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Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
· Alaska Airlines:
The paint is hardly dry on the salmon-thirty-salmon, but it’s already time for Alaska Airlines to pick a new city to serve. This week it sounds like the carrier has its eyes on Salt Lake City, as they’re planning nonstop flights over to Utah from Seattle.
The new flights are not doing their thing just yet, but the fun is scheduled to begin on April 4 of next year. It sounds like things will run a couple times per week, and to celebrate the new options one-way fares can be had for as little as $99. Just be sure to get those credit card digits ready, as the special offer only runs for bookings completed by November 8.
Despite the disturbance of Hurricane Sandy earlier in the week, JetBlue fleet's is back on turf in time to begin their nonstop from JFK to Cartagena, Colombia TODAY (November 2). Believe it or not, this is the only straight route from the New York area to Cartagena, the cultural capital of Colombia. On an A320, the flight is scheduled to leave JFK at 8:25am and land at CTG at after noon, three times a week (Tues, Fri, Sat), meaning breakfast at the airport and lunch on the Caribbean. JetBlue already flies to Bogota from both Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
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Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. The award categories cover the best cities, islands, hotels, cruise lines and airlines. For now, we're going to focus on those last twothe forms of transportation.
We've only noted the top three airlines in each category below, but see the complete rankings over at CN Traveler.
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Some airlines giveth, some airlines taketh away. Depending on how you prefer to travel, this could be a matter of both. British Airways' all-premium cousin, OpenSkies has announced the addition of a third class onto their 757s flying over the Atlantic. Besides the Biz Beds and Biz Seats, passengers can now expect an all new, Eco Class
Looking back at the history of this BA subsidiary, this 3-class concept is not new at all. When first launched, OpenSkies originally had a small economy cabin that offered customers a more upscale flying experience. After the merger with L'Avion in 2008, aircraft were reconfigured to an all-business class model featuring both lie-flat and recliner business class seats.
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If you’re looking to get away this month, how about Paris? The only downer is that you’ll have to settle for business class—we know—that does sound like roughing it.
All-business-class carrier OpenSkies is pulling out of the Washington, DC area at the end of October, so that means they’re selling the last available seats for quite a deal. You’ll have to fly this month, and you’ll need to go between Washington-Dulles and Paris-Orly. However, if you can swing the dates and the destinations there might be flights available for as low as $750 roundtrip—and that includes taxes!
Inside an OpenSkies cabin
Here's a bit of news you don't hear every day: OpenSkies, the British Airways-owned all-business class airline that flies between the US and France, is offering a money-back guarantee on their flights. To put it simply, if you don't enjoy the service the OpenSkies flight experience, then you can request a refund for your ticket price, which is usually at least $1500 round-trip.
The deal, announced today via the AP and Facebook, is called "Try OpenSkies, Love Everything or Pay Nothing." To take advantage of it, you've got to book and fly a round-trip with them from Newark or DC-Dulles to one of their three French destinationsParis, Lyon, Nantesby November 30, 2010. Then you've got to have a horrible flight, and who wants that to happen?
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]
Well, America, the big vote is tomorrow. In fact, we thought today would be so full of breathless electoral predictions, there wouldn't be a sliver of travel news worth talking about.
Instead, there was all sorts of craziness, from bipartisan support for massive earthworks celebrating presidential aspirants to Ryanair's insistence that we'll be flying transatlantic for $13 (plus tax, natch) by 2009.
If the rumor mill can be trusted, that seems like the only price that can lead to success: The all biz class upstart OpenSkies might be having some money trouble of its own.
· Transatlantic Flights for $13 Coming Soon [BT]
· Mega-Sized Barack Obama Portrait in Sand [FP]
· Previously: Mega-Sized Sarah Palin in Corn Field [Jaunted]
· Possible Internal OpenSkies Memo about the Global Recession [Airliners.net]
· British Airways Staff Also Abusing Passengers on Facebook [Travel Weekly UK]
[Photo: Voz Over]
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So now that it's a verifiable all-business-class carrier, what's it like? Blogger Will Allen was on a recent flight--but seemed more interested in the shower situation on the ground than the in-flight service:
One hour later my cell phone buzzed, and I received my answer: No showers in the OpenSkies Amsterdam lounge. However, they hastened to add, public showers are available free of charge at Schiphol, so long as one brings one's own towel and soap.
But business travel obsessive Joe Brancatelli has more scoop:
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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.
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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?
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The new carrier OpenSkies successfully began its New York to Paris (ORY) route on June 19, and so far things are going smoothly. The airline seeks to battle increasing operating costs with its unique model of pricey business class seats with a limited economy cabin. Says British Airways CEO Willie Walsh:
While the economic climate has worsened in recent months, we believe that OpenSkies can compete effectively. It has a low cost base and support from British Airways in key areas such as sales and marketing. This differentiates it from some new airlines that have failed recently which were operating in isolation.
First hand trip reports from the inaugural flights have been slow to roll in. But Ben from the One Mile at a Time blog was on that first flight and offers some great pictures and experiences of the Prem+ cabin:
The seat was much wider, at least around the shoulders, which made it easy to get comfortable. I also found the leather to be non-sticky and easy to find a comfortable position in, which is a big plus. Each seat included a very stylish OpenSkies pillow and comfortable blanket. Overall I can't find one thing to fault the seats for, and would find them easy to sleep in.
Have your own trip report to share? Send it our way.
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What fuel prices? British Airways is launching its spin-off carrier OpenSkies on June 19, and fares in the airline's "Prem+" cabin are starting as low as $720 one-way between Paris (ORY) and JFK.
We found a round-trip booking in June for $1,553 all-in, which isn't bad considering cattle class on OpenSkies for the same dates we searched is $1,250. (L'Avion is doing Newark-ORY on those dates for $2,280.)
The Prem+ cabin gets you 52 inch seat pitch, a 140 degree recline and two power plugs per seat. Not that regular economy is bad: With only 30 seats, your chances of sharing the cabin with a screaming infant are drastically reduced.
If you wanna sit in business class, the same dates will cost you $3,662. But you'll kick it with fully flat beds, more leg room than you need and a la carte dining.