Review of OpenSkies flight Newark Paris in Business

Airline OpenSkies
Flight BA8004
Class Business
Seat 1A
Flight time 07:30
Take-off 17 Aug 17, 20:25
Arrival at 18 Aug 17, 09:55
EC   #73 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 24 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 3438
Published on 18th October 2017
For our annual summer pilgrimage back to the Mother Land, we decided to fly OpenSkies by British Airways from Newark to Paris-Orly. I've always had a soft spot for OpenSkies–the little airline that could. As oneworld loyalists living in Washington, DC, there have not been any nonstop oneworld flight options to France since OpenSkies discontinued operations from Washington-Dulles in 2012. Therefore, flying to Paris always entails a connection–whether it be American Airlines through an East Coast gateway or British Airways via London-Heathrow. Over the years, I've found EWR to be a viable option from D.C. as there is an Amtrak train station right at Newark Liberty airport. The train ride of 2h45m right from downtown D.C. is relatively painless. It's a decent alternative to transiting in JFK or LHR, in my opinion.

Although I'd flown OpenSkies several times, this would be the first time I'd get to try the 767. OpenSkies have had one lone Boeing 767-300ER in the fleet, transferred from parent BA about a year ago. OpenSkies have generally had a consistent product in all cabins with an all-757 fleet until recently. For comparison purposes, feel free to check out my previous Flight-Report on OpenSkies 757 Business class [CLICK HERE] .

Tickets were bought directly on BA.com. I had reserved seat 1A as it is one of only two window seats in the Business class cabin with direct aisle access due to the bulkhead in front. Window seats on BA aircraft are normally rear-facing, so the last row in the Business cabin is best for window seats with direct aisle access. The 767 configuration has the only forward-facing window seats, as far as I know. (A side only)

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Pre-flight



We arrived at the Newark Liberty Amtrak station right on time from D.C. and took the AirTrain to Terminal B. There are great views of the tarmac from the AirTrain.

United's Terminal C with lower Manhattan in the background.

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There's no question that United rules EWR.

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More Star Alliance carriers…

SAS A330-300

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TAP A330-200

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Check-in was quick with an efficient and courteous agent at the Club World (Business Class) counter.

With Global Entry, I normally have access to TSA Precheck on outbound flights; however, British Airways don't participate in the "Trusted Traveler" Programme so there is no access to the Precheck lanes when flying BA. Luckily, It only took a few minutes to get through security via the normal premium lane.

The lounge



After a quick stop at duty free, we headed up one level to the BA lounge. The elevators are located on the right, immediately after the security checkpoint.

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Like most other BA lounges in the system, the Newark lounge had recently been renovated with the new style.

Overall, the Newark lounge looks quite nice and spacious.

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There is a good choice of adult beverages. Unlike many other BA lounges, there was no champagne available; however, they did have a decent Rosé Prosecco.

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Nice views from the lounge.

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A dining room is reserved for First and Club World passengers on London flights and Business class passengers on OpenSkies flights to Paris.

Boarding passes are checked at the entrance to the dining room. Light snacks and finger sandwiches are available in the main lounge area.

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The dining room is quite large, which is good considering there are multiple daily flights to LHR and ORY. A section in the right corner of the dining area is reserved for First class passengers. I imagine there is table service in the First class section, as in other BA First lounges.

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For Business class, the food is served buffet style, though there are friendly staff in the dining room who offer to bring drinks.

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There is a decent selection of hot dishes including chicken, fish, and build-your-own tacos.

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For the appetizer course, I made myself seafood and chicken tacos with some vegetables.

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Mini Vietnamese-style seafood rice noodle salad in a glass. Cute.

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Rosé bubbly to go with the meal.

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For the main course, grilled chicken, fish, and some sort of onion tart with roasted vegetables. The fish was great with a nice butter sauce, though the chicken was on the dry side.

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For dessert, a cheese plate, berry parfait, strawberries and granola with a nice thick Chantilly cream.

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After dinner I had a quick shower to freshen up before the overnight flight.

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More views from the far end of the lounge.

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It was pleasantly uncrowded.

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I was surprised to see an Air Canada widebody at EWR; it seems the Vancouver-Newark route is operated by a 788. I suppose it makes sense to have a widebody on a route with Star Alliance hubs on both ends.

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The 787 show continues with the arrival of a BA 789 from LHR.

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Boarding



We headed to the gate a few minutes before boarding was due to begin. Unfortunately, as our gate was in a corner, there were no good views of our aircraft.

