This Little-Known Luxury Flight From NYC to London Includes Free Massages, Beds and iPads
British Airways offers a private-jet experience on a commercial airline with last-minute check-ins and complimentary private cars with round-trip fares ranging from $7,800 to $13,000.
While most luxury options for long-haul flying involve huge airplanes with such amenities as private suites and in-flight showers, British Airways uses a tiny aircraft to offer a little-known option between New York and London (but, alas, not L.A.) that's close to a private-jet experience. Known as Club World London City, the business-class service offers four flights daily on Airbus A318 jets configured with only 32 seats — each of which converts into a 6-foot-long fully flat bed (BritishAirways.com).
Round-trip fares in October range from $7,800 to $13,000, with perks not found as part of first-class offerings elsewhere. At JFK, travelers can get a complimentary massage at the Elemis spa, grab a craft beer at the open bar or eat a gourmet meal in the Terraces lounge to maximize sleep time in the air. Passengers are given iPads preloaded with movies, shows and games, and onboard Wi-Fi allows for texts and "light" email (phone conversations, thankfully, are prohibited). Across the pond, the A318 lands at London City Airport, closer to the city's financial center than Gatwick and Heathrow. Customers can take a complimentary car to grab a shower or work out at the spa at a nearby luxury hotel.
Still, the biggest perk is time saved. With dedicated check-in desks on both ends and fast-track security, travelers can show up 45 minutes before departure at JFK and 20 minutes before in London. The eastbound flights are nonstop; on the return, flights take a refueling break in Shannon, Ireland, where passengers can clear U.S. customs — arriving at JFK as if on a domestic flight.
This story first appeared in the Nov. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.