I’m back from my quick trip on OpenSkies and I thought I’d post a very quick review:
The airline, which is a corporate cousin to British Airways (so you can get BA miles), flies 757s outfitted with 82 seats from New York to Paris (Orly). The plane is divided into Economy (nothing special there), Prem+ (a product that is probably a quarter step below most international business class and blows away domestic business), and Biz (a product that is probably half a step above most international business class, and it’s the only flat bed business class seat to Paris).
Here’s my take: You can get a roundtrip ticket in Prem+ right now for about $1700. The product is at least as good as business in Continental (about $2300 round trip over the summer) or Delta (about $4800 round trip over the summer). 52″ of pitch and a nice amount of recline make it very comfortable. With only 82 people on board, getting on and off is a snap, and there’s no worries about overhead space. Plus you can clear customs quickly without fighting 250 other people getting off your plane.
Business is, from what we could tell, the forward/backwards facing British Airways flat-bad business seats. They are very comfortable lying down and pretty comfortable sitting up. Oddly, there’s nowhere to put your stuff. I generally don’t care about food on planes, as I can survive a 7 hour flight without a 14 course meal and on the eastbound, I really just want to sleep. That said, the food was perfectly fine and offered some lighter and healthier choices than you often find.
Both Prem+ and Biz had their own minicabins, with the Biz cabins only having 12 seats in them, giving it a private jet feel. Which was quite nice.
Economy was just like coach, though with only 30 seats in a mini-cabin, it looked cramped and sad. And at less than $200 more each way, you can fly in Prem+. It’s more than worth it.
My take? All of us were blown away by the value of the Prem+ product. Seriously, it is a steal for what you get. I cannot overstate how much better it is to fly with so few people on board – the whole process (even if you were in economy) is so laid back and leisurely, without the insanity of boarding 250 other people.
The big question, of course, is whether they can survive given the fuel situation. A 757 is the right plane, and they’ve got a solid product (seriously, you should check it out), but whether they can make it work with sub-$4k business fares and sub $2k premium economy fares, it seems like a questionmark to me given the fuel situation.
Go grab a flight before the fares go up.