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Boarding began on time with a call for Business class and Executive Club Gold/oneworld Emerald passengers. We boarded through door 1L where we were warmly greeted by two French members of the cabin crew.

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The Biz Bed/Business class cabin is outfitted with 30 first-generation Club World seats. These are the same seats found on the OpenSkies 757 fleet. Compared to the newer generation of updated Club World seats, these seats are a bit narrower at the shoulder level and lack storage and privacy. They are, however, reasonably comfortable with good padding and go fully flat, of course.

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My seat for the next 8 hours. As you can see, the A-side window seats are forward-facing.

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Unlike the K-side, which are backwards-facing like all other BA Club World window seats on other aircraft types.

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A pillow, blanket, bottled water, and the amenity kit can be found in the seat upon boarding.

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The amenity kit with pre-departure champagne in the background. Contents are the usual eye-shades, socks, ear plugs, pen, and Elemis hand creme. The Furla bag itself seems to be an upgrade from the usual amenity kits found in BA Club World.

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Although the seats are on the narrow side, the legroom is great.

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Slippers are provided and stored in the footrest along with the noise-cancelling headphones.

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As the flight wasn't very full, boarding was completed early and we pushed back a bit before schedule. The taxi time was short by NYC standards and we were off.

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In-flight



The Business class cabin shortly after takeoff. It was pleasantly quiet as the cabin was less than half full.

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We were the only ones in the bulkhead row.

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Once at cruising altitude, cabin crew handed out complimentary pajamas in the Business class cabin. On parent airline British Airways, this amenity is generally only found in First Class.

A lovely collector's item for an #AvGeek! It's even got a cute little bow :-)

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Another amenity found in OpenSkies Business class reminiscent of First class is the turndown service. Cabin crew distribute mattress pads and sheets to all passengers and offer to make up the bed once one is ready to sleep.

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I wasn't ready for sleep as it was still early and I wanted to check out the dinner service (Yes, I know I'd already stuffed my face in the lounge ^^).

So I decided to check out the IFE before dinner. Whoa…Hello 1997! Yikes.

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On the 757s, there is no built-in IFE, so iPads are made available in all classes. On the 767, iPads are also made available to Business class and Premium Economy passengers (I don't believe they're available in Economy). It's nice to have the option of using an iPad given the poor image quality on the built-in IFE; however, using an iPad isn't practical on the 767 as there isn't anywhere convenient to place it, except the tray table. So I made due with the retro-IFE.

It wasn't bad, to be honest. Despite the older hardware, the content seems to be the same as you would normally have on BA's Highlife Entertainment.

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On this short Transatlantic red-eye flight, dinner consists of an express service with just a main dish and a dessert. Considering that the flight time is short and that passengers have an opportunity to have a full dinner in the lounge, this is fine. However, I find this trend in express service to be a bit of a shame as some passengers may not care to sleep and may not have had a chance to dine in the lounge. While many business travellers are happy to go to sleep immediately after takeoff, I imagine many leisure travellers in Premium cabins look forward to a decent meal experience. For those passengers it would be nice to have the option of a full dinner service.

Sorry, I must have forgotten to take photos of the menu (shameful!), but If I remember correctly there were three choices of mains: a fish dish, a beef dish, and ravioli. I went for the ravioli shown below. It doesn't look like much, but it was tasty.

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I stuck with champagne with the meal and had another glass of champagne with dessert.

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After dinner it was time for bed. Here is the seat in full flat mode.

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I didn't feel it was necessary to bother one of the FAs after dinner so I went ahead and made up the bed myself with the matress pad, sheets, and cover.

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I slept really well for a good 4 hours or so and woke up as we were reaching the coast of Brittany.

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These old-style moving maps always remind me of my childhood.

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The cabin in the morning.

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For those who were awake, a continental breakfast was served about an hour before landing.

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There was also the possibility to get a breakfast to go, which is a nice option.

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Window IFE during breakfast. It was a cloudy day over Northern France.

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On final approach to Orly airport.

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Château de Grosbois a few Km to the east of Orly in the Val-de-Marne department.

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Crossing over the river Seine.

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We landed about 40 minutes early; however, the crew announced we were taxiing to a remote stand, which ended up negating the early arrival.

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We taxiied past a French Blue A330 on our way to the remote stand. I believe the new-ish French Long-haul LCC only has 2 aircraft (1 A330 and 1 A350).

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An OpenSkies 757 was parked across the way.

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Buses were already waiting to take us to the terminal as we pulled up to the stand. Unfortunately, it seemed the ground crew didn't have a pair of airstairs on hand so we couldn't deplane. It took about 20 minutes for the stairs to be brought up to the aircraft. Luckily we enjoyed a good chat with our two lovely cabin crew as we waited.

