickets

XL Airways has just announced that they’ve stopped selling tickets as of today due to financial difficulties. Per a notice on their website:

Due to its financial difficulties, we are deeply sorry to have to announce that XL Airways is stopping selling tickets effective today, 19th September 2019.

Some of our flights may have to be cancelled and therefore kindly ask our customers to verify their flight’s status by visiting our website https://www.xl.com/us/flight-status-xl.

For any other query, you may want to contact our call center on +33.3.51.86.00.51.

We apology in advance for any inconvenience that this situation may have caused our valuable customers. Our teams are fully committed on working fully towards delivering our customers with our service.

Tour Hebdo is reporting that the airline will go into receivership tomorrow, but it’s expected that the airline will continue operations for the coming days.

Potential buyers have until September 27 to express interest, and it’s believed that the airline only has the cash to operate through next Thursday, September 26, 2019.

XL Airways has been struggling financially for a while, and has been looking for a buyer for over a year, though clearly things didn’t get quite this bad until now.

What About La Compagnie?

XL Airways and La Compagnie announced their merger in 2016 (it’s odd to see an all economy airline merge with an all business class airline). As of now I’m not exactly sure what this means for La Compagnie.

La Compagnie continues to sell tickets and hasn’t posted any notices. They also just took delivery of their first A321neo this summer.

So I would assume that they aren’t impacted by this — last I heard they were more or less breaking even. We’ll mark this as “developing” for now.

Bottom Line

The struggle continues for low cost carriers in Europe. Unless XL Airways can find new investors within the next week, it looks like they’ll cease operations. They’re the second French low cost carrier where this has happened in weeks, as Aigle Azur also just went out of business.

(Tip of the hat to @jeffreyerlbaum, featured image courtesy of Maxime)

Comments
  1. Trying to plan a trip to the French Riviera next August, NYC-Nice nonstop on La Compagnie: $1300. NYC-Nice nonstop United Economy: $1150. I am heavily leaning towards United unfortunately.

  2. I once tried to buy a ticket on XL Airways from Paris to New York. The Web site wouldn’t accept my CSR Visa and, when I called to speak with someone, I got an outsourced representative who couldn’t have been less helpful. Eventually, I gave up and bought a flight on TAP instead.

  3. It seems that companies like XL and TC were having $ difficulties before (despite stronger european economy & lower fuel prices). The recent spike in oil costs probably put them over the edge.

  4. @ Lucky, fyi – Aigle Azur, France’s 2nd largest airline, ceased operations on Sept 7th. Whopping debt + french unions + inc fuel prices = not a good situation. Existing investors no longer want to put in any extra capital. Air France, Easyjet and most other bidders pulling out. One bidder left, but the offer is conditional on the French govt providing a 16M euro credit line. So, the only way Aigle Azur stays alive is if someone at the French Ministere des Transports Aeriens is feeling generous…

    Not a good time to be a low cost carrier in France (and most of western Europe) right now.

  5. Is there any news on Norwegian? I’ve been waiting for the news on the debt plan before making any purchase with them

  6. Well, about Norwegian. Among low-costs they have a decent product, but I have never ever seen any single tatl fare, where Norwegian was the cheapest. Its always more expensive than legacy carriers, and I don’t think they have a long future in the skies.

  7. Was right next to an XL Airways A330 at LAX while onboard an AC A320. Will have a YouTube up soon. Captured this beauty in beautiful dusk light. Sorry to see her go.

  8. @Zich
    I’d be comfortable buying a Norwegian ticket at the moment. While it’s true that they’re snakebit in terms of bad luck, if they can get their MAXs back in the sky and get compensation for Boeing—two huge IFs—I think they’ll do OK in the long-ish term.

    They’re the canary in the coal mine for TATL LCCs as far as I’m concerned. They’ve been around long enough to have carved out a niche, and their fares are keeping the legacies in check at the moment (at least until Jet Blue enters the market in two years). If they can weather the upcoming fuel price spikes this off-season I think they’ll have a decent 2020.

    My guess is that once the MAXs are back online they’ll offer some incredibly good off-season fares to persuade people they’re safe airplanes and to give them a try and that will help build the brand. The next 8 months will tell the tale for sure. If they re-enter the IrelandNYC market with the MAX-8s I’ll be going back over in a heartbeat if the price is right.

