There are a lot of airlines that fly between New York City and Paris, France. Throughout the day, dozens of flights depart from JFK and Newark airports and glide over the Atlantic Ocean to the big, bustling Charles de Gaulle airport, located roughly an hour from central Paris. Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the six (sometimes seven) hour journey in quiet, luxury and convenience – landing a mere 20 minutes from your final destination? Well, that is possible with British Airways subsidiary, OpenSkies Airlines.
The airline sponsored our flights to Paris Fashion Week, making our interviews, experiences and show-attendance possible. They jetted us safe and sound from Newark Liberty International Airport to Paris’ much smaller and more convenient Orly Airport. Most of the time, to me anyway, flights are a non-thought and really have to step outside of the box for me to take notice. OpenSkies did just that. The airplanes are large and comfortable Boeing 757s and are outfitted with three classes of service; Economy, Premium Economy and Biz Bed. I flew Premium Economy.
The first thing I noticed was that the airplane felt more intimate and had less seats – in anticipation for the customer’s comfort. You didn’t get the impression you’d be flying in a tightly-packed sardine can to the City of Lights – even in Economy. Instead, my cabin, billed as “Premium Economy”, felt more like traditional business class in every sense of the word. Plush pillows, warm blankets, a toiletry kit and bottles of water waited for me on the seat upon my arrival. My leather seat was comfortable and nicely positioned, allowing a truly huge space to stretch out and recline the seat into a state where I could comfortably rest, fully extended, for the duration.
When I first sat down, the friendly flight crew welcomed me with orange juice and champagne, neatly dressed in their British Airways uniforms. I stowed my baggage above me in the overhead compartment and finally began to relax. Shortly after takeoff, my dinner order was taken (I had a surprisingly delicious chicken and pasts dish) and I was handed my own personal iPad pre-loaded with over 70 hours of television, movies and games for my enjoyment. I thought this might be a service strictly for my cabin and for those ahead in the Biz Bed cabin, but I was wrong. Everyone on the plane got an iPad. For a minute, I felt like I was an audience member at “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. I was tempted to look under my seat to see what other surprise might be waiting for me.
The flight was safe, smooth and the captain generously refrained from announcements throughout the journey, allowing passengers to sleep and relax. After two movies, I dozed-off to wake in time for breakfast being served before landing at Orly Airport. Because the airport is less congested than Charles de Gaulle, the plane quickly parked and passengers were offloaded and quickly taken through immigration to collect their luggage. It was a snap. And, the best part, I was unpacking my bag in the hotel room 25 minutes after getting in a cab at the terminal.
All in all, this is now my airline of choice when traveling to Paris. They also fly between JFK and Orly Airport, making that route another option for the New York area. The Biz Bed cabin has completely flat seats for those who really want to zone out and sleep from point A to point B. They also serve Laduree gifts in that cabin. Travelers can book their tickets at flyopenskies.com directly or at British Airways’ ba.com. OpenSkies is that special, boutique experience that rarely exists on flights nowadays between the United States and Europe. Once you’ve had it, it’s hard to go back.
* Photos provided by British Airways