As international flights begin to take to the air post-COVID-19, all-business-class La Compagnie could prove to be a popular choice for travelers. With air passenger confidence low, an uncrowded cabin with roomy seats is an attractive proposition.
La Compagnie may have the edge over the competition
The all-business-class French boutique airline La Compagnie could have the edge over its competition as post-pandemic transatlantic travel resumes. Business travel is expected to recover faster than the leisure sector, and La Compagnie’s unique model is ideally placed to take advantage.
The airline operates daily flights between Paris-Orly and Newark in the USA and seasonal flights between Newark and Nice in the French Riviera. Its Airbus A321neo aircraft offer 76 fully flat business class seats for a premium travel experience.
Passengers also have access to business class lounges at the airports to avoid the crowds. With travelers possibly willing to pay more for transport they perceive as safer, La Compagnie could soon be filling their flights.
The airline suspended its operations in March with the optimistic expectation of resuming service in mid-April. Now it seems that US travel restrictions for travelers from Europe are unlikely to be lifted before mid-June at the earliest.
La Compagnie could be a hard act to follow
Forbes reported today that other airlines are looking for ways to rebuild the demand for travel while also satisfying customers’ desire for more space. Air Canada has the means to recover from the crisis by operating all-premium flights.
From June 1st, Air Canada is introducing three all-business-class A319s on some of its domestic routes. Rather than converting the aircraft, the 54-seat A319s come from the airline’s Jetz charter division and are often used by hockey teams traveling to games.
Flights on these single class aircraft will be sold as premium economy. While being more expensive than economy, they are cheaper than regular business class.
Air Canada is fortunate in having the premium aircraft available. Other airlines could consider converting aircraft to all premium seating. However, the cost and time it would take are probably not justified for what may be a short-term situation.
On dual-class services, they could find themselves with a strong demand for business class but weaker sales for economy seats. This is where La Compagnie has an advantage over its rivals.
Air passenger confidence in a post-pandemic world
Many passengers will be reluctant to fly economy, however much the aviation industry assures their safety. After months of lockdown and the need for social distancing, the idea of being enclosed in a cabin with hundreds of people is a hard sell.
Some airlines that only offer economy travel are exercising social distancing by leaving the middle seat of three empty. However, that’s not economical and will mean higher fares. Others feel that the wearing of masks and strict cleaning regimes are sufficient measures to reduce the risk of infection. But will the public buy that?
Do you think the forecasts for the resumption of leisure air travel are overly pessimistic? If you usually travel in economy, would you now pay more to fly business class? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.