The most special way to cross the Atlantic Ocean from New York to London, England was Concorde. It was not only the most prestigious, but the most expensive and fastest. Since its retirement, many airlines have tried different approaches to make this happen. In this story, I take a look at 7 luxurious ways to fly in style across the Atlantic Ocean.
The Airlines and Airplanes
Today, it takes anywhere from 6:40 to 7:30 to cross the Atlantic Ocean to London, England nonstop from the New City area (JFK and Newark (EWR) Airports) and there are typically 31 ways each day you can do this depending on the time of the year and the day of the week. The airlines operating these luxurious services all have standard amenities such as: an amenity kit, First/Business class Lounges, Wifi and in-seat power. Here’s a look at the airplanes they fly:
- American Airlines (AA) oneworld Alliance – Boeing 777-300ER (77W)
- British Airways (BA) oneworld Alliance – Airbus A318, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777
- Delta Air Lines (DL) SkyTeam Alliance – Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 767-400
- Kuwait Airways (KU) – Boeing 777-200ER
- United Airlines (UA) Star Alliance – Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 777-200ER
- Virgin Atlantic (VS) in partnership with Delta Air Lines but not a member of SkyTeam Alliance – Airbus A330-300, Airbus A340-600, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 787-9
Another way to cross is using a private jet such as a Gulfstream. You can charter this one from private airline charter companies on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Take a look at what you can get.
There is one other airline that does the journey from JFK to London-Gatwick; Norwegian, but they offer Economy class only service currently on a Boeing 787-8.
There are four day flights operated by British Airways, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. You depart the U.S. between 7:15a and 9:05a and arrive in London between 7:15p and 9:20p. Perfect for business meetings the next morning. Or you may want to have a meeting on the plane.
Outside of those you can leave the New York area as early as 6p and as late as 11:55p arriving the next day in all instances.
I have a handy flight schedule program to help you here.
If you want to travel in style, you should only travel in First and/or Business Class or a private jet. Luckily all these six airlines and the private jet facilitate this lifestyle.
You can pay for your journey using award miles and/or cold hard cash. If you are doing a round trip flight, then you have to pay the U.K. Airport Passenger Duty taxes (GB). The tax is different based on the cabin in which you fly and is not exactly cheap. Here’s a breakdown of all the taxes in any fare across the Atlantic. Some airlines also charge a surcharge. This used to be called fuel surcharge (still is by Kuwait Airways), but since jet fuel is not as high as it used to be, its now just called a surcharge or carrier imposed fees:
- YC – Customs User Fee – USD 5.50
- XY – Immigration User Fee – USD 7.00
- US – Departure Arrival Tax – USD 35.40
- XA – APHIS User FeePassengers – USD 5.00
- AY – Passenger Civil Aviation Security Service Fee – USD 5.60
- GB – Air Passengers Duty – USD 223.20
- UB – Passenger Service Charge – USD 66.10
- YQ – Insurance Surcharge Tax – USD 10.00
- YR – Passenger Facility Charge – USD 4.50
Total per Passenger – USD 312.40
Here is a matrix of the typical round trip airfares you’d pay to cross the Atlantic. These were current at the time of this writing but may change as demand changes. The best fare found over the summer is on Kuwait Airways for a total of $3,174.40 for a First class round trip ticket. A close second is United Airlines with a BusinessFirst fare of $3,260. As you see in the matrix, you can pay as much as $20,210.60 on United Airlines in its BusinessFirst class.
