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Last all business class carrier standing OpenSkies seems to be in an unenviable position. Its competitors have all gone bust, business travel budgets are shrinking and its acquisition of L'Avion seems to have been, shall we say, ill-timed. So the airline took to its official blog to remind everyone that, yes, times are tough, but you should still book flights with us!
We are in a fortunate position to have the strong support of an airline that has seen global economic dips and flips before: British Airways. But even though we fall under the umbrella of BA, we are still responsible for making careful and prudent decisions to ensure a superior experience. ...
[We] want to make careful, prudent, sensible decisions moving forward, moving up the items we need now, and de-emphasizing the items that can wait.
Unsurprisingly, a commenter went ahead and asked the obvious: If I buy a ticket for May 2009, what are the odds my flight will actually operate? OpenSkies' answer? Haven't seen one yet!
· Navigating the Ups and Downs [OpenSkies Blog]
· First-Person Flight Reviews: OpenSkies Is More Than Lounge Showers [Jaunted]
All Business Class Carriers / OpenSkies / L'Avion / British Airways / Open Skies / JFK / AMS / New Routes / → All Tags
OpenSkies, the premium transatlantic airline launched by British Airways, recently announced it would start Amsterdam-New York service. But the bigger news from the airline is that it's about to rip out all its economy class seats.
Yep, now that Eos, MaxJet and Silverjet have left the market, OpenSkies is going all business class, removing the 30-passenger economy cabin and filling the space with 12 "Prem+" seats with 52 inches of pitch and 140-degree recline. With the existing premium seats and first class, the carrier's one 757 will only carry 64 passengers at a time.
Why the change? The managing director of the carrier, Dale Moss, told Cranky Flier Brett Snyder that those economy seats were "a distraction." Seems he'd rather focus on new destinations instead: Boston and Washington are candidates for future service, as are Barcelona, Brussels and Milan.
What's it like to fly all business class across the Atlantic? A Jaunted tipster sent us this report about L'Avion.
Leaving Newark, there were only three people working at the counter. The line was a little long (and slow) which surprised me since this was supposed to be a business class flight. The gate area at Newark was on a very small concourse which meant security was quick but there weren't many services available after passing through.
Boarding was also very fast since there were fewer people getting on compared to a normal flight. Because there were fewer passengers, most of the overhead space was empty, which made it easy to stow carry-on luggage.
All Business Class Carriers / OpenSkies / L'Avion / British Airways / Open Skies / JFK / ORY / EWR / → All Tags
L'Avion, the last independent transatlantic all business class carrier, just got bought up by British Airways. The backer of the new premium airline OpenSkies directly competed with L'Avion for Paris to New York passengers--until today.
The deal cost BA 68 million ($108 million), though L'Avion had 33 million in cash in the bank. More importantly than eliminating the competition and getting two 757s, OpenSkies will also get L'Avion's landing slots at ORY.
We have two big questions. First, where will the newly-expanded OpenSkies fly? L'Avion served Newark, while the BA offshoot lands at JFK. A company press release mentions "up to three daily flights between Paris Orly and the New York area." The second question: Will OpenSkies make a dime off this deal?
Joe Sharkey / New York Times / British Airways / Maxjet / Eos / L'Avion / Silverjet / All Business Class Carriers / → All Tags
The passengers hung out to dry by Maxjet's bankruptcy may not agree, but the all-biz-class airline sector is booming. While Eos, Silverjet and L'Avion were likely popping champagne corks when the competition went belly up, they won't be as happy to hear that British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are joining the fray.
BA's secret plans--known as Project Lauren--could be introduced by next week, with transatlantic service between the New York area and a European city starting by May. Thanks to the Open Skies agreement, it's hard to say which city it might be, though Joe Sharkey at the New York Times says Paris is a possibility. (That'd put British Airways in direct competition with L'Avion.)
While Virgin is at work on something, details are still a bit sketchy. In the meantime, the existing boutique carriers are acquiring more planes and looking to expand, making a stylish flight to Europe more available than ever.
· Despite One Failure, Growth Is Seen in Coachless Flights [NYT]
· Maxjet coverage [Jaunted]
· Eos coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Martin Third Av'n]
Airlines / Elysair / L'Avion / Paris / New York City / → All Tags
We sure were looking forward to the Blind Melon MIDI that would inevitably wind up on Elysair's homepage, but it turns out Elysair's homepage is no more. In fact, the company itself is no more; the airline formerly known as Elysair has been re-branded as L'Avion, and its new website isn't nearly as vintage. The English version, to which you're re-directed from the old Elysair.com, isn't finished yet, but the French one is.
Do any of y'all speak French? We don't, but from what we can gather from the French-language site, special promotional prices for the launch will start at 1000 r/t. There aren't any good pictures of the seating up on the appropriate section yet, but based on a quick Google translation, we're guessing that with a 140-degree recline, seats will be more MAXjet than Eos. Also according to the Google translation, the seats' color scheme will lend itself to "sobriety and the appeasing." You can get sober and appeased between Paris and Newark starting on December 27.
· Budget airline offers Paris-NY with French frills [Reuters]
· Elysair Parties Like It's 1995 [Jaunted]