  9. Good. Given the extent that flying is a contributing to the climate crisis, let’s see some more routes dropped, please.

    Unfortunate that Lucky refuses to address this.

  10. La Compagnie is the French Department Store Galeries Lafayette, the Moulin Family, VERY deep pockets. That they also bought XL Airways a couple of years ago always was a mystery to me, unless they wanted to prevent someone else from buying it. That’s a lot how they operate.

    Ginette Moulin, matriarch, 89, active and all her marbles, likes to travel comfortably but is anti Business Jets. So I saw a reason for buying La Compagnie. Somewhat, I can’t see her ever using XL.

  11. Well, XL Airways UK folded in 2008, and XL Germany in 2013…guess the XL Airways as a brand is on it’s way out?

  12. @Eric: Go read some environmental wacko website, then. You don’t have to be here with your pretentious comments. It wouldn’t hurt any of our feelings if you decided to bugger off and hug a tree somewhere.

  13. Any advice on what I should do if I purchased a one-way ticket from Paris to Newark with XL in mid-October? I’m flying out to France on a different carrier.

  14. @e30st – You’re not very good at looking for flights then! I just tried a single date on a single route and Norwegian came up cheapest…

  15. Jesse – It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you go and die in a coal pit either (or whatever the opposite to the stupid “go and hug a tree” phrase is).

    An aviation blog is a perfectly valid place to discuss aviation emissions – especially when the blogger just flies around the world for the fun of it, not even having much interest in seeing many of the places they fly to. As long as it’s done respectfully, you have no right objecting to it.

  16. After flying home on XL tonight, no damn wonder they are out of money. Lots of empty seats, crap meal, worse seat I have ever had the displeasure to set in for 7 hours . Only good news was we got home, I was afraid they would cancel flights

  17. The route between New York and Paris is highly competitive that ‘s why XL Airways was struggling .
    Now Airline FRENCH BEE plans to operate the new route from Paris to Newark with fares from $139 to $400 with an Airbus A350-XWB, the latest version of the ultra-efficient, long haul workhorse from Airbus. By using this aircraft, French Bee should be able to save significant fuel costs while offering passengers a reportedly great experience; the A350 features a quieter and more atmospheric cabin than what’s found in most traditional widebody aircraft.
    So you have 2 main low cost airlines like French Bee and Corsair on top of regular carriers (Air France, Delta American Airlines etc) so i guess XL Airways won’t stand a chance to be revived as it is short of cash(€35 millions)

  18. @callum: Really? Telling someone to go “die in a coal pit” is rather extreme, wouldn’t you say? You definitely sound like a mature person that should be taken seriously. Totally.

    This blog is primarily a miles and points blog, and most people come here to read about that and the reviews of premium products. I seriously doubt most readers come here to read about how their hobby or work necessity is *possibly* damaging the environment. I’m sure people who want to read about that can find plenty of other websites focusing on that topic without trying to force it here.

    It’s interesting that you say I’ve no right objecting to it. How so? I’ve a right to do so, just as you’ve a right to give your opinion.

    Plus, I don’t really care about emissions or this way overblown farce called “global warming”. I drive my gas-guzzling SUVs and pickups, and jet all over the world. And I enjoy every second of it.

  19. I’m on La Compagnie tomorrow. If I see or hear anything that would lend any credence to the idea that they are on edge, I’ll post it here.

  20. Thanks for this! I hear that tomorrow is the day that XL runs out of money, so I’m curious to hear what you find out.

  21. Beth I’m in the same situation too. Bought 3 tickets from Paris to Newark on 4th October. Praying hard that the airline would sustain.

  22. Our flight today on LaCompagnie from Paris-Orly is fine, operating normally and with fine service, meals, etc. I did see one yellow-vest with “XL Airways” on the back among the ramp workers. We were on time and fully serviced. No sign whatsoever of financial distress regarding the LaCompagnie airline apparent to a passenger looking for oddities. I’ll post again if anything looks amiss when we get to Newark.

  23. Hi,

    Does anyone know where we can get a refund for a cancelled flight from XL? Yesterday I had to buy another ticket from another airline from Paris-NY because my flight was cancelled due to the economic collapse.

    Thanks,

    Dionis

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