Story by Prof. Barry Goldsmith & Will Denton
Photo courtesy XL Airways
XL Airways France
Why would a luxury magazine profile, review and recommend an airline that wasn’t a luxury carrier or private jet?
Because flying has become so mundane – no surprises – one airline is the same as the others. But XL Airways France, now in its second year of nonstop flights from the USA to Paris, offers many surprises even before you step onboard.
You can get business class -- XL Airways’ Galaxy Class -- for less than half the price of older and more established airlines; then you can spend your savings where you have more time to relax, perhaps at a posh resort or in Parisian luxury stores! And when I say older airlines, I also mean older planes; for 2013, XL Airways is flying brand new Airbus 330s.
Flying should be fun. When I’m aloft, I don’t like aloof.
Boutique stores are the ultimate in luxury shopping; and boutique hotels are the ultimate in hostelry. It’s about time the older established transatlantic airlines got a challenge from a boutique airline that’s young and hip. What an unusual idea: An airline that takes its planes and passengers seriously, but not itself. That’s why I’m glad to have discovered XL Airways to Paris, not just from JFK, but from three other American gateways: San Francisco nonstop to Paris; Las Vegas nonstop to Paris; and for the first time this year, three times a week, direct flights from Miami to Paris.
If the definition of luxury is “exclusivity” – then XL’s Las Vegas nonstop to Paris flights are a luxury for those who live in Las Vegas. Even Air France does not have a Las Vegas to Paris nonstop flight. So for those of you who want to see how Las Vegas’ fake Eiffel Tower compares with Paris’ real Eiffel tower – by far, the best and easiest way to do it is with XL Airways. Here’s another exclusive first. This year (starting May 31st) XL Airways is the first airline to offer nonstop flights to Marseille from JFK. I think it’s a luxury to spend your precious time relaxing in Provence instead of changing planes at CDG airport and killing a day in transit.
I have flown almost every airline across the Atlantic since I began traveling to Paris as a child -- and I am proud to have discovered Virgin Atlantic a generation ago. I was surprised that they gave out amenity kits in economy. I was even more surprised last year, when XL Airways did the same thing.
Like Avis’ old advertising campaign, Avis is #2 because they “try harder.” XL Airways is new on the transatlantic scene, so they try even harder than Avis – and succeed on many levels.
XL Airways is becoming to France, what Air Berlin has become to Germany. Offering comparable, if not better service, than the established national carrier at anywhere from $400 to $500 less per ticket. And it’s because I love luxury that I fly XL Airways. With the money I saved, I finally replaced my thirty-year old pair of Gucci Classic loafers. So you could say that flying XL Airways helps me buy luxuries that last for years instead of spending on a flight that lasts for hours – and getting service that’s as good, if not better than a more famous airline.
Domestically, people fly Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines because they’re hip, trendy and fun. I don’t go for high attitudes at high altitudes. As they say, one picture is worth a thousand words. Look at the photo the top brass at XL Airways sends journalists to use in their articles: XL Flight attendants having a good time! That photo says happy crew – which means happy passengers. Yes, it is a fun airline.
Let me take you through a quick flight: Departure was a breeze from JFK's Terminal Four, and the XL ticket agents were some of the friendliest and accommodating I’ve ever come across. And the flight itself was more enjoyable than some I have taken on XL's giant French competitor (you know which one that is!). Seating room, even in coach, was better, meals and drinks were excellent, and most importantly on a seven-hour flight, the bustling flight attendants actually seemed to like working in this often-maligned service profession -- and it showed.
For those who need a bit more overhead bin luggage space, the planes are well-equipped; there were no problems in fitting various carry-ons in -- and you know that just a little extra room in that regard is often a great blessing. You might even call that a luxury. And here’s the biggest luxury of all, for those who were too short, and not physically strong enough to place heavy overhead luggage in the bins, the flight attendants offered to help, without anyone having to look for them. That’s the luxury I am used to in first class.
And XL Airways is coming to Marseille just in time to celebrate Marseille as “Europe’s Capital of Culture 2013”. At last Europe and the rest of the world will know what sophisticated travelers have always known, you don't really know Southern France until you've seen Marseille. And thanks to XL's Airways history-making first nonstop USA to Marseille flight you can see Marseille, then Provence, and even Paris, -- all on the same XL Airways trip. And unlike the competition, XL Airways doesn't charge extra if you want to arrive in Paris and depart from Marseille -- or vice versa. Name another airline that you can do different arrival and departure cities without paying more.
Yet another reason that I call XL Airways, XL-ent!
XL Airways: www.xlairways.com or call toll free 877-496-9889
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