We experienced OpenSkies, a subsidiary airline of British Airways, quite curious to see what a business class only airline -which is quite uncommon- is actually like.
OpenSkies is still called L'Avion by a majority of travellers. In July 2008 BA bought this French airline for £54 million. The operations of BA European and L'Avion were merged on 4 April 2009, with the latter now operating as OpenSkies.
We did the whole travel procedure online. The OpenSkies homepage is easy to use, and proposes 3 flights per day. With a particularity: it only operates the New-York (JFK or Newark) – Paris (Orly) route. Future possible routes for the airline include Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels, Rome, and Milan; though this still remains a global project. The major advantage provided by OpenSkies is the rate, which remains very low compared with the competitors (including BA). A second advantage, which we like very much: tickets can be bought one way only. There are two categories of seats: the Biz Seat, which we are reviewing now; and the Biz Bed. It can be convenient for some to travel one way in Biz Seat, way back in Biz Bed. Price for a Biz Seat started from USD 705 during the period of our visit. Biz Bed started from USD 1580. This was a special one way offer, taxes and fees extra. This algether remains a good value for money. A third advantage: OpenSkies operates from Orly. This might be a problem, for those transiting in Roissy CDG; but this is very practical when travelling from Paris downtown. It took us 20 minutes to reach the airport by taxi.
Orly Sud is far less erratic than CDG. An airport easy to navigate, indeed. We found the EC check-in desks 2-4 immediately. Check in and security procedure (some questions concerning the content of our luggage, control of our passport and ESTA form...) took about ten minutes. We received a fast-track, avoiding to stand in queue at police control; we used the CD-airlines crew line, reaching the lounge within a few minutes. Even when travelling first class, we have never checked in so quickly. A very good bonus point for to OpenSkies.
The Salon Icare is a fine, convenient business class lounge. It might become cramped when used by too many passengers; the rest of the time, it is cozy, little bit old fashioned as it has not been redesigned much since the 80s. Nevertheless, we always loved it. It provides a great advantage: a small open air terrace allows a last cigarette before a long flight. Which might be an important detail for stressed travellers... The buffet is basic (managed by ADP, “Aéroports de Paris”), but ultimately fine if you don't expect lavish snacks... and like peanuts. The bread was excellent, and there was Laurent Perrier Brut. The WiFi signal comes from private operators, with a fee; but some computers are available, free of charge. This is therefore a good, three to four star lounge.
The flight was not
long, not boring. Right after take off -but not before- we received a
of Champagne Lanson (Laurent Perrier was served in the Biz Bed cabin),
plenty of newspapers and magazines in French and English languages, a
travel kit, and a very high-tech (maybe too much so) Archos
device, which we couldn't use. We changed it twice, but it didn't work
properly. Some passengers got the same problem. More than 50 movies
available; but we skipped the multimedia to concentrate on the dinning
options. There was no printed menu; the flight attendant asked each
whether he preferred meat or fish as a main dish. Everybody got the
appetizer: a thick, fresh piece of Marinated Salmon over a Banana Leaf.
Palatable! The silverware and glasses were actually elegant, and the
plates modern and well designed. We then ordered the Sautéed Tiger
Prawns, Broccoli and Fried Rice, which was delicious also. Perfectly
with one glass of Sancerre “Joseph Mellot, La Gravillière, 2008”.
We had our quite basic cheese plate (one piece of Emmental and some
with a glass of Bordeaux, “Château Le Bonnat”. The dessert was great:
a light, pleasantly flavoured and textured Mango Mousse Cake. This was
a superior quality business class dinner; maybe slightly inferior to
we would have got on a South East Asian airlines, though much superior
to what an American carrier or Air France can provide.
It took 10 minutes to leave the plane, 30 minutes for immigration procedure (it could be longer, depending on traffic at arrival time), then 5 minutes to sit in a limousine (or taxi; the price is more or less the same in the New York). EC 005 timetable was great: allowing us to check in our hotel in Manhattan Midtown before 10pm. Needless to say that we got no jet-lag at all; which would not have been the case, travelling Economy with another airlines.
We would rank OpenSkies as a four star airline.
LIMOUSINES IN NEW YORK
EXPRESS SHUTLE BUS IN NEW YORK
REVIEWS OF THE BEST LUXURY HOTELS AND PALACE HOTELS IN NEW YORK
REVIEWS OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN NEW YORK
REVIEWS OF THE BEST LUXURY AND PALACE HOTELS IN PARIS
REVIEWS OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN PARIS
NEW YORK TOURIST INFORMATION
PARIS TOURIST INFORMATION
RECOMMENDED BOOKS FOR FIRST CLASS TRAVELLERS & PRIVATE JETS USERS