Different Ways To Cross The Atlantic In Style
|American Airlines (AA)||77W||$8628.30 (A/P) to $20,010.30 (J) – Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $828.00 and Taxes and Fees: $352.30||125,000 miles (MileSAAver Award) + $312.40 (Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $312.40) 350,000 miles (AAnyTime Award) + $312.40 (Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $312.40)||$6,328.30 (I) to $6,673.30 (D) – Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $828.00 and Taxes and Fees: $352.30||100,000 miles (MileSAAver Award) + $312.40 (Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $312.40) 220,000 miles (AAnyTime Award) + $312.40 (Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $312.40)|
|British Airways (BA)||318, 744, 777||$5,260 to $20,011||148,000 miles + 1,177 USD (1,180.27)||$3,260||120,000 miles + USD 1,177 (1,180.27)|
|Delta Air Lines (DL)||76W||N/A||N/A||$6,328.30 (Z) to $10,183.30 (D) – Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $828.00 and Taxes and Fees: $352.30||272,500 Miles +$312.40 (Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $312.40)|
|United Airlines (UA)||763, 777||$4,059.60 (A) to $20,210.60 (F) – Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $352.60||340,000 miles (FN – First Standard Award) (160,000 miles O – First Saver Award) Plus Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $312.50)||$3,260 (D) to $7,994.60 (D) – Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $352.60||115,000 miles (I – Business Saver Award) Plus Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $312.70) 340,000 miles (FN – Business Standard Award) (Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $0.00 and Taxes and Fees: $312.50)|
|Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS)||333, 346, 744, 789||$6,127.40 (I) to $14,046.40 (J) – Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $828.00 and Taxes and Fees: $351.40||80,000 miles + $1,140.80 (G – Business Saver Award) (Inclusive of Carrier-imposed fees: $828.00 and Taxes and Fees: $311.50)||N/A||N/A|
So what do you get in terms of service when you fly these carriers?
Well, it varies depending on the aircraft and the times of the flights. Every carrier at least have the following amenities:
- In-seat power
- Lie flat seats
- Audio/Video on Demand entertainment system
Here’s a look at what they offer.
|American Airlines (AA)||77W. 1-2-1 – fully lie-flat 6-foot, 8-inch bed with drop-down armrests for easier access and more sleeping space; Aisle access at every seat||17-inch touchscreen monitor with up to 250 movies, more than 180 TV programs and more than 350 audio selections. Bose® QuietComfort® Acoustic Noise Canceling® headsets for use in flight. Universal AC power outlets and USB ports at every seat. Wifi.||Walk-up bar stocked with snacks and refreshments. Enhanced food and beverage offerings with modern china and wine tasting||77W. 1-2-1 – fully lie-flat bed adjustable seat back, head rest, and leg rest. Aisle access at every seat||15.4-inch touchscreen monitor with up to 250 movies, more than 180 TV programs and more than 350 audio selections. Bose® QuietComfort® Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headsets for use in flight. Universal AC power outlets and USB ports at every seat. Wifi.||Walk-up bar stocked with snacks and refreshments. Enhanced food and beverage offerings with modern china, more menu selection that allows for greater personalization||Premium® Check-In and use of the Flagship Lounge in JFK and Heathrow.|
|British Airways (BA)||N/A||N/A||N/A||Club World. 318. 32 seats. a fully flat bed with mattress and duvet. 183cm (6ft) fully flat bed with a luxurious quilted mattress, crisp white cotton duvet and pillow while you slip into a pair of our wonderfully soft cotton pyjamas. U.S. Customs Pre-clearance in Shannon, Ireland as this flight makes one stop when heading to the U.S. from London City (LCY) airport.||a personal iPad featuring the latest films and television programmes and noise-cancelling headphones. endless hours of the latest films, documentaries, television, music, audio books and games. Access email, text messages and light internet web browsing on your mobile phone during the flight with our OnAir connectivity service, exclusive to Club World London City. UK, EU and US power sockets for laptops and other devices||on flights from London City, a delicious hot or cold meal, thirst-quenching bar service and signature afternoon tea. on flights from New York, gourmet pre-flight dining in the lounge, night cap and a light snack, hot breakfast or take-away alternative. a range of snacks and treats available on request throughout the flight||Access to the Galleries/Terraces Lounges. Elemis Spa Treatment|
