Travel Log - Boeing 757 Transatlantic Fashion
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757 Fashion

(June 11, 2008)
Since my first trip across the Atlantic from Paris to New York in 1984 and until the early millennium, you would not see too many (if any) narrow body airplanes on those routes unless you boarded a charter using DC8s or 707s (yes I did once in 1991 and it would never happen again). Most flights started with B747s, L1011s, DC10s then newer generations including B767s, A340s, A330s, B777s joined the pool in the 90s. But in the last few years, a new player, the young kid (though not that young) joined the pool: The B757!
We started to see them on the fleet of new discount airlines like EOS and L'Avion then on second rotations or smaller routes of major airlines including Northwest and Continental. Now Delta is joining the rank with a new transatlantic version of its B757 to open routes like Lyon, Paris Orly, etc. Interestingly, many people started to be concerned about such a small plane to cross the Atlantic. But why? If you compare with widebody aircrafts, you may do a better deal.

Safety?
If you are concerned about the number of engines, you are not better off in a B767, B777 or A330, they all have 2 engines and some of them, like the B777LR are used on routes of 16+ hours so a B757 can certainly handle the 7 to 9 hours routes to most Western European cities from the North East. There was some media-expressed concerned regarding a few flights that landed short in fuel, but this is not an aircraft issue, it is a flight management issue and the airline as well as the pilot did screw-up!

Comfort?
How about the space? That is an airline specific problem. Considering information found on the Internet the seat comparison is as follow in coach (pitch x width) for various transatlantic aircraft configurations:

**
AA
AF
CO
DL
BA
NW
UA
KL
VS
B777ER
32x18.5
32x17*
31x17.9
31x18
31x17.5
x
31x18
31x17.5
x
B767
30x17.2
x
32x17.9
31x18
31x17.5
x
31x18
x
x
B757
x
x
31x17.2
31x17.2
x
33x17.2
x
x
x
B747
x
32x18
x
x
31x17.5
31x17.2
31x17
31x17.5
32.17.5
A340
x
32x18
x
x
x
x
x
32x17.5
A330
x
32x18
x
x
x
31x17.5
x
32x17.5
x
MD11
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
31x17.5
x

* Based on the new 3-4-3 configuration replacing the 3-3-3 configuration on most flights.

Business/First Seating is where the difference is as the front section cannot really accomodate flat beds easily, they are replaced by business-like seating with slightly reduced pitch.

Entertainment?
Another airline dependant issue. Delta B757s for the new transatlantic services have been completely redesigned. They now feature Ricarro leather seats with Personal TVs offering on-demand videos, games, music and more. Advanced entertainment is a big plus on those long flights in coach since the lack of room does not help to watch movies on a laptop or other video system.

You would not get those amenities in the old B767 used by Delta and other carriers on most European routes (the Delta B767 I sometime fly to Nice, France really falls apart and still uses old screens for entertainment). Other Personal TV systems like the one available on older Air France planes have very limited functionalities.

Overhead Bins?
Even with the new profiles, I agree, there is no way to pack as much as what you can get in a B777 bin. But after experiencing weekly coast to coast round trips in B757s equipped with the new bins, they can still take a lot.

Boarding Time?
That is a real plus! Even though I had an Elite+ status for a long time, Getting in and out of a big fat 747 (for example AF CIO B747 used between Paris and New York with 450+ seats) takes a WHILE! It is quite a mess, specifically if the plane is not parked at the terminal and a bus ride is required.

Food Service?
I am not yet sure if there will be a difference. Considering the quality of Delta transatlantic meals in coach (BAD! At least compared to AF) I am not sure they need much to have the same service. Now in Business Elite it may be different but they only have 16 seats to accomodate.

Conclusion, besides personal preferences, the B757 is certainly a great addition to the transatlantic pool. If I can, I think I will try it on the New York - Lyon route since from there I can catch a connection to Caen to visit my wife's parents instead of driving 3 hours from Paris.

Cheers & Fly Safe!

PF.

** Airlines code translation:
AA - American Airlines
AF - Air France
BA - British Airways
CO - Continental
DL - Delta Airlines
KL - KLM
NW - Northwest Airlines
UA - United Airlines
VS - Virgin Atlantic



From the author: You know the airlines are desperate when you have to fly coast to coast with doctor Zizmor smiling from the overhead bin (a NY subway frequent traveler).

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