La Compagnie is an upstart all business class airline attempting to corner the New York to Western Europe market with fares undercutting the big players. They have had a few operational and communications hiccups leaving me with the taste of sour grapes. 

a large airplane on the tarmac

Mr. Yvelin & La Compagnie,

Congratulations on creating an aspirational product and a truly unique airline. Whereas many experts would consider your venture certifiably insane, I applaud you on your dare to dream vision. As a “relative” upstart ourselves attempting to elevate travel at minimal expense, I was truly moved and excited to hear of La Compagnie. All business class at near economy prices? I love it. It could be a game changer.

To curb your enthusiasm, that’s the end of the good news. Two routes and one plane? Have you put the cart before the horse?! I just read that you are leasing an A340 on a temporary basis to replace your single (non) functioning “La Compagnie” plane, which has not been functioning. I could not help but laugh out loud at the idea of people who purchased “La Compagnie” tickets boarding a plane with a “HiFly” tail, perhaps even being served drinks on HiFly napkins. I can only imagine customers wonderment as to where on God’s green earth they might be headed, if they had checked in with the correct airline or in fact, it was just another nightmare. In fairness, I suppose the napkins could be from Virgin Atlantic or Emirates who previously used the plane. Speaking of which, whose seats are installed on this leased bird? Though an Emirates or Virgin Atlantic seat is certainly an “upgrade” from your seats, which we both know are not in fact fully flat, it’s not what people paid for, it’s not La Compagnie. 

a group of people in uniform standing in an airplane

You need a plane, it needs to say La Compagnie, it needs to have your unique branded colors inside and out and it needs to feature a consistent hard product, even your inferior version of one (we both know you can do better). At this point, you are probably wondering what the f**k the point of this email is and why it’s addressed to you and not your communications or PR team. I have given up on them and the point of this letter is that you have turned a potential fan into an enemy and you can thank your lackluster, movie cliche PR team for my tone.

Putting aside how ludicrous I have found your flight operations of late, adding a second route without a second (or single functioning) plane, not informing passengers bound for Paris that they would be stopping over in London or the fact that you are loading no more than 74 passengers on a jet built for over 200, your communications team has left me with the same feeling that comes from warm, flat champagne. I legitimately find your concept fascinating and directly in line with a level of travel my readership aspires to on a daily basis. I emailed Kimberly of Hawk PR from your team in hopes of making friends, learning more and paying for a ticket four times without response. Eventually, I emailed someone on your french side, Marion LaMure and was promptly fobbed off after an initial email. Why would you take a potential huge fan and outlet and turn it into an angry critic? Of course I know I am not from the New York Times and I assure you, I have no sense of self importance. At the same time, in building a brand, even the little guys are important, especially ones who are on your side. I wanted to pay for a ticket and write an official review, I couldn’t even get an email back. I respond to every one of my readers because I truly value every one of them.

a row of seats in an airplane

I hope you succeed. Because I know how much CEO’s appreciate advice I figured I would take this last paragraph opportunity to give you a few pointers. For starters, stop pissing on your customers heads and telling them it’s raining. People who buy tickets to Paris deserve direct flights to Paris. People flying to London deserve notice if you cancel a flight, regardless of reason. If you’re going to start an airline you need your own plane. When you cancel a flight it has serious financial implications. Offering less than the cost of an economy ticket for multiple days of inconvenience will not cut it. You need every one of us if you are going to survive. You don’t want us to think it was good, you want us to rave of how other worldly fantastic the experience was. If and only if you do that, you might just be around next year to write me back. By the way, I would love to eat my words and I would love the opportunity to review your product because I believe in your intentions. Hopefully you are better at communicating than your communications team.  


Gilbert Ott, As Always, Get in Touch:

“Bringing Elevated Travel At Minimal Expense”

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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