Posts about silverjet

Fly Silverjet, please

I was going to write a post after returning from my latest trip to London urging anyone who could afford to to fly Silverjet, the last remaining independent all-business airline (after the death of Eos and Maxjet) because I want this one to stay in business. Today, there was some bad news as Silverjet is having issues with getting cash out of its latest line of credit. They say they are still flying the usual schedule between New York-Newark, London-Luton, and Dubai. But clearly things are at risk. Damn. Damn. Damn.

I’m telling you: This is the way to fly. That was the conversation among passengers in the lounge going over and in the line for U.S. Customs coming back. It’s no nonsense: Arrive at the lounge, hand them your passport, sit down and have a drink, they bring you your boarding pass, you get on the jet, you have your own space, you can lie down and go to sleep, you arrive at an uncrowded airport in London — no Heathrow madness — and head easily into the city. The food is good, the service wonderful. Everything I hate about other airlines today, I love about Silverjet. (And I’m not getting a thing out of saying this; it’s a happy and frequent flier’s endorsement, pure and simple.)

BA is about to start its mostly business-class airline, OpenSkies, but it’s flying only from New York JFK to Paris CDG*, two nightmare airports, and it is maintaining three classes (business seats recline only 140 degrees). Drat. And Virgin is supposed to follow. But I’m afraid their prices will be high so they don’t cannibalize their regular services. Silverjet’s prices are reasonable considering the level of service.

I don’t fly Silverjet to get free wine. I fly so I can lie flat, take my Ambien, sleep through the night, arrive in London in the morning full of my dreaded vim, and get a day’s work in. It’s worth the money to me to save the lost day. And on the way back, I can plug in my laptop and get a good seven hours’ work done (with a little free wine).

If you have a chance and if it stays afloat, please fly Silverjet. You will thank me. And I will thank you.

: By the way, OpenSkies is trying to market itself virally with a blog, even, which I learned about in a comment here from someone who wondered whether they were following my advice. We’ll see.

* CORRECTION: OpenSkies will fly into Orly, not CDG. I’ve not flown into Orly but it has to be better than CDG. Also note that OpenSkies objects to my calling the highest of three classes on the plane first class; they call it business class. I’d say this is rather like fighting with Starbucks over small, medium, and large — a fight I obnoxiously continue to the death. But duly noted. (I’m sure they call it that so company accountants will not object to expense reports.)

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).