Tried & Tested

EOS B757, business class

1 Jan 2006 by Tom Otley

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: I arrived
at London Stansted at 0820 for my 1030 departure. The check-in area for
Eos is at the far left end (Zone K) of the departures terminal.
Security formalities were swiftly dealt with, and an invitation for
fast-track and the Eos lounge was presented to me. Fast-track at
Stansted involves being escorted to the head of the security line,
which is either wonderful or embarrassing, depending on your
personality.

Flights on this route depart London Stansted at 1030
and arrive New York JFK at 1329. Eastbound flights depart JFK at 1905
and arrive Stansted the next morning at 0730. Beginning January 3, Eos
will also offer a second daily flight, which will depart Stansted at
1615, arriving JFK at 1914, and will depart JFK at 2115, arriving
Stansted at 0940.

THE LOUNGE:
Located next to Gate 7, the lounge has comfortable armchairs, a
selection of hot and cold drinks and sandwiches and a view down to the
Boeing 757 aircraft. This was an inaugural flight and there was a
function held in the lounge before the flight, so this part is
difficult to judge, but there are currently no workstations in the
lounge or Wi-Fi access, although I was told that it is something that
is being looked at.

THE SEAT: Boarding
was on time. The 757 has a fresh interior. The “suite” seat has a
198cm, fully reclining seat with cashmere blankets and Tempur-Pedic
pillows. It is clear that a lot of time, attention and money has been
spent. The layout of the seats at first sight resembles that of British
Airways, except that all seats face forward in a staggered formation
and all have aisle access. The seat was good for sleep – being wide and
comfortable – and for work,with a wide, firm table that adjusts both
forward and back, which is good if you want to use the keyboard of a
laptop or write notes. I was impressed by the power supply, which
requires nothing more than a US adaptor and kept my computer fully
charged for the whole journey, meaning on this daylight flight I could
complete a day’s work. There is a good-sized seat opposite for a
colleague to join you for meetings, and even a seatbelt for their
safety.

In-flight entertainment came courtesy of a personal DVD player and excellent BOSE noise-reducing headphones.

THE FLIGHT: Before
the flight I had asked the captain about the experience of flying on a
narrow-bodied jet such as this 757 on a Transatlantic route –
particularly whether the aircraft would be underpowered and if it would
have the necessary range for all flight conditions compared to, say, a 
wide-bodied 767.He was reassuring, likening it to driving a Porsche
compared with the 767 Lexus. He maintained that the noise level would
not be noticeably different from that of a normal Transatlantic flight.
He was right. It was a smooth ride, although it seemed considerably
smoother at the front while, strangely, the rear half was warmer,
perhaps because of the greater number of ovens.

The meal service
throughout was faultless, as was the overall service on board. The meal
choices were good, with the main course options being fillet of beef
with grilled polenta and green beans rolled in bacon, Skipper DO &
CO (fillet of salmon, fillet of sole, prawn) and asparagus risotto. For
wine, there was a choice of three reds and two whites as well as
Champagne.

ARRIVAL: We arrived 10 minutes late but quickly cleared immigration.

PRICES: Until the end of January, an introductory offer of US$4,43 is available.

VERDICT: There’s
no doubt this is a wonderful on-board experience. Only time will tell
whether flying from Stansted is a choice that high-spending business
travellers are prepared too make. And then of course there’s a
competitor in the form of Maxjet. But Eos should be applauded for its
daring and innovative approach.

Tom Otley

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