OpenSkies is British Airways’ subsidiary which operates 757s between New York and Paris Orly. The airline presently operated twice daily 757 service between Newark and Paris Orly, and as of March 1, 2013, will be operating daily 757 service between New York JFK and Paris Orly.
The airline is quite unique in that the operate three cabin 757 aircraft. Their top cabin is BizBed, which features fully flat seats, most comparable to business class.
Then they have a Prem Plus cabin, most comparable to premium economy on other airlines.
They recently also added a coach cabin, as clearly the economics of a premium transatlantic airline just weren’t working for them in this economy.
Anyway, what has been frustrating is that even though they’ve been in operation for several years now and are a subsidiary of British Airways, they haven’t been a part of OneWorld in any way. That means that with the exception of British Airways Executive Club, you couldn’t earn or redeem OneWorld miles for travel on OpenSkies.
That’s changing as of December 1, 2012, as OpenSkies will become a OneWorld affiliate member airline.
This means that it should be possible to redeem American AAdvantage miles (and other OneWorld miles) for travel on OpenSkies as of that date. You should be able to redeem for coach and business class, though it’s not possible to redeem AAdvantage miles for premium economy on other airlines. It’s also worth keeping in mind that there are fuel surcharges on OpenSkies redemptions, so it’ll come at a cost.
Business class award availability on OpenSkies isn’t great, though isn’t awful either. They seem to release two award seats on many of their flights, but then seem to have weeks at a time where they release no space. For what it’s worth I see a lot more award space on the new JFK route than the Newark route.
Certainly a good option to have! Why they didn’t become an affiliate OneWorld member earlier is beyond me.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)