Upgraded seats, inflight entertainment and free, high-speed internet service officially took flight today for all-business class airline La Compagnie. The French airline’s first A321neo aircraft (F-HBUZ) now operates scheduled flights between Paris and Newark.
The upgraded in-cabin offerings improve the value proposition for the carrier and deliver on a promises made when it first announced service in 2014. At that time inflight connectivity was tipped for its 757 aircraft; that plan never materialized. The new plane carries Viasat’s Ka-band solution, taking advantage of the ViaSat-2 and Ka-SAT satellites for end-to-end coverage across the route. Moreover, the service is free for passengers. When confirming that pricing plan earlier this year Jean Charles Périno, EVP of Sales and Marketing, described it as an “obvious” decision, adding, “We want our passengers to experience the internet just like they do at home or in the office.”
The carrier is the 10th to install the Viasat hardware on board and the third (JetBlue, Qantas) to offer it for free to passengers. It is also the third (EL AL, NEOS) to press the system into service for transatlantic routes.
The carrier’s refreshed cabin also includes 76 fully flat Diamond seats from Collins Aerospace and the RAVE inflight entertainment system from Safran. Both represent significant upgrades from the carrier’s 757 cabin. The new aircraft also consumes 30% less fuel per seat than the 757 it replaces.
While today’s flight launches the scheduled A321neo service for the carrier’s route between Orly and Newark it is not truly the first flight. The company operated the aircraft on the route twice last week, prior to the official launch.