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Coming Soon: A New Airline Bucks The Trend

Carol Sottili

As airlines go belly-up, cut schedules and levy more fees, you'd not think it's a good time to start a new airline. But British Airways is doing just that: Starting June 19, its new airline -- OpenSkies -- will start service between New York's JFK and Paris-Orly.

The airline is the first created as a result of the Open Skies agreement, which allows more airlines to fly between the United States and European Union. It'll offer a simple pricing structure and three classes of service. But its big claim to fame is that the Boeing 757 will have just 82 seats (a typical Boeing 757 layout crams in more than 170 people).

Initially, the airline will run one daily round trip per day. By the end of 2009, the airline plans to have six aircraft in operation, and to fly to additional European cities from New York, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan.

Tickets started being sold yesterday, and pricing right now is good. A round-trip economy ticket starts at $1,221 including taxes for travel completed by Aug. 31. Deadline to buy is June 16. Other airlines, with lots more seats on their planes, are charging at least $1,157 from New York for nonstop flights. For connecting flights out of Washington, you'll pay at least $1,051 for summer travel to Paris.

And if you want to pay up, business-class seats, with fully lie-flat beds, are selling for $3,662 round trip, including taxes. Premium economy, with 52-inch pitch seats, is $1,554 round trip.

Anyone out there buy a ticket yet? Anyone likely to try it? Let us know.

By Carol Sottili |  May 23, 2008; 8:24 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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On April 19 I bought a ticket from BWI to Portland ME for June 7 and 12 for $251. Now the same ticket is selling for $198 on Kayak. Do I have any recourse? Thanks.

Posted by: sylvia p | May 26, 2008 5:05 PM

I think this is an excellent idea; to me, a 6'4" traveler, the absolute worst aspect of flying is the extreme discomfort in coach with astronomical prices for better class seats. My knees are typically jammed into the seat in front of me, making me very uncomfortable and the passenger in front of me unable to recline. This is especially true for long intercontinental flights. If OpenSkies is available on my next trip to Europe, and has maintained the low seat density, I would definitely fly them.

Posted by: bbrooks | May 28, 2008 12:36 PM

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