We’ve known since last year that French all-business class boutique airline La Compagnie was moving from angle-flat to fully flat business beds on its new A321neo jets. We now know what those new cabins will look like.
La Compagnie has chosen Rockwell Collins Diamond seating, an updated version of the seat design used on American Airlines A321T jets, Delta’s Boeing 757s and United Airlines’ Dreamliner fleet.
This represents a significant upgrade to La Compagnie’s underdog offering. When La Compagnie puts the new A321s in service this coming April, the discount airline will now have better business class seats on its Newark to Paris flights than some Air France-KLM aircraft. The new cabin will have two more seats, 76, than the existing 757s.
The upgrade doesn’t stop with the sleeping surface. La Compagnie will do away with its dowdy handout tablets as it installs 15.7″ Rave in-flight entertainment systems. The new jets will also have high-speed Viasat wi-fi internet.
The brand new A321neo is likely to be a quieter ride than the airlines current 20-plus-year-old Boeing 757s. La Compagnie is the first French airline to operate the new jets, beating rivals Air France and XL Airways.
There’s still no way to transfer credit card points to book La Compagnie seats, but when fares in these business class seats drop to or below $1,600 round-trip (as they have many times in the past), booking these seats through a fixed-value travel portal could become a more affordable and significantly less stressful option than award seat transfers.
It’s not clear if Air France will immediately retire its current fleet of Boeing 757s, or use the new jets to expand frequencies or routes. La Compagnie previously operated a Newark to London service but terminated that route shortly after the Brexit vote.