first class around the world leading luxury travel magazine

un-flight review openskies ba new york paris

Still called L'Avion by a majority of travellers, OpenSkies is a subsidiary airline of British Airways. It has the particularity of operating two “business class only” aircrafts (Boeing 757) on one unique route: New York -Paris. OpenSkies is not a member of any airline alliance and has no affiliation with the Oneworld alliance of which parent British Airways is a founding member. However, British Airways Executive Club members are able to claim tier points and BA miles on OpenSkies flights. All of OpenSkies' aircraft are fitted with blended winglets to increase range, improve fuel efficiency and decrease CO2 emissions. The cabin on all the aircraft is divided into two sections which together provide seating for 64 or 84 passengers depending on configuration (a standard B757 seats 180 till 200 passengers...). We have inspected both sections: the Biz Seat, between Paris-Orly and New York – JFK, and we are hereby publishing our impression about the Biz Bed, between New York – Newark and Paris-Orly. 

EC (IATA code for OpenSkies) departs from JFK and Newark three times per day. JFK is more crowded; but this is a fine airport for tax-free shopping... and tax-free refund, which is not provided at Newark. So those who purchase electronics or fine clothes should rather use JFK. Newark is a smaller airport, which allows very quick travel procedure. A 35 minutes limousine/taxi ride from Manhattan Midtown, it is actually easy to reach. It took us five minutes to find out the EC desk, and five more minutes to check our electronic tickets and luggage. We had called beforehand the very convenient "Concierge" hot line,  just to reconfirm our flight, and everything was already in order. This is what we would indeed call express check in! The security procedure took less than in Orly, and was all done before accessing the lounge; allowing plenty of time to relax before boarding. 

The Terminal B Lounge is shared between the Indian Jet Airways, occupying a separated corner section, and EC. Well designed for passengers' comfort, it provides a stress-free experience.  It displays a good selection of beverages. Champagne is Piper-Heidsieck. Light dining is provided. Good selection of newspapers and magazines. Internet is complimentary. Comfortable seating; even when the lounge fills itself with travellers.. This is a three to four star business lounge, which we found actually pleasant.  

Boarding EC004, we were immediately impressed by the comfort of the Biz Bed cabin.  We felt like we were sitting in a private jet: there were only 12 seats and, though it was 80% full, we felt like a great intimacy after drawing on the thick curtain separating our seat from our neighbour. This was a night flight, and we didn't regret this option, costing 50% more than the Biz Seat. Many special offers apply, making this luxury available from USD 1580, one way, taxes and fees extra.  Biz Seat starts from USD 705, and will remain our option for the day flights: this is a splendid value for money. 

We received a glass of Laurent Perrier Brut from the welcoming stewardess, just a few minutes upon boarding. She took care of our coat, jacket and hand luggage. We took off at 7:05pm, as scheduled. The B757 is actually a smooth, reliable aircraft, tailored made to cross the Atlantic Ocean. We suffered few, if no turbulences. The silent engines allow a relaxing cabin atmosphere. 

There is not, from what we experienced, difference of treatment between the Biz Seat and Biz Bed sections; though the Champagne was different (Lanson in Biz Seat; Laurent Perrier in Biz Bed). The attendant inquired whether we wished to have dinner or not, and if we wouln't mind a wake up for breakfast; many passengers preferred to sleep the all flight. 

There was no printed menu. Just some suggestion by the stewardess. We got a light, nicely textured Prune Stuffed Chicken Galantine. We liked very much the Grilled Salmon, Steamed Rice with a Saffron Sauce, Green Beans and Asparagus: it didn't look like at all airlines food. We had it with a well chilled glass of Sancerre “Joseph Mellot, La Gravillière, 2008”. We recommend this white wine from the Centre of France, which we already enjoyed on EC between Paris and New York. The Raspberry Fondant was as light like as a cloud. The coffee was nothing more than a basic American blend; but it was quite fine with a Manon chocolate. A last glass of Cointreau helped us to be fast asleep, after converting our entirely electronically controlled seat into a 180° completely flat bed. We actually believed we were in our own bed.  

There was a great multimedia system -better than in the Biz Seat section-  with integrated LCD flat-screen, plenty of music, movies, news... But would hardly tell you what we think about it, as we just woke up one hour before landing.  We got a light, good breakfast: featuring low-fat cheese with strawberries, and freshly baked brioches with Wilkinson jam.  

We landed in Paris right on time: 08:50am. Traffic gets fine between Orly and Paris downtown after 9am, and the public means of transportation are quick and reliable.  Fresh like a baby, we could start of full day of activities in the capital city of France! Such is the miracle of a night flight in such good conditions. 

Openskies is a four star airline.  


 contact email

Copyright first class around the world