Newark (EWR) to Brussels (BRU)
by Ron Bernthal
I checked into the flight at EWR’s Terminal B about three hours early for my 7:30 pm flight, the only passenger in the designated Première Class check-in line. After providing my passport, I was given seat 3A and an invitation to the airline’s lounge, located on the ground floor level of the terminal, just outside the TSA security area.
I was surprised to see so many people in the lounge, and was informed by the reception desk that the room was shared with Open Skies, an all-business class carrier. I was also surprised that the bathroom facilities were located outside the lounge, in a public area of the terminal. But the lounge interior, designed by architect Robert Sargenti and designer Kati Curtis, was comfortable, with a selection of assorted dips and crackers, cookies, pastries, cold sandwiches and beverages. I wasn’t sure if hot dishes were brought out later in the day. There was also complimentary Wi-Fi using a password provided by the reception desk.
At 6:30 pm the Jet Airways flight was called, and an airline representative escorted our small group of about ten persons to a TBS security lane, which was nearly empty, and although it seemed to be in a normal, public area, it was located off to the far side of the security area, where there was less passenger traffic.
Jet Airways Première Class on their trans-Atlantic A330-200 has 30 “pods,” private, angled seats with high dividers, so no two seats are directly next to each other. These “pod” or “suite” seats offer plenty of privacy, although it would be somewhat difficult to talk to your seatmate if you were travelling as a couple. The 21″ width pod felt a little narrow at first, and storage of magazines and other reading material seemed a bit minimal as well, but once I got used to the seat configuration it was very comfortable.
When I boarded the plane I noticed that many of the passengers in the Première cabin were all dressed in similar leisure outfits. Thinking they were part of a company group, wearing a corporate uniform of some sort, I thought it just looked a little strange. I finally figured out, however, that they had already changed into the Jet Airways “sleeping outfit” left on each seat. Composed of lightweight brown sweat pants, and a tan, cotton long-sleeve top, the outfit looked pretty comfortable. So I removed my outer clothes in the bathroom before take-off and joined the pajama club. The aircraft pulled back from the gate at 7:09 pm, wheels were up at 7:29, and I marveled at the early departure time, a rarity for Newark at that hour.
Dressed in my chic Jet Airways sleeping outfit, and feeling relaxed after a glass of Noble Cuvée de Lanson Champagne, I settled in for some reading before dinner was served.
The cabin crew, always gracious and friendly during the flight, had taken dinner orders before the flight was in the air, and meals were ready to be served as soon as we leveled off. The menu, designed by Belgian chef Yves Mattagne, who has won two Michelin stars, was lovely. I chose the asparagus, courgette (zucchini) and ricotta salad as an appetizer, the gnocchi with squash and tarragon as the main course, and chocolate and hazelnut mousse for dessert.
The rest of the flight went well. I watched one American film, parts of a Bollywood production, and slept a few hours in my pod flat seat, which did fold out into a completely horizontal position. The sleeping outfit was also quite comfortable, and I was glad that I copied by neighbors and changed clothes before take-off. Breakfast of yogurt, fresh fruit, croissants and pastry was served before landing at 7:19 am, 30 minutes early.
The flight was so comfortable, and the cabin service from the Jet Airways Indian crew so friendly and efficient, I wish I could have stayed on the aircraft for the rest of the scheduled flight to Mumbai. Aside from a somewhat disappointing lounge experience at EWR, the onboard amenities in Première Class, the highest class of service this flight offered, were excellent, from the pod seating, the food, the sleeping outfit, toiletry kit, and the private screen entertainment device. It was also an unexpected, but welcome, surprise when the aircraft departed EWR early, ensuring an early arrival into Brussels.
CONTACT: JET AIRWAYS
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