|British Airways (BA)||First. 1-2-1. a fully flat bed with mattress and duvet. 198cm (6ft 6in) fully flat bed with a luxurious quilted mattress, crisp white cotton duvet and pillow while you slip into a pair of our wonderfully soft cotton pyjamas||15in screen and noise-canceling headphones. a USB port and RCA jack for enjoying your laptop, iPod or digital camera on the bigger screen. endless hours of the latest films, documentaries, television, music, audio books and games||Intimate, exclusive dining before boarding, giving you more time to relax or sleep during your flight. Choose a pre-departure meal from the menu. Collection of award winning wines.||Club World.744. 2-4-2 on main deck (some seats are backward facing); 2-2 on Upper deck.772. 2-4-2.787. 2-3-2. A fully flat bed with mattress and duvet. 183cm (6ft) fully flat bed with a luxurious quilted mattress, crisp white cotton duvet and pillow while you slip into a pair of our wonderfully soft cotton pyjamas. memory foam headrest and quilted blanket||10.4in flat screen and noise-cancelling headphones. Audio/Video on Demand system with hundreds of the latest films, documentaries, television, music, audio books and games||Feature-packed three-course meals to suit every taste, from hearty dishes to nutritious salads. a thirst-quenching range of spirits, soft drinks and expertly sourced Old World and New World wines. an array of indulgent treats and healthy options from our Club Kitchen that you can help yourself to, throughout the flight||Invitation to Concorde Room for First Class passengers only. Exclusive to London Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK Terminal 7, with discreet booths, full waiter service, private cabanas and a state-of-the-art business suite.On arrival into London Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5, access to the Arrivals lounge to freshen up for First and Club World passengers. Facilities include more delicious dining options, showers and a clothes-pressing service.|
|Delta Air Lines (DL)||N/A||N/A||N/A||Delta One. 76W. 764. 1-2-1. A fully lie flat bed||110 volt power outlet and a USB port at every seat. Complimentary access to premium entertainment from Delta Studio™. Hundreds of complimentary movies, TV shows, songs and games are just a touch-screen away.||Dine on regionally tailored, chef-curated meals, paired with wines selected by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, winner of three James Beard awards.Plus fresh-brewed Starbucks® coffee.||Sky Priority® service, which includes expedited security, Premium Boarding and baggage handling. Plus complimentary access to the Delta Sky Clubs®.|
|Kuwait Airlines (KU)||First. 1-2-1. A fully lie flat bed. 8 Closed suites.||Business. 772. 2-2-2. A fully lie flat bed||No alcohol is offered onboard.|
|United Airlines (UA)||N/A||N/A||N/A||BusinessFirst. 763. 2-1-2. A fully lie flat bed. 777. 2.2.2. A fully lie flat seat||More than 150 hours of on-demand entertainment with a 15.4-inch video monitor.
Laptop power source.
Complimentary newspapers. Wifi.
|Pre-departure beverage service
Hot towel service
Meal selections featuring appetizer, salad and choice of entrée, including local cuisine (where available)
Dessert selections, including signature desserts, fresh fruit, fresh cheeses, port and after-dinner liqueurs
Light meal served prior to arrival
Variety of beverages, including cocktails, beer, international wines and freshly brewed coffee
|Premier Access check-in, baggage handling, boarding, deplaning and security lanes (where available). Access to United Arrivals Lounge in select locations, offering showers, breakfast and business services. Access to United ClubSM and Star Alliance® member lounges|
|Virgin Atlantic (VS)||N/A||N/A||N/A||UpperClass. 22” wide, and turn into a 33” wide, 6’6” long flat bed. 333. 1-2-1. 346. 1-1-1. 744. 1-1, 1-2-1. 789. 1-1-1.||Power port (varies by aircraft type and tail number) and laptop storage. 10.4” TV, many choice of movies, TV shows and games.||Preflight glass of Gardet Brut Premier Cru Champagne or Bucks Fizz. The Upper Class menu offers a delicious selection of hot and cold cuisine and delectable desserts. There’s also a choice of fine wine, plus cheese and port to finish your meal.||Chauffeur Service. (Available on J, D, C or I booking classes). Private Security Channel within the Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow. From car to Clubhouse within 10 minutes. “Limobike” motorcycles; Heathrow Express train from London Paddington.|
I’m still amazed at how luxurious the Lounges can be that is offered by the airlines. Concorde Room is perhaps the most luxurious on this particular market. Arguably not the most luxurious in the world though. But here the airlines cater to your every whim, well almost. You can have a massage, a hair appointment, some sleep, eat, play games, relax, drink, etc. It’s quite the play ground.
As a passenger traveling in the top call of the airline you will have access to these services usually as they say “By Invitation Only,” so it sounds more exclusive.
What have you found when crossing the Atlantic?