I fly a lot. And it’s always coach. Thank god for my midgety legs (I stand at a towering 4 feet nine inches). The leg room is never an issue. I mean my legs typically don’t touch the ground anyway. So I’ve never found the appeal of business class. However, when I heard about Open Skies (operated by British Airways), an airline which all the seats on their planes are ALL business class, I was intrigued. Each plane only has about 80 seats, which makes a huge difference when it comes to little things like boarding and waiting at baggage claim. And since it is business class you also get to use the business lounge and go through the short line in security.
The flight I took was from Orly airport in Paris to Newark. It was a quick 8 hour flight. Another perk of being on a 80 seat plane, PLENTY of overhead storage space. In fact you’re allowed 2 checked bags and 3 carry on items, without paying any extra fee. Each seat comes with a pillow, blanket, and bottle of water. The seats don’t fully recline, but they do recline more than a coach seat.
And since the seats are spaced further apart and your try tables are located in the arm rests being fully reclined doesn’t come with the normal hassles. After getting settled in, the crew came by with hot towels and a glass of champagne. And once you hit 10,000 feet you get your personal entertainment system, aka iPad! The iPad is preloaded with a choice of movies, TV shows, music and games. Although they’re a bit light on the games (they only had 2).
Shortly after the iPads are passed out, they come with stylish white in-ear headphones which you can keep BTW, the crew comes by with drinks and snacks. It’s the standard fare of trail mix and your choice of beveridge.The meal choice on this flight was chicken with string beans and potatoes, shrimp with rice, or chinese noodles.
My travel companion asked if we could have one of each, and the very cute flight attendant obliged. So between the two of us we had 3 entrees. The entrees came with a very tasty cheese wedge, bread, and fresh mozzarella with tomato and leafy greens, which was quite good. There was a cute little bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar if you needed more flavor. The entrees were pretty good, but still tasted like plane food. The best of the batch was the chicken. A bit on the dry side the flavor was the best. And the potatoes which seemed to be partially creamy and baked with cheese was my favorite. The shrimp and rice was also decent. The more you ate the less appealing the flavors got though.
The chinese noodles were by far the least appetizing, especially in appearance. And being Chinese myself, I can pretty confidently say that those noodles were not Chinese. First off they were flat rice noodles like the kind you would find in Pad Thai. Nextly, there were red bell peppers in them. I don’t know of any Chinese noodle dish with red bell peppers in them. The other veggies included shitake mushrooms and mushy broccoli.
The noodles were redeemed however when dessert arrived. Dessert was a hazelnut chocolate mousse cake with a layer of crispy crunchy goodness. It was accompanied by a small piece of dark chocolate. Before the flight ended we were served what I think was a light lunch. It was two triangle sandwiches, one was clearly cheese, and the other one I have no idea. It had a thin layer of brown which oddly tasted like cheese, but looked more like either beef or fungus. I still ate it. It was still better than the Asian noodle.
Now Open Skies is a little known airline and when I was doing the booking there were a few things that were freaking me out. Like the fact that they do not operate in electronic or paper tickets. Once you book your ticket you are booked. You can get a rep to email the details of your itinerary, but there is no number that corresponds to an electronic ticket. You will get a booking confirmation number though. The other crazy thing about Open Skies is that it’s fairly affordable. You can get a roundtrip ticket from Newark to Paris for about $1500 (disclaimer how early you book and the time of year you travel may alter pricing), which really isn’t bad at all. And since the flights are operated by British Airways I was able to get American Airline miles for the flight.