All links removed. OpenSkies is no longer in business.
OpenSkies, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Airways (BA), starts service today with direct flights from New York (JFK) to Paris (Orly) – one flight a day. They plan to expand to flying from New York to several European destinations. Previously European airlines could not fly to or from the US from any country except their own. This all changed with the new Open Skies regulation (confusing, the airline has the same name as the regulation – but catchy too). My post on the Slow Travel Talk Forums (Dec 2007) has links to articles about this new legislation.
OpenSkies offers a premium 3-class service – Economy, Prem+, Biz – on fuel-efficient Boeing 757s, redesigned to reduce the standard 180 seat configuration to 82 seats. Biz (business class) has 24 seats (convert into flatbeds), Prem+ (premium economy) has 28 seats (wider seats with more recline and legroom than usually Premium Economy), Economy has 30 seats. As with all BA flights, seats are assigned at checkin (online checkin available 24 hrs ahead). The checked baggage allowance is similar: Economy passengers get 2 checked bags, Prem+ and Biz get 3.
The OpenSkies website has an overview of the features and a blog!
OpenSkies has a sale on Prem+ to Paris – $1500 plus $110 taxes return, book by July 4, travel from July 4 to August 31, return must be by August 31.
It is strange to see a new premium airline starting after the failures of business-class only airlines MaxJet and EOS, and the almost failure of SilverJet, but OpenSkies is different because it offers three classes of service, not just one. Many other airlines offer direct service from New York to Paris – so it will be interesting to see the reactions to this new airline.
Flight Times and Prices
Here are the times and sample prices (for a flight in mid-September) from New York to Paris.
- Depart JFK (New York) at 5:30pm – arrive Orly (Paris) at 7:25am (7hr 55min)
- Depart Orly (Paris) at 10:55am – arrive JFK (New York) at 1:25pm (8hr 30min)
Prices for a mid-September return flight (taxes included):
Economy $1009, Prem+ $2255, Biz $3801
The prices are not cheap, but airline prices have gone up recently. These prices are more expensive than flying BA through London to Paris.
I cannot find a seat map on the OpenSkies site, the British Airways-OpenSkies site or on SeatGuru. Matthew Bennet has not posted anything about this new airlines on FlightBliss, but I am sure he will soon (I am devoted to his First Class Flyer newsletter and FlightBliss). I posted on the OpenSkies blog asking for seat configuration information.
International Herald Tribune – British Airways bets that wealthy fliers will pay to be pampered, The Associated Press, June 19 2008
Bloomberg.com – British Airways Subsidiary Begins Paris-U.S. Flights, by Tracy Alloway, June 19 2008