Posts about customerism

Silverjet & Eos

So now I’ve been lucky enough to fly both the all-business-class airlines, Eos and Silverjet, to London, as well as the Swiss all-business-class flight to Zurich. My addiction to business class and my suits are the only vestiges left of my life as a corporate executive. So here’s my report:

Eos remains the gold standard. They have fewer than 50 seats, each one a gigantic mini salon that converts to a bed at 180 degrees flat. The goodies are nice. The departure lounge in New York is luxurious and the food good. They get you a car to the airport in New York and a train ride in London, from Stanstead airport. But JFK is inconvenient for me and it costs at least 50 percent more than Silverjet (but half the price of the big airlines’ business class). If it’s not my money….

Silverjet is, appropriately, the silver-medal winner. It has 100 seats on a 767. They aren’t quite as spacious, of course, but they do lie flat, though not quite at 180 degrees. And they stay in place, which means the guy ahead of you can’t kneecap you and make you claustrophobic at bedtime. Silverjet flies out of Newark, which is quite convenient for me, and into Luton, which is small and far less harried than Heathrow. The Silverjet lounge in Newark is, like Eos’ in Stanstead, so-so (and in Newark, they couldn’t get the wi-fi to work with Macs, which drove me a bit batty). But the Silverjet lounge in Luton is quite nice, available both at departure and landing, and the check-in is a dream.

For comparison’s sake, the Swiss flight to Zurich, run by Privatair, was configured like Silverjet’s but the service wasn’t as nice. And about a year ago, I took a Lufthansa flight run by Privatair out of Munich but it had only old-style, not-flat, business-class seats. Waa-waa-waa.

The great thing about the flat-bed seats is that I get enough snoozing in to wake up a normal human on the other end and never miss a minute of work to the stupor of jetlag. It buys me a day and the way I schedule trips like my latest — with a conference and meetings with seven media organizations — that day is valuable. Really, it’s not just my leftover snobbery.

If you have the money or the expense account I recommend Eos and Silverjet heartily. They are luxuries worth the price at a better price than the big guys.

: LATER: To give further information on fares (following a comment, below), Silverjet’s run from $1,800 to $2,500 roundtrip (a premium for flexible changes). Eos’ run from $2252 to $3438 to $7500 (depending on timing).

Hotel hell

So I left my too-cute boutique hotel where I spent the first few days in London — and the first few days of that without internet access — and moved into the Landmark, a luxurious hotel where the Online Publishers Association is being held. I’m enjoying the greater space and faster internet and lovely surroundings when I jump out of my chair with horrendous noise from downstairs: a gawdawful bar mitzvah band or some such strikes up at 11:20 at night. I can hear every damned word and feel every damned beat. The front desk is deluged with complaints. But the music won’t stop. At tomorrow’s meeting, I can imagine there’ll be a lot of grumpy media machers.

BlueTube

David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue, takes to YouTube to apologize and promise better skies ahead. It’s quite unpolished but that’s part of the appeal. The guy has circles around his eyes; he’s stressed; he’s trying, and that’s what comes across. He’s using YouTube to speak directly to his customers and putting himself at their/our mercy.

Cablevision sucks

But then, that’s not news. I’ve been trying to get Joost working at home and was cursing it, but I was cursing the wrong party. Joost works fine at work. I can’t wait until Verizon finishes laying fibre on my street so I can get FIOS. Except Verizon hired the worst contractor imaginable to get the job done. They have been at it for more than two months on a street with fewer than 20 homes; they’ve managed to cut our cable and gas line and a neighbor’s electric line and they’re not nearly done. I’m about to go out with a shovel myself just so I can get rid of Cablevision sooner.

And the fee for fresh air?

JetBlue is thinking about charging for premium pillows and blankets. I’ll save the money and use it to bribe the guy in front not to slam my knees shoving his seat back.

: LATER: Stowe Boyd predicts an aftermarket on eBay. Better yet, why not sell used fluffly blankets to your fellow passengers at the gate?

Now if the airlines really want to get greedy — and, of course, they do — they’ll start taking advantage of the fluid ban and start charging us for water. Oh, you can get the free water in the bacteria-laden tank in the bank. Or we can sell you this nice bottle for a mere $5.