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September 20, 2006

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                        Eos Airlines & 11 Cadogan Gardens

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Cheers from London! Last week (here’s the link to the archives) we left off from New York City. This week we cross the Atlantic in style -- and I’m talking style. So much so that this new airline is now my favorite. I’m not alone – successful businessmen, wealthy families, celebrities, even royalty love it too. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, said, "Eos was so comfortable, I wanted to go around again." If you want to hop the pond in a plush plane and then check into a posh hotel, get your weekend bag and passport because we are off to England! If you are in a hurry or have ADD, don’t worry; there’s a 2-minute Johnny Jet video at the end of this week’s story.

Eos Airlines is named after the winged goddess of the dawn in ancient Greek mythology. That’s a fitting name for this airline, because passengers talk about their flight as if they rode on a goddess, and the New York to London flight arrives at dawn. Eos began flying last October. They offered just one flight a day until last week, when they added a second daily flight (except Saturday) on their only route. New York to London is the most popular long distance overseas route in the world, with around 23 flights a day to and from the metropolitan areas. Eos is going after their competitors’ business class passengers, with walk-up fares that are considerably lower and a superior product. As you are about to see, nobody does the transatlantic flight better then Eos. FYI: Flights from New York depart at 7:15 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST. They arrive in London the following morning at 7:40 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

When I made my reservation I was told to show up at the airport just an hour before departure with my passport in hand. I thought I misunderstood the agent. Who ever heard of arriving an hour before an international departure? Actually, according to the Eos website, passengers can arrive just 45 minutes in advance. Is that crazy or what? All my concerns about how I would check in and clear security in time to make my flight were quickly answered. When I arrived at JFK’s Terminal 4 I was greeted with no line for check in, and an agent saying, 'You must be Mr. DiScala' (my real name). I was startled, and asked how he knew my name. He smiled and said, 'You’re the only one who hasn’t checked in yet.' I was impressed -- and I hadn’t even taken their limousine service. Passengers get preferred rates; the driver calls ahead to alert airport staff about arrival, and at curbside passengers are greeted by an Eos representative.

After I was handed my boarding card (which took a mere 30 seconds), one of Eos’ gang of turquoise-jacketed escorts standing nearby took me to security. It’s not that I couldn’t find security on my own; all Eos passengers get a free pass to the front of the security line. They must have a special deal through which they pay top dollar for this service, but boy is it worth it! Passengers still get searched like everyone else, but what a simple joy not to have to wait in a long line. After I cleared security, another Eos staff member waited on the other side. I said, 'How did you know you I was flying Eos?' He just smiled, but later I saw a walkie-talkie sticking out of his pocket. These guys are good.

I was dropped off in front of Emirates Airlines’ lounge, where two Eos flight attendants welcomed passengers (Eos has a deal with Emirates). I have been to many airline lounges, but this one is definitely the nicest. Now I know why the other passengers arrived early. I dropped off my bag in the closet and went to use the bathroom. The attendant asked if I would like a hot shower before the flight. I sure did. I changed into my comfortable flying clothes, and walked around for a better look at the lounge. It had a fully stocked self-serve bar, plenty of computers with free high-speed, a large screen TV, and best of all a dining area. With all the food options, it was like a high-class Sizzler buffet. I took some pictures, but I didn’t want to look like a spy or a freak so I tried to keep it on the down low. The options ranged from pasta and seafood to pot roast and chicken curry -- you name it. The curry was delicious -- and don’t even get me started on the desserts. I ate watching planes take off and land. I also downloaded emails on my laptop using the free wireless connection -- another huge plus.

When boarding was called, I almost had mixed feelings. Part of me didn’t want to leave the lounge, but the smarter half couldn’t wait to get on the plane. Although I had never flown Eos before, and I didn’t really know what to expect, I was full of excitement. Before I stepped on the Boeing 757-200, a flight attendant offered me an array of newspapers and magazines. I grabbed a USA Today. Then I stepped on the plane and saw the seats and their configurations. Get this: A 757-200 can hold 231 economy class seats but Eos’ have just 48. Can you believe that? I kept cool -- but my soul wanted to scream for joy.

