I promised some curious folks a report card on my trip on Eos, the new, all-first-class airline that flies between New York and London at much less than British Air or Virgin Upper Class. At $2950 for the lowest roundtrip (30-day advance, Saturday stay), it’s not a bargain, but it looks like one next to the $13,000 it costs to fly first class on BA. I was lucky enough to go over on an expense account and given that same privilege, I’d take Eos again in a flash.
Here’s the best analysis: My biggest — my only real — complaint on the way over was the pillow. It was some Nazipedic nightmare — you vill sleep zhis vay — and I felt quite churlish whining about it, but I did say in the comment card that I wanted a softer pillow. On the flight back, I gave the pillow a squeeze and it was like a cloud. The stewardess heard my reaction and said that oh, yes, they’d listened to customers’ suggestions and were replacing the pillows. Now that’s the ticket.
The most important thing about the airline is its seat, which reclines to a fully flat bed with plenty of room to stretch out, work, eat, talk. Just as important, it comes with a 120-volt laptop plug. Heaven. They give you a wireless entertainment unit that shows movies and TV shows. It could have a better screen and better choices but, again, I don’t want to be churlish. On the way over, I slept anyway. And on the way back, I watched Sleeper Cell on my Mac, via iTunes. Having been lucky enough to take the sleeper seats on BA’s and Lufthansa’s first classes over the years, I’d say that Eos’ is every bit as good.
Flying out of JFK (an inconvenience for a Jersey guy), you go to the Emirates first-class lounge and my advice is that you eat dinner there. The food is good and interesting and this way, you can sleep on board as soon as you take off at 7p (otherwise, you’ll be dining at 9). I got a good five or six hours of sleep on the way over and woke up civilized. The plane comes into Stansted and it was easy to get into London on an express train.
On the way back, the Stansted lounge is a bit more spartan, but still pleasant, and all you need is peanuts and booze, for there are big meals on the plane. I was on the flight with some colleagues and we happened to end up talking with the company’s marketing veep. I begged him for wifi, but he said it takes millions to refit a plane for that. Damn. We asked who their target customer is and he said it’s investment bankers but that they are getting celebs, too, including a famous basketball player who, indeed, could lay out and sleep.
We left Stansted at 6p, landed 34 minutes early at JFK at 8:40p and I was home at 10:30. Today, I feel normal. And the schedule meant that I got two full days working in London on either end of the trip. It’s good business.
A friend who took the airline said more than once that it’s better than taking a corporate jet. I agree, for the few times I ever took corporate jets I had to work the whole time and be nice to bosses. Here, you’re the boss.
And, no, I have nothing to disclose; I paid the regular fare.