Open Skies: In flight Biz

The first thing that you notice when you reach the Biz seats is that all window seats face aft. Seats are laid out in a head-to-toe orientation so that they fit comfortably together and so that you can compartmentalize your seat easier. I chose a window because I like watching as the aircraft ascends out of New York City and because I don’t like the aisle traffic.

While your seat has to be in an “upright and locked position” during ascent, shortly after the flight, you can fold down an ottoman in front of you and prop your feet up. Later, this section comes in handy for your lie-flat bed. To your left is a control panel that adjusts over-shoulder-light, lumbar and recline, while under the seat is a little compartment in which you can stash your shoes. By your left hip is a 120V power outlet where you can plug your laptop (or a blender, if there is enough current) while the tray table is stowed in the arm rest to your right.

Together, the two facing chairs sort of form a yin-yang mirror image of each other. Luckily there is an accordion shade that you can draw between them in case you don’t want to stare at your fellow row mate. In my case, 2 B C and D were empty, so I left the shade down.

Once at a reasonable altitude, Christopher dropped off an amenity kit with socks and other toiletries as well as a pair of Sennheiser noise canceling head phones and my Archos 705 portable media player.

Not long after I figured out the IFE system, he stopped by again with my first course and a glass of wine, followed by Wendy, the purser, with a basket of at least four types of bread. I was still kind of full from pre-flight supper, but ate half of the vegetables while I took notes.

Since I was backwards facing the galley, all that I had to do to get my duck was glance up and smile, and one of the flight attendants came back with the next course. While I wasn’t entirely thrilled by the duck (in retrospect, who expects an airline duck to be superior), Christopher did come back with a New York cheesecake that was downright outstanding.

Fifteen minutes after finishing dessert, “I am Legend” came to a close on my video box so I decided to get ready for bed. At this point, it was already past three hours into my flight and I needed rest if I wanted to function the next day anyway.

A thick blanket and even thicker duvet were provided for my short nap, so once I returned from the lav I lowered the seat all of the way to the flat position, spread out the blanket and crawled under the duvet; in it’s lowest position, the bed mates with the ottoman to form a totally flat bed. Stretched out completely, the length of the bed was about 6’1, which is a bit of shame because I’m 6’3, but I was still impressed with the length – after all, it is on an airplane.

My primary problem with sleeping on transatlantic flights is on the earlier departures. Many people like to leave between 5 and 7 PM to get more time in the city the next day, but I find that one rarely gets sleep on these flights and the next day just becomes miserable. My personal preference is to leave in the 8-10PM window, sleep for several hours on the flight and attempt to have a normal day (albeit later) in Europe.

Needless to say, I got an hour or so of sleep before Wendy came over and poked me to let me know that breakfast was on the way. I hadn’t even slept enough to be groggy, so I obliged, pulled my seat up and got my things in order before a breakfast box with a ham and cheese sandwich, croissant, yogurt and fresh squeezed orange juice showed up. Still full from my two dinners, I nibbled on the yogurt and caught up on the FARC in the New York Times that I had sequestered from the BA lounge before we started our descent into Orly.

On arrival I find that I am surprisingly awake. I have always mused if jetlag was a virus of sorts, where increased exposure gives you better resistance to the disease – and sooner or later your body just automatically adapts. Perhaps the tiredness will set in later.

Continue onward to Transfer in from Orly or skip ahead to

Return trip logistics
The final word