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Old Jun 17, 09, 5:42 pm   #1
 
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Openskies misery

New poster. I signed up just to comment on this rather disappointing experience.

I booked a flight JFK to Orly on Openskies having read some very favourable reviews. I booked in what they call Biz Seat and maybe some of you who have used them recently can tell me if this is the norm.

Firstly the seats look nothing and I mean nothing like the seats shown on the website. The plane is purple and black. Think a mix between a funeral parlour and a disco and you've got some idea of what it looks like. There is no curtain between the front cabin and my cabin which the purser told me is a French law. Never heard the like before! The cabin crew were French and even though Openskies is supposed to be part of BA they don't wear a BA uniform. I asked the purser about it and she told me that they were L'Avion and that L'Avion has taken over OpenSkies so it's now a French airline and they're getting rid of all the old Openskies New York crews.

Once you're in a window seat, if your seat neighbour in front reclines his seat and the one next to you puts his footrest up, which incidentally you have to force up with your hands, there is no way to get out.

There were no amenity kits, no menu and it took over an hour to get a drink after we took off. It took over two hours for the meal service to be done and by the time my tray was taken away I'd been stuck in the seat for a staggering three hours. You can't watch the IFE as there is no way to use it other than to put it on your tray, which obviously during the meal you can't. The food was adequate but served on plastic, wine was warm.

Later on during the flight I wanted a drink. I hadn't seen the flight attendants for some time so woke my neighbour to climb over him to go the galley. No one there! I walked to the front and again couldn't find a soul. It was like the Marie Celeste. I went back again thinking they had to be somewhere and saw the two girls fast asleep in the back row snuggled under duvets complete with headphones, socks and eyemasks! The third girl finally came out of the cockpit (there were only three) and reluctantly gave me a cup of water. I told her that the other two girls were asleep and she told me that it's a French airline and they must be awake for landing so they sleep during the flight. Well that's all well and good and I'm no expert but what would have happened if someone had a heart attack or had a sneaky smoke in the loo and no one's awake to treat people or put out fires?

This next part had me seriously worried. I asked her if we would be landing on time and she said she would check with the pilots after they woke up! Surely they couldn't both be asleep? They only had two pilots onboard. Shouldn't there be three if they are sleeping?

Thankfully I was flying back to LHR after my Paris trip as I would have cancelled a return booking.

I'll be writing to BA but is this an isolated experience or the norm?
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Old Jun 17, 09, 5:54 pm   #2
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Welcome to FT. How nice to see a new poster using correct English throughout

I haven't personally flown Openskies, but know a little about the individual products. Biz Seat is, I gather, more of a premium economy product than Biz Bed, which is business class (despite the 'new' branding to 'Biz' ).

It certainly seems as if the service was somewhat lacking, although not having flown Openskies I don't know whether this is the norm or not.

Once again, welcome to FT and I hope you stick around as your first post was certainly reasoned and sensible rather than the incoherent rant/inane questions which we more often than not get from newbies
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Old Jun 17, 09, 6:08 pm   #3
 
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Thank you Genius.

As a premium economy brand it was certainly adequate and flying domestic US as I do, I'm used to disinterested service onboard but I had higher hopes from this, being a BA offering as use BA as my preferred service and AA for domestic connections.

I shall mark it up to experience and mark it down from future flying plans. My view is that unless I'm forced to fly a particular airline through corporate policy, which thankfully I'm not, it's seldom worth losing sleep over a bad flight.
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Old Jun 17, 09, 6:13 pm   #4
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Hi bumonseat,

Welcome to Flyertalk and the BA Board...

I am very disappointed to hear of your experience. It shames me that the aircraft carry British Airways titles on them. The service you received onboard sounds truly awful, and totally unacceptable. Some of the information you were given sounds a little incorrect. Openskies, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Airways bought L'Avion, which consisted of 2 757 aircraft, which is one of the ones that you flew on. You are correct, that the onboard cabin and seats are completely different from the Openskies product and seats. I too would be highly disappointed if my food were served on plastic on a Business Class airline.