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British Airways Speedmarque on the bulkhead.

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Even though it was raining, I didn't mind deplaning from a remote stand as we weren't in a big rush and there were good views of our aircraft.

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It was a quick ride to the terminal. Once there, we were through immigration in minutes and bags were out shortly after arriving at the carousel. In my experience, bags tend to come out more quickly upon arriving at Orly vs. CDG.

Thanks for reading!
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Verdict

OpenSkies

7.0/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi4.5
Meal/catering7.0

British Airways Galleries Lounge

8.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.0

Newark - EWR

8.3/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Paris - ORY

7.3/10
Efficiency6.0
Access8.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

A very pleasant flight with Open Skies thanks to an amazingly friendly and attentive cabin crew. A great crew and good service can really make up for an otherwise outdated hard product. The upgraded First Class-like amenities found on OpenSkies Business class, such as the turndown service and pajamas, are certainly a nice touch that differentiate OpenSkies from parent British Airways. As previously mentioned, the first generation Club World seats in the Biz Bed cabin are comfortable, but on the narrow side compared to newer generation CW seats. The main negatives were the ancient IFE and lack of storage. All in all, OpenSkies offer a solid product in Business class on the 767, though not quite as good as on the 757 fleet.

Information on the route Newark (EWR) Paris (ORY)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 10 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Newark (EWR) → Paris (ORY).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is La Compagnie with 7.4/10.

The average flight time is 6 hours and 52 minutes.

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12 Comments

  • Comment 416565 by
    dreamweaver888 73 Comments

    Delightful report about a fascinating boutique carrier! Thanks!

  • Comment 416586 by
    KL651 TEAM 4455 Comments

    Thanks for this FR gurrrl.
    The nice amnity kit and pajamas indeed make up for the older seat.
    I agree with your analysis on the light dinner, one should still be able to preorder a full meal before the flight in case you did not go to the lounge.
    Too bad there aren"t pics of THE steward of that flight ^^

  • Comment 416602 by
    Rewardflying GOLD 466 Comments

    Nice report Kevin. Wow, PJ's in business class, sign me up! It sure looks like these seats are more comfortable than BA's standard business seat. And you certainly got the primo location. Great job.

    • Comment 416616 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4998 Comments

      Thank you sir! Yes, PJs in J is definitely nice. The seats seem better padded than newer generation Club World seats, most likely because they were recently re-upholstered, but in general, the standard BA are a bit more comfortable to me as the seats are wider at shoulder level. Yep, definitely a good location--forward-facing window seat with direct aisle access. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 416665 by
    757Fan 565 Comments

    Great report, Kevin! It looks like you had a good flight with Open Skies. I didn't realize that a 767 has been added to their fleet - the seat doesn't look that bad and glad you were able to get some good sleep on the short flight.

    Wow, does that IFE monitor totally bring you back to 1998!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Comment 416681 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4998 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thanks for your comments. They've only had the one 767 for about a year, but they don't really advertise it much. As I said in the report, the Business class is pretty much the same as on the 757 fleet, but Premium Economy is noooothing like the 757 Premium Economy. The 767 retired from the BA fleet and the interior was not changed except for upholstery, so unlike the 757 fleet, the Premium Economy cabin is BA's old World Traveller Plus product and not the old-style business class seats found in the 757 Premium Economy cabin. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 416732 by
    Panduwskt 10 Comments

    Hi Kevin,
    I love this report! With that matress pad, pajamas and nice amenity kit I would totally neglect the lame IFE, if I were there :D

    • Comment 416786 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4998 Comments

      Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it! The bad IFE wasn't really a problem as I slept much of the flight. I put on Beauty and the Beast and just listened to the music as I fell asleep, lol. Thanks for your comments.

  • Comment 416885 by
    indianocean SILVER 6608 Comments

    I really like the design of the BA Galleries lounges. It's so much nicer when it's not crowded like the ones in LHR.

    Hard product is quite good, of course below compared to Air France B&B product and I like the fact that Openskies gives pyjama, matress to Business class passengers.
    IFE is not really important from NYC to Paris as one prefers resting than viewing a movie but not from Paris to US.

    Thank you for sharing Kevin

    • Comment 419072 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4998 Comments

      Oops! Sorry, not sure how I missed your comment. I also like the new BA Galleries design...and yes, the LHR lounges can be unpleasant when crowded, but I've been lucky in recent experience (we'll see how they are next week!). Air France BEST Hard product definitely beats BA CW...by a lot. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your comments Bernard!

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