For my summer break I decided to head to Europe. This is the first trip where I let the restaurants mold the destinations not the other way around. Needless to say I’m super excited as I’m going to try some amazing restaurants, stay tuned for those reviews later.
To get from NY to Paris I booked business class on Open Skies, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Airways, using 57.5k AAdvantage miles per person. This was the only way at the time I could fly business class with my AAdvantage miles and avoid the exorbitant ($500+) fuel surcharges of flying into or through London Heathrow’s airport.
British Airways has their full lounge offerings at JFK terminal 7 which they basically run. They have their Galleries branded business and first class lounges as well as the only other Concorde Room after Heathrow’s Terminal 5. The Concorde Room is only available to passengers actually flying first class on British metal. Our ticket got us access to the galleries business class lounge but since I am a OneWorld Emerald member I also had access to the Galleries First class lounge. Anyway the first class lounge was a total disappointment and there wasn’t a single open seat so we trekked across to the business class lounge, which was a much bigger space that was actually inviting. There was a dining area with a large self-serve buffet, a bar, a self service bar area with local beers on tap. The only downside was that they don’t have enough seating. We ended up having to sit in the dining area for the whole time as the lounge area was completely full. 50 min before our scheduled take off we headed to the gate area where I was pleasantly surprised to find it fairly empty.
I had very low expectations of Open Skies knowing that British Airways has one of the worst business class cabins flying across the Atlantic and since this was British’s little brother I expected it to be worse. I was, however, pleasantly surprised upon boarding to find that the amenity kit was supplied by Furla. A high-end fashion brand; this at least told me that they are investing in the small touches. And that the champagne on offer was Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve, a $50 bottle, which is really good for a business class cabin. Until recently that was better than what American offered in First class.
After a typical but excruciatingly long taxi time at JFK we were airborne. Immediately the crew passed out iPads loaded with movies to the business class passengers. One thing I didn’t mention is that the aircraft being used on this flight was an ancient Boeing 757 with subpar amenities. As this was an overnight flight, however, I didn’t watch any of the movies although they did have a small but decent collection of new releases.
Shortly after that the meal service began. There was only one option to choose from, meat or pasta. I chose the beef option and was very pleasantly surprised to have the best steak I’ve ever had on a plane. It was tender and medium rare. I would have enjoyed that steak back on the ground no problem. With dinner I continued to enjoy the champagne as it was the only good option.
Immediately after dinner I made my bed and tried to go to sleep. Although I loved not having a foot well in business class the seat was too short for me and I couldn’t stretch out. I do think I prefer this to a restrictive foot well but either way not ideal as it made sleep very interrupted. But I did manage to sleep a few hours on the relatively short flight, as I woke up upon our initial descent into Paris Orly.
I had a cup of tea and a croissant which was flakey and crispy as it should be. Within the hour we had touched down in Paris and we were the first two off the plane and into the deserted customs. As we didn’t check any bags we were curbside waiting for our Uber within 10 minutes. All in all I loved being able to fly directly into Paris Orly versus the bigger Charles De Gaulle. It was a perfectly adequate way to get from NY to Paris and get us there in time for our restaurant tour through Europe.