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Fly Kiss: a start-up airline that's taking on the low-cost giants at Luton

The new carrier will link London with three airports in provincial France

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 19 September 2016 20:21 BST
Strasbourg: the easternmost big city in France
Strasbourg: the easternmost big city in France (Simon Calder)

A French start-up airline is parking its planes on easyJet’s lawn - launching flights from Luton airport to France in November.

Fly Kiss (or Fly KISS, as it styles itself) is based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne, from which its first flights will take off on 7 November - to Luton. The airline will also fly from the Bedfordshire airport to Brest in Brittany, with an onward service to the easternmost big city in France, Strasbourg.

All three cities are currently unserved from the UK, though Clermont-Ferrand is midway between Lyon and Limoges, which both have links with London.

Flights to and from Strasbourg will take 3 hours 30 minutes, due to the indirect routing. The city, which is the part-time home of the European Parliament and full-time home of the Council of Europe, is close to Baden-Baden airport in Germany, which has a daily service on Ryanair from Stansted.

Unlike easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air - the three big airlines at Luton - Fly Kiss will operate a small 49-seat jet. It promises passengers “constant attention to quality and satisfaction”.

Fares for a series of test bookings made by The Independent were consistently €238 (£204) return to Clermont-Ferrand and Brest, and €398 (£340) to Strasbourg.

Richard Maslen, editor of Routesonline, said: “Its initial network will include a mixture of non-stop and one-stop flights which it says will significantly enhance connectivity between city pairs that have limited or no current links.”

Meanwhile, the airline serving Luton’s only scheduled transatlantic link is selling off business-class seats at bargain prices, as the demise of the route approaches. La Compagnie’s last flight to New York’s Newark airport departs on 24 September. Before that, return flights to the city are being sold at £698 return, much lower than the economy-class fare on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Previously, the minimum return fare charged by the self-styled “boutique airline” was £1,000.

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