Review: Brussels Airlines new BusinessClass JFK-BRU
(Deutsche Version) 5 days ago I went with the new Business First by United, now on the way back I took the one of Brussels Airlines. The daughter of Star Alliance carries a new beautiful product on their A330-300s. I admit, away it would have been better to fly with Brussels, because I could have slept longer, but it wasn’t doable.
The machines are dispatched in Terminal 1 at New York JFK, which is the same as for Lufthansa and other Star Alliance airlines. Since I had an appointment, I arrived two hours before take-off. The business counter was empty, but eco counters were packed. After online check-in did somehow not work out, I was checked in here. Seats could be reserved by E-Mail beforehand, not with on a website, but for free therefore. Just send an E-Mail over the contact formula with booking number and preferred seat and there you go. The check-in itself precedes quickly and one is advised about the Lufthansa lounge right after security control, which is fast thanks to Fast Track. No 15 minutes later I sit with my business partner in the lounge.
The lounge in JFK, as well as in Brussels in Terminal A are nothing special, but still better than sitting in the airport without Internet, but that’s it. Luckily there was coke with sparkle today, which was not the case at LH in FRA and in IAD.
The lounge in JFK is big and quite open. There is no silence to make a call or to relax. The selection of sandwiches was totally alright for the time (4 P.M.) and there were alcoholic beverages, if you like it at this time – I don’t.
The lounge in Brussels in Terminal A is equipped with a SB area and divided into an area with high tables and chairs, one with comfortable chairs and another on with PCs. Six computers are available, if you haven forgotten your notebook. You can also get WiFi vouchers, which last for one hour, because they’re from an external provider. But you can get more without a problem.
Cabin and seat:
The cabin more than surprises me. The 30 seats are arranged in a 1-2-1, respectively 2-1-2 order in business class. This makes the travel an adventure, because travellers and couples can chat. In the seatmap ( © Seatguru) you can spot that seats are offset. This ensures privacy, since you don’t see your neighbor or front man. The seats are fixed in a bowl and skewed to a kind of bed. The feet can be stretched under the front seat, while this provides enough place for any size of feet. I am sitting on seat 1K today. Similar to the flights at Swiss Air I really like these kinds of seats. You have enough space to put your stuff on the left and right, and you don’t have to step over anybody while he’s sleeping. I also really like the design.
The coloring as well as material makes the seat seem classy. Beneath the try on the left and right there’re also little shelves at the seat. One up front; directly beneath the screen the shelf for bottles and besides that one for magazines or the iPad. On the other side at height of the should is a socket, one USB port and a plug for own audio devices. (The iPod or cell can also be plugged into the screen, where you have another USB port and a port for latch.)
Below the socket you find a shelf, which purpose I didn’t really understand, but there will be something to put inside. I really like the many trays on the left and right. You can put the tablet after eating there, or glasses and such.
The seat can be controlled via a panel in the side or by keys in the back bowl, which can be used only while in be position. The seat itself has an air suspension, with which you can adjust the hardship while lying (which is a totally flat bed).
Here a few good and bad points about the seat:
+ comfortable and long seating surface
+ lots of space, especially on the single seats
+ good pillows with comfy, big sheets
– screen not adjustable, mirrors while seating and lying
– in the shoulder area a little tight
There’s one more thing. In the legroom, directly under the screen, you find a flap. If you pull it up you find another shelf, ideally for shoes or little stuff. They don’t lay around like that and you find them again.
The toilette is located in the front area of the guests and reserved for business class guests. It provides hand and face crème and “real” facecloth. Even if it’s just a detail, I prefer this in the morning, rather than paper towels. Also, the toilette is not disturbing, even on seat 1K, because the distance is big enough and people are not standing around it. In other machines this is a reason to not decide for the first row.
The appealing and big screen can be controlled via touch screen. Alternatively there’s a nicely made remote in the armrest. Because of the type of seat using the touch screen is no problem, because it’s located very closely. Operating is possible in several language, such as English, French, Dutch and German.
A well-done Airshow eases the orientation during the flight and let’s you shortly end the movie and continue at the same point. At other airlines this isn’t possible and I find it nerving to always have to search for the point again. The selection of movies is sufficient, even though other airlines offer more, but in 6,5 hours there isn’t much time left to watch besides eating.
On today’s evening flight we’re being offered diner after take-off. But before it comes to that we get beverages, even before the start. Besides Champaign, orange juice and water they also offer Kir-Royal – rather unusual. After take-off we got a little greeting from the kitchen, some nuts and the menu.
I can choose between two starters: crab salad or beef. I took slices of beef on salad, which was as delicious as it looks. After that I had the choice between chicken with polenta, fish with sweet mashed potatoes and mushrooms or ravioli as third alternative. There should be something for everybody.
I made my choice quickly: fish. As it comes shortly after the starter, it doesn’t nly look good, but is also served tasty, not dry at all and mashed potatoes and mushrooms fit perfectly.
Also the selection of beverages is neat: right when accessing we were served a Laurent-Perrier Brut Champaign, while I was perfectly happy with my Coke. The selection of wines offers a South African “Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2010”, of two other white wines (one Chablis and a Pinot Gris) and two red ones (Chateau Poujeaux and a Kendall-Jacksn Vintner’s Reserve Zinfandel). Because there are also travellers who don’t like wine, there are spirits like Whiskey, Vodka, Rum and gin and 14 other beverages. A monthly changing cocktails rounds the offer, this time a Caipirinha.
For beer lovers they have Belgian beer (Jupiler and Leffe) and lovers of non-alcoholic beverages can have different kinds of juice, Coke, Sprite, Tonic, coffe and tea. For the the selection of foods is good to very good. Everything I had was delicious and served nicely and also the amount of options is totally fine. Well done, Brussel Airlines.
After the tablet is cleared we get another advise to the snack bar. In front of the middle seats they build up a basket with fresh fruit, fruit salad in little bowls and pralines, from which every guest can take. Tasty chocolate is always good and so I pass the basket some times, since seat 1K is not so far away.
The Amenity kit:
Similar to other airlines, also Brussels Airlines offers travellers in the front part of the cabin a little kit. It’s a black little bag, which can be perfectly used for the crayons of my kids. Besides the usual utensils as socks, sleeping mask (which is not very comfortable after my mind) and tooth brush, but also a ball pen. Every now and then people ask for this, since they have to fill out custom declarations. The exact content of the kit can be seen on the pictures.
After I spent the waiting time with breakfast and answering E-Mails, I’m on the way on the last short piece to Berlin. There I ate another little breakfast, which was delicious, and had chocolate again. I also received some when leaving the plane. On the short track they had dishes and “real cups”, not like at Lufthansa, which offers paper cups with HRS commercial – very comfortable.
Already at check-in the personnel were really friendly and convinced with more than a smile, which continued in the cabin. Wishing to have a second pillow, something to drin in-between or a coffee in the middle of the night were served with a smile. Also asking for hanging up the jacket and bringing it back was not a problem – an advantage compared to other airlines.
All in all the new business class product has totally convinced me, but it has one disadvantage. The early departure time in New York, connected with a short flight time of 6:25 hours did not really let me sleep, while I could have really enjoyed that in the seat.
You like to see more pictures? Enjoy the flickr gallery. More reviews about business or first classes can be found here in the blog.