A Look At The Rise Of Boutique Airlines

Google defines Boutique as meaning “a business or establishment that is small and sophisticated or fashionable”. While this definition doesn’t sound compatible with the airline industry, boutique airlines are on the rise. La Compagnie is the most well known of these airlines, even building its marketing around the term, however, other airlines are beginning to join the boutique movement. Some of those looking to fall under the definition of boutique include Gulf Air, along with Oman Air. Another airline trying to label itself as boutique includes Air Tahiti Nui. Over the course of this article, Simple Flying will take a look at some of these carriers.

La Compagnie

La Compagnie is an airline which exclusively offers a business class service. The airline currently operates a B757 acquired from Icelandair, however, 2019 is set to see 2 A321neo aircraft delivered to the carrier. By operating such a small fleet, the airline is really able to tailor the aircraft, in addition to the passenger’s experience.

Boutique Airlines
La Compagnie offers a business class only service between Paris and New York. Photo: La Compagnie

The aircraft only has 74 seats arranged across 19 2×2 rows. As such, the passengers also experience an intimate atmosphere on the flight. Each passenger receives a tablet in lieu of in-flight magazines. A one-way flight with La Compagnie could set you back €1,729. If you’re looking to save while flying from Orly to Newark, you could take a look at IAG’s low-cost carrier Level.

Air Tahiti Nui

Airlines with large fleets aren’t able to spend lots on their look. As this needs to be standardised across many aircraft, this is usually decided with cost in mind. However, Airlines such as Air Tahiti Nui have much more flexibility over their fleet, having few aircraft. One just needs to look at the exterior of their latest B787. However, the elaborate design isn’t just on the outside.

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Boutique Airlines
The new Boeing 787-9 for Air Tahiti Nui has a rather unique livery. Photo: Air Tahiti Nui

Stepping inside the aircraft will see the passenger experience a truly unique cabin. Each of the Poerava and Moana cabins comes in a different unique colour. As such, you will find the business class is pink, while premium economy is green. Finally, the economy cabin is blue.

The Gulf Carriers

Both Gulf Air and Oman Air are also trying to enter this unique boutique sector unlike their big neighbours such as Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad. Due to their smaller route networks, they can really target and tailor their offering. Despite this, however, both airlines offer exactly the same hard business class product. Rather than competing against each other, the airlines are instead more focused on competing against the big Middle East Three.

Have you flown on a boutique carrier? What was your impression? Let us know in the comments down below!

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