I wrote yesterday about the ground experience at London Luton airport with La Compagnie, the newest entrant in the London to New York route. The 757 aircraft is all business class with seats set up 2-2.
After boarding I quickly located by seat at 2D.
There was a pillow, blanket and headset at each seat. In the back of the seat in front is a bottle of water. Passengers in Row 1 have a different layout and more legroom.
Control of the seats are in the arm rest – see above. The button between the control and the water is to release the table which comes out of the centre console between the seats. The seats feature a massage function.
A pre-departure drink was offered, with or without champagne.
After the doors were closed we had a live safety demo – the cards were available for those that like to read them.
Mounted on the seat in front is a Galaxy tablet which holds entertainment options as well as the moving map.
After a short video about the airline you get access to a variety of movies (including all James Bond movies ever made), music and TV programmes. The moving map is also available here.
You have to have a headset plugged in to watch movies and TV programmes. In prevents the system from playing its audio and annoying other customers.
We were very delayed taking off due to one runway in use and other planes ahead of us. This added to the delay we had inherited from the late arrival of the plane from Paris.
Shortly after take off the flight attendants did a drink run from the cart. I had champagne. These came with a small pack of nuts.
It was a little odd that there were no menus distributed and whilst clearly the entertainment was supposed to display them. It meant that the flight attendant had to explain every option.
Starter – Crab
The cheese and dessert courses were delivered at the same time. The food was served on stylish, if plastic plates. Warm rolls were circulated.
Main Course – Lamb
The other option was fish.
The food was tasty and the lamb was hot. Whilst there was a significant wait for it to appear (probably three hours after take off), and this I think is a flaw in the service to be fair. Many people, having worked all day, will want to eat quickly and nap and the delay in feeding us was noticeable when compared to other airlines running on this route.
I watch a James Bond movie whilst eating and then had a couple of hours nap before the second meal.
This was a fairly typical combination of sandwiches and scones. I didn’t partake as I wasn’t hungry.
Arrival and connection at Newark
We arrived in the B terminal at EWR, following a straight forward approach and landing featuring super views of Manhattan from the left hand side. Deplaning is via door 2, located behind row 6. A short walk to the Immigration Hall and I located the Global Entry kiosks in the centre of the hall.
(As I was doing an immediate return the UK staff had messaged the US staff and I was met at the end of the jet bridge and escorted through the whole process by one of the US managers for La Compagnie.)
Clearing Immigration with no luggage I was out of the customs hall (one floor lower) about 15 minutes after we had landed and ready for my connection. A quick stop at the land side Art and Lounge Newark to get an idea of the area – you can read a review here from fellow (and more famous) blogger One Mile at a Time. There were a couple of passengers there who were waiting for the flight. There were about 20 people in the line at TSA security, with two lines open. No PreCheck of course, but the staff were relatively pleasant. There were flights operated by Virgin and Cathay in the same area.
Departure from Newark
The gate area was fairly busy with a mixture of London and Paris passengers. The plane was doing a quick stop at Luton on the way to Paris. I asked at the gate and was able to secure two seats together towards the back of the plane.
I was then able to have one seat for sitting and one for sleeping – I felt very lucky. Most passengers, in truth were in pairs or small groups as the fare structure works especially well for people.
I advised the crew that I planned to sleep and they confirmed that they would leave me alone for the duration of the flight. I put the seat down, and wrapped myself in to the supplied duvet. And slept soundly for about 6 hours. There were eye shades and ear plugs in the amenity kit supplied. (You still have time to enter the draw to win the unused one from my outbound trip.)
I woke up and asked the crew for a coffee, reassured that they would be coming out with breakfast shortly, I waited until then. In truth it was probably 45 minutes after my request before the carts came in to the aisles serving a hot breakfast and cold items. Pastries or french bread were also distributed.
The food was tasty and I secured my cup of coffee, oddly served in a paper cup when their was a china one of the tray.
A quick look out of the window showed a cloudy morning in the UK but with the sun rising before us.
Arrival at Luton
We were briefed before landing that passengers ending their trip in Luton should wait until the Paris passengers had disembarked to be taken to the Executive Jet terminal for immigration processing. However, in the end the terminating passengers got off first and walked to the immigration hall – 15 minutes. There was a significant queue for EU passport holders and no automated gates as they were being upgraded. With no luggage I was out and ready to board the bus to the train station about 20 minutes after arriving at the gate. (If you buy your train ticket from the airport the bus is included, otherwise £1.60 each way per person.)
I really rather liked La Compagnie – every single member of staff I encountered was trying to make the experience great. How many airlines can you say that about these days? One Mile At A Time has not been totally complimentary about the airline in his reviews. The aircraft he had for his flight is the newer of the two – mine for example did not have USB chargers and the seat controls are different. My seat mate on the way over mentioned this as he felt the other plane had a newer feel. One of OMAAT’s comments is about the number of crew and I did notice that there were four on the way back making the night service quicker.
Next week I shall be on the all-Business Class BA service from London City to JFK, with a stop in Shannon. It will be an interesting contrast and I will write a comparison piece.
In truth I hope this airline works, and with another decent fare sale you’ll see me on it again.