There are four seats across -- two on each side of the aisle. The seats are more like suites, because they come with their own space, a divider, and they’re staggered so the person sitting at the window doesn’t have to jump over his seatmate. There is a one-foot unobstructed walkway. The seats are in a pod, so when they recline fully to a 78-inch bed they don’t intrude on the passenger behind you. Don’t even think about trying to touch the seat in front of you. It’s impossible even for Shaq – that’s how far apart they are. Each passenger has 21 square foot of space. That’s 40% more room than traditional business class cabins. Although the seats are not ideal for couples who want to cuddle, the 'suite' (or should I say 'sweet') seats are designed so your loved one or colleague can sit directly across from you to dine, play games or hold a conference. That’s all possible thanks to the extended tray table and buddy seat (normally the foot stool). Two seats next to each other can turn into a four person conference, no problem. I know -- just what employees want to hear. Sorry! Let’s hope your boss doesn’t read this.

Because there are only 48 seats, there was no scramble for overhead storage space. After I sat down I was offered a choice of champagne (with a fresh strawberry) or a glass of water. With the drink came candied walnuts, packaged in a gift-like clear wrap with bow (I saved those to give away). Then came the dinner menu, and an amenity kit with the standard earplugs, eye mask and socks, but also L’Occitane lip balm, and hand and face lotion. There was also a very nice Eos pen. The TV monitors that drop down from the ceiling were used only for the safety video. Instead of watching monitors, each passenger has an in-flight entertainment system loaded with current hit movies, television shows, games, music videos, and a selection of albums that would make a DJ happy. I went through all the albums (featuring every type of music, from Top 40 to classical). I chose the songs I wanted, and made my very own playlist. It sounded really good on the Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling headsets that Eos provided. Those headsets are a frequent traveler’s luxury (buy them at I put mine on after the pilot announced that flight time would be a mere 6 hours and 14 minutes. It’s probably the first time in my life that I cringed, wishing a flight would be longer. There was so much to do, and nowhere near enough time. (I haven’t even mentioned that my seat had an electrical plug that did not require an adaptor, so I could work on my computer as long as I wanted.)

Although Eos’ load factors have been around 70 to 80 percent (that’s really good), my flight wasn’t even half full. (It was a Tuesday – typically a slow travel day). Normally there is one flight attendant for every Eos eight passengers, but this flight was more like one to every three passengers. That’s unreal. The five-course meals are served on china, and the tray tables are covered with linens. The flight attendants don white gloves for the meal service. They don’t use carts, so there is no problem getting to and from the bathroom at any time. The food was excellent. The teaser was marinated prawn skewer. There was a choice of appetizers; I chose seared beef on summer salad with green beans, tomatoes and quail egg. My main course was fillet of beef served on wasabi-potato terrine, with sesame chutney and grilled asparagus. Then came an assortment of cheese, and for the grand finale: Do & Co’s raspberry mint panna cotta. For a complete look at the menu, see my scanned copy.

I forgot to mention that we were handed pajamas with the amenity kits. The package that came with them looked so nice I was afraid to open them up. Besides, I was too busy doing other things. After dinner the flight attendant asked if I wanted "turndown service" to make the seats into beds. I said 'Sure,' with a big creepy smile. To get out of her way and brush my teeth I went to the bathroom, which was even cheerful -- they had flowers and swanky L’Occitane hand soap in the dispenser. When I returned I found not only a flat bed, complete with high thread count cotton sheets, a cashmere blanket and two types of pillows (including Tempur-pedic), but also small gourmet chocolates. I was speechless.

I managed to sleep for about two hours before I was awakened by either the starting of our descent or the smell of breakfast. I was so comfortable I forgot that before shutting my eyes I had filled out my breakfast card. Sure enough, the requested scrambled eggs with cottage cheese and tomatoes was waiting for me. Flight attendants also came by with fresh fruit in a carved-out papaya, Danish pastries and a choice of smoothies and juices. Normally at this time, flight attendants on other airlines would start to clean up the plane for landing. But with so few passengers Eos flight attendants were relaxed, and just beginning their food service. The delay gives passengers even more time to sleep.

