The ultimate luxury travel experience to the island of St. Maarten is now available with La Compagnie and its brand-new Airbus A321LR aircraft, offering a top-tier onboard product that includes lie-flat seats, three-course meals, champagne, fine wines, and unlimited high-speed free Wi-Fi.
Beginning November 19, this French all-Business Class airline will operate flights from Newark to St. Maarten, bringing unparalleled luxury to the US-Caribbean market.
Chartered by New Jersey-based tour operator E. Clarke Travel, these flights are part of deluxe holiday packages to the Caribbean destination and the nearby Anguilla and Saint Barth islands. The tour operator has carefully selected a short list of the best hotels and villas for guests.
Reservations are now open on the tour operator’s website and at selected travel agents. Departures are scheduled for every Sunday morning, with returns in the early afternoon until the end of April 2024.
Guests will enjoy a VIP experience in the air and on the ground. Upon arrival in Saint Maarten, they will be met by an agent who will take care of their luggage in a dedicated facility nearby the ‘regular’ terminal and then accompanied to their hotels via private vans, planes, or boats.
When it’s time to head back home, guests can access dedicated check-in desks and fast-track security and immigration at Princess Juliana International Airport. They can relax in a dedicated area just a few steps from their gate while they await boarding, enjoying the ultimate luxury travel experience from start to finish.
Boarding and Cabin
Business Traveler was on the flight organized in mid-April by E. Clarke Travel to test the onboard product its distinguished guests will enjoy onboard La Compagnie between Newark and Saint Marteen.
Nestled in Newark’s Terminal B, La Compagnie’s four dedicated desks on Level 2 offer a hassle-free check-in experience. Arriving at the airport with ample time to spare, I was struck by how smoothly the process took seconds to complete.
After receiving my boarding pass, I eagerly took advantage of the fast-track service offered exclusively to La Compagnie passengers, bypassing the lines at immigration and security.
It was a relief to avoid the usual airport chaos and instead relax in the comfort of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse by Plaza Premium lounge on the floor above our B57 gate. La Compagnie’s attention to detail and dedication to customer satisfaction was apparent from start to finish, making for a delightful travel experience.
As I entered the windowless facility, I was immediately struck by the lovely décor and ambient lighting that created a welcoming atmosphere. The abundance of plush armchairs and comfortable sofas provided ample seating options for travelers, while the wide variety of food and drink offerings catered to all tastes and preferences. However, on this particular Sunday morning, the lounge was bustling with activity as La Compagnie shared the space with other carriers.
Despite the crowd, the vibrant energy of the lounge and the warmth of its ambiance made for a comfortable and pleasant experience.
Settling into a plush armchair, I ordered a delicious cappuccino and a slice of marble cake, savoring the rich flavors and textures.
As my departure time approached, I made my way to the gate, anticipation building with each step. Upon entering the Airbus A321LR, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the cabin. The charcoal grey seats and carpets provided a sleek backdrop, perfectly offset by the vivid azure of the headrests. The ambiance was elegant and inviting, creating a serene and calming environment.
As I made myself comfortable in my seat, I was delighted to find a pillow and azure duvet thoughtfully packed in a plastic bag, along with a bottle of water and noise-insulating headphones.
Just before pushback, grey suede, La Compagnie-branded vanity kits were distributed, adding an extra touch of luxury to the experience.
As our La Compagnie flight taxied towards the runway at Newark, the Captain’s voice came over the intercom, promising a quick 3-hour and 35-minute journey to Saint Maarten. He also excitedly mentioned the stunning approach we would soon take over the famous Maho Beach, adding to the anticipation of our arrival.
As we soared through the clouds, the flight remained remarkably smooth and tranquil, providing ample opportunity to relax and enjoy the exceptional in-flight amenities. However, as we began our final descent into Saint Maarten, heavy traffic briefly impeded our progress, forcing us to circle for a few minutes before continuing our approach.
With only a single runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, traffic control can be challenging. Still, the skilled pilots expertly navigated the situation, ensuring an on-time and smooth landing.
As I settled into my seat, I was greeted with a choice of Piper Heidsieck champagne or orange juice—both served in elegant glassware. The scent of La Compagnie’s warm towels filled the air as cabin service began, with the flight attendants quickly circulating to take orders for aperitifs.
I savored the delightful mix of mixed nuts and red dried fruits alongside a second glass of champagne. Then, approximately one and a half hours into the flight, the appetizers were served, with the choice between a delectable grilled shrimp dish with mango chutney, quinoa salad, and wakame seaweed or a classic Caesar salad.
For the main course, I was presented with the options of penne pasta with mushrooms, chicken breast with grilled asparagus, fava beans, roasted tomatoes, or grilled shrimp with rice and vegetables.
I selected the ‘surf & turf’ meal, savoring the succulent shrimp before savoring the tender chicken, each perfectly paired with a glass of 2019 Chablis and 2020 Mercurey red wine, respectively.
The culinary journey continued with a small cheese platter served with fig compote, followed by a delectable blueberry cheesecake, and finished with coffee or tea and digestives.
La Compagnie’s two A321LRs are thoughtfully designed with comfort in mind, featuring 20 rows of seats in a 2-2 cross-section with a generous 62″ (158cm) pitch. The Collins Aerospace Diamond seats are spacious at 22″ (56cm) in width and offer the luxury of transforming into a 75.5″ (192cm)-long flat bed.
Although personal space is abundant, storage space is limited. However, the 2-2 configuration can make it challenging for passengers seated near the windows to access the aisle, especially when the neighboring seat is in ‘bed configuration.’
The 15.7″ (40cm) individual screens provide ample viewing space, and the In-flight Entertainment System includes around 60 movies, 40 music playlists, games, and 3D moving maps.
Moreover, the Wi-Fi connectivity is fast and stable throughout the flight, ensuring a seamless browsing experience.
La Compagnie provides a remarkable onboard experience, unparalleled by any other airline, for passengers traveling from the United States to the Caribbean. The luxurious seats, exquisite food and drink options, and other onboard amenities create an ambiance reminiscent of a private jet rather than a commercial airliner.
This exceptional comfort and exclusivity make it an ideal choice for travelers seeking a deluxe holiday to high-end destinations like Saint Marteen, Anguilla, and Saint Barth.