Best of luck with your complaint,

Regards,
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Old Jun 17, 09, 6:57 pm   #5
 
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I love the French crew's response. "Mais non monsieur, Openskies is now une airline Francais!". In the spirit of the Entente Cordiale they must be so happy to be owned by the British.
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Old Jun 17, 09, 7:34 pm   #6
 
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Believe me sir, there was nothing British about this flight. Whilst I've had the odd bad encounter with BA there's always been something reassuringly "British" about the crews. Why oh why would BA do something as foolhardy as create a French airline in this climate.

I don't fly Air France for a reason and I shan't fly this outfit for the same.
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Old Jun 17, 09, 8:02 pm   #7
 
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Sounds like you were on L'Avion metal. These AC haven't been completely converted. The uniforms are mixed. Depends weather the F/A was an original L'Avion employee or OpenSkies. Transition between businesses take time. That being said I've flown them several times EWR ORY. If you want full CW treatment then buy a Biz Bed seat. They've installed renovated old CW seats with the fan type curtain. Biz seat is very much better than WT+. Much better seats and everyone gets lounge access regardless of travel class. Sorry about the rough edges of your flight. Seems to me, OpenSkies is safe and reliable non stop transportation with service as good as any.
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Old Jun 17, 09, 8:08 pm   #8
 
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Typical French to stick two fingers to say we are stil a french airline. Its OpenSkies fault for not bring about the change. Still there are french union laws.
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Old Jun 17, 09, 11:27 pm   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumonseat View Post
This next part had me seriously worried. I asked her if we would be landing on time and she said she would check with the pilots after they woke up! Surely they couldn't both be asleep? They only had two pilots onboard. Shouldn't there be three if they are sleeping?
I think that may have been a combination of French laziness and humour (i.e. too lazy to go and ask, so fobbed you off with a humorous response!).

On a two pilot aircraft one pilot would be allowed to have a short snooze, but coordinated so the other would have to be awake. However, this length of flight would hardly necessitate any sleep anyway!
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Old Jun 17, 09, 11:31 pm   #10
 
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Shocking. I was very surprised to read this given the very positive things I've heard about OpenSkies. But once you got to the parts about the plane and crew, it seems very clear what happened-- OP got a l'avion plane with a l'avion crew, which, for now, is still clearly a very different airline than the original OpenSkies. It's almost false advertising.

Is it really true that the US-based flight crew is leaving? To be replaced with this crap service? Sad.

Read a recent very positive trip review posted over on airliners.net (link below). This review is about the original OpenSkies product. It is unfortunate that the OP had to go through what they did. Is it luck whether you'll get a former l'avion plane and crew, or can you tell which flights will be operated by them?

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...d.main/148954/
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Old Jun 18, 09, 12:00 am   #11
 
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After a little digging around, I found the following press release which indicates that the operating certificate is indeed now held/based in France. The merger between OpenSkies and l'avion was completed in April.

I'm still surprised to read that the US-based flight crew will be gone.

https://www.flyopenskies.com/docs/pr...Formatting.pdf
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Old Jun 18, 09, 1:13 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by AGSF View Post
I'm still surprised to read that the US-based flight crew will be gone.
Probably cheaper to get rid of.

If they should have bought L'Avion, they should have bought it and shut it down, not integrate the companies.
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Old Jun 18, 09, 9:05 am   #13
 
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I thought the aircraft HAD been converted???? (It's not as if there were hundreds of planes!)
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Old Jun 19, 09, 2:03 am   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumonseat View Post
This next part had me seriously worried. I asked her if we would be landing on time and she said she would check with the pilots after they woke up! Surely they couldn't both be asleep?
Surely she was joking? This couldn’t possibly be true could it?
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Old Jun 19, 09, 8:46 am   #15
 
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What do you think autopilot is for?
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