Eos flies to London’s Stansted Airport. Stansted is 30 miles north of central London and very popular with low-fare carriers, because their landing fees are much cheaper. It’s good for passengers too, because they don’t have to deal with the craziness of Heathrow (especially clearing customs). I cleared in less than two minutes. If I had checked a bag it would not have taken long to get it, because there are so few bags to unload. How many airlines can boast having not lost a single piece of luggage? I could have taken a shower at the SAS Radisson Hotel, which is a two-minute walk from the airport (I’ll write about this hotel in a future article). Instead I rode an elevator down a level, and took the Stansted Express train to central London. Eos provides passengers with a complimentary first-class round trip ticket -- or a premium car service.

As you can tell, I loved my flight on Eos. Who wouldn’t? With breakfast came an optional passenger survey. I filled mine out, and rated my flight 10/10. It was a stretch to find something wrong, but I wrote: The flight attendants don’t bring the mid-flight snack through the cabin, the plane lacks a live map tracker (I love to stare at them -- I know, I’m a freak), the planes don’t have wireless internet, and the lounge in London is not nearly as plush as the one in New York (I later checked it out). But those are minor details, and all can be fixed. Flying Eos motivated me to make more money, so I can afford the one-way walk-up fare of $3,250. But if you book in advance they have specials, including round trip tickets for as low as $2,950. That’s still much cheaper than most major airlines’ first class fares. For more information on Eos, including their frequent flier program, visit, or call 888-357-3677.

Taking the Stansted Express to central London is easy. The station is directly below the airport terminal; trains depart every 15 minutes, so there is no need to rush. The trip takes 47 minutes if you go all the way to Liverpool Street. One-way Express Class (coach) fares are £15.00 ($28). Roundtrip is cheaper, so if you plan to head back to the airport be sure to buy both ways. A same-day return ticket is just £16.00 ($30). I sat in the first class carriage only because Eos provides its passengers with a free ticket. I would never pay the extra £9 ($16.80) for a short ride with very little difference in service.

I got off at Tottenham Hale. From there I jumped on the tube (also called the underground -- their subway), a short walk away. I traveled to Victoria Station, and transferred one stop to the Circle/District line. I went westbound one stop to Sloane Square and walked three blocks to my hotel. It would have been easier to take a taxi, but the 'blackies' aren’t cheap and traffic in London is horrendous. For info and tips on using the tube, check out this page.

I checked into the 60-room, 4- star Number Eleven Cadogan Gardens Hotel. It’s located in the heart of Chelsea, smack between Buckingham Palace and Harrods (just a 10 minute walk to the latter). Number Eleven is set on a beautiful garden square in a Victorian townhouse built by Lord Chelsea over 100 years ago on his former cricket ground. This brick mansion used to be the home of famous brewer Sir Benjamin Guinness, but after World War II it was turned into a hotel. The hotel is privately owned, family run, and has plenty of both English charm and history. Because it’s in a residential neighborhood, it’s very peaceful and quiet.

When I first arrived I felt as if I were walking into someone’s home. My room wasn’t quite ready, so I flipped open my computer and downloaded emails using their free wireless internet. I was offered tea, and escorted to my room. Most of the employees were from Poland. When I stepped into my room I was shocked at how large and elegant it was, with primarily traditional furniture. The bed had crisp white Egyptian cotton sheets, and was so comfortable I fell asleep watching the morning news on the flat screen TV. The bathroom was wall to wall marble, with a powerful shower, separate tub, heated towel racks and Molton Brown toiletries. Breakfast is included in the daily rate, which ranges from £145 ($271) to £500 ($936). There is a gymnasium and sauna, but I didn’t have time to use either because the following morning I had to be on a plane to…? Eleven Cadogan Gardens, 11 Cadogan Gardens, Sloane Square, London; tel.: 44(0)20-7730-7000.

Here’s a 2-minute Johnny Jet Video of my Eos flight and brief stay in London. If you want to view past videos, here’s the link to all JohnnyJet Videos ever made. Remember: With high-speed the video takes about 1 minute to load; with dial-up, it could be three weeks.

Next week we’re off to an island that is popular with the rich and famous in the summer. Here’s a hint: It’s in a country that has the best food ever. I know – that’s way too easy!

Happy Travels,
Johnny Jet

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Copyright 2006 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Eos Airlines


JFK’s Terminal 4


Welcome To Eos




Eos Escort


Emirates Lounge


Shower In Lounge


Food In Lounge




First Look


Plush Seats


Extended Tray Table


Welcome Drink


Entertainment System


Great Service




Cool/Pretty FA's


"Turndown Service"


Chocolates On Bed




Landing At Stansted


SAS Radisson Hotel


Stansted Express


First Class


Number Eleven Cadogan Gardens




Good Service


My Room


My Bed


Next Week



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  • I wanted to comment on the reports on Johnny's trips to Budapest, Prague, and Vienna. The information was extremely valuable to us as we were making our first trip back to Europe in 25 years. We had a wonderful time, beautiful weather, breathtaking views, and memories to last a lifetime. Thank you especially for the tip about the dinner on the riverboat in Budapest, we tried the fruit soup (amazing), dinner was delicious and reasonable, and the views spectacular. Thank you so much, Sue and Rick Speese - Harrisburg, PA
  • Loved the article. You should add Ontario (ONT) as an alternative airport to Palm Springs. It's closer than the ones you have listed. Don Inskeep - Riverside, CA
  • Although a short trip this week, this is one of your best as you spent time with your dad. Family is everything to me and I regret not spending more time with my dad before he died two years ago. Every moment with parents if precious. I continue to feel like a part of your family tagging along on each of your adventures. Geof O’Connor - San Diego
  • I really enjoyed this weeks newsletter because I'm from Pittsburgh. On your next visit, let me know I'll give you directions for alternative routes beside the Fort Pitt Bridge & the Fort Pitt Tunnels. I can also find interesting things for you do a great places to eat. Lisa K - Pittsburgh
  • I loved it. I'd like to have our travels with words and pictures where they can be seen and sent like you have done. What a great family you have. You know the importance of keeping family contact. Neube - Overland Park, Kansas
  • Well, I love the Nantucket visit!! I spent the summer and winter/fall of '72 on the island and loved it. I returned for the first time last fall and saw amazing changes, developments on the road to Sconset, no more Chanticlair in Sconset, eastern European shop clerks, rather than blond college students, loved the deli on Cliff Rd, I seem to remember a different one all those years ago, but this one was fantastic. Ya, the place is now for the ultra-wealthy, but I still love it and want to return, maybe for a family reunion. J. Churchman
  • Do you list somewhere the music background on the videos? I love your choices, but don't know the song / artist! Carole M - Holt, MIREPLY: The Nantucket video was performed by Bryan Adams “Summer of 69”.
  • Really enjoyed it! I love captured it well......... How do I get a job like yours!!! Sue D - Fairfield, CT
  • Fabulous!!! We spent a week on Cape Cod this summer (in July, just like you), and we loved it. These pictures sure make me want to go back !! We usually spend our summer vacations in Wyoming and love it, but part of my heart was left in Cape Cod!! I would love a copy of the sunset pictures with the light house. Is there a way of getting that? Thanks for the memories!! Loree - REPLY: Thanks for the kind words and support! We really appreciate it. We can email you the full size jpg of the picture(s) so you can make a print or poster size of it. We just ask that you make a donation to
  • Wow, that video of Nantucket was awesome - I have been there twice and to see the video made me miss the Island. Jean, Mendham, NJ I really enjoyed reading the details of Nantucket , and after watching the video, I feel like I took a mini vacation. It was really uplifting to watch, I think we will visit in the Fall. Thank you for the informative article and video.
  • Johnny: I love reading your stories. I have never been to Nantucket, but it is on my list of places to see. I especially love hearing your tales of just hangin' with your siblings. I have 2 brothers and one sister. I am the only one who stayed in upstate NY, where we grew up. We love getting together, but it doesn't happen often enough. Jackie Smith
  • You're hilarious!. I worked overnight and instead of going to sleep i ended up laughing myself wide awake! Thanks alot! Cassidy from the Caribbean.
  • Your video was AWESOME, the music great. The memories, priceless.....How I long to go to a place I have yet to explore....You put all in reach.....Love it. Libby Chapman - Cincinnati Ohio

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