To start our trip to Europe, Jen and decided to go with Brussels Airlines Business Class. We booked a pair of tickets from JFK(NY) to LIN(Milan) with about 8 hours in Brussels, just enough to venture around the city. The airline’s new snazzy cabin was a hit, while the selections of movies was rather small. Overall, this was a great experience and a wonderful way to start our tour of Europe. Here’s the full flight recap!
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I booked this flight through Air Canada’s Aeroplan for 70,000 miles per person and about $40 in taxes and fees. Thanks to an Aeroplan transfer bonus, I only needed to transfer about 57,000 miles per person for this flight. I simply transferred Chase points and the points appeared in my Aeroplan account instantly. Aeroplan has quickly become of my favorite programs to use when booking award flights.
Aeroplan is a transfer partner of American Express and Chase, and several other card issuers.
Upon arriving at JFK, Jen and I quickly made our way to the Brussel’s Airlines check in area which was a small section tucked away next to other Star Alliance carriers such as Lufthansa and Swiss. Brussels Airlines operates out of JFK’s terminal 1 and you are unable to hop between terminals after clearing security. The express line for business class passengers was short and within minutes, we were on our way to security.
Security in JFK’s terminal 1 is a complete nightmare. There are no TSA Pre lanes and there is a disarray in the traffic. After clearing security, Jen and I decided to check out the new Turkish Airlines Lounge( We originally found this lounge via Lounge Buddy when scooping out the terminal),. The lounge was well designed and fresh, offering travelers a place to relax. Priority Pass members also have access to this lounge. On the other hand, the food left a lot to be desired.
After the Turkish Lounge, we visited the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. This lounge was nice, but again the food left a lot to be desired. The Lufthansa lounge was significantly bigger than the Turkish one, but also showed signs of aging. The Lufthansa lounge has two floors. To get onto the second, quieter floor, We had to also show our American Express Platinum cards. Around 6pm, Jen and I made our way to our gate.
Brussel Airlines operates an Airbus A330-300 for this flight. These planes have a refreshed cabin with a peculiar seating configuration. While most long haul business class offers all passengers direct aisle access, Brussel Airlines has seats arranges in a 1-2-1 and 2-1-2 pattern. On the bright side, the business class cabin only has 30 seats making it lower density than other trans Atlantic planes.
Jen and I selected seats 7D and 7F so that we both could have direct aisle access. At a quick glance, the cabin was fresh and the wooden accents created an impressive look. The IFE looked modern and was responsive.
While some airlines allow you to pre-order meals in advance, I was unable to do so for our Brussels Airlines flight. Brussel Airlines uses a nice card stock menu that adds to the premium feel of the experience. Service also included pre-departure drinks. About 15 minutes after takeoff, service began.
Once service commenced, flight attendants handed out hot towels and came around to take our order. A short while later, starters were served. Next off, our entrees were served along with dessert. This was rather odd. Jen went with a braised lamb, while I had the cheese ravioli. Both were delicious. About an hour before landing, lite bites were served. I yogurt with granola, fruit, and a warmed croissant. Everything was as expected.
The one takeaway I’ve had was that meal service was a bit drawn out. For a quick 7 hour or so hop across the Atlantic, especially during an overnight flight, a two hour meal service left little time to sleep.
Upon reaching our seat, each business class passenger receives an amenity kit. Premium stylish amenity kits seem like a bygone era. We recieved a pouch filled with a toothbrush, hand cream, lip balm, eye mask, socks, and a pen. The items were so-so, but the pouch itself was rather disappointing. While my Air France and Delta amenity kits from last year weren’t anything special, these pouches felt cheap and dated, with a color tone that did not match the airline.
The IFE was responsive but had little value. For an airline that flies internationally, Brussels Airlines only had 25-30 movies available. Headphones were provided and Jen said they were solid, but I like to stick to my Bose Quite Comfort for plane rides!
Service was fantastic. I usually find that European Airlines do a good job in business and today was no different. This flight flew by quickly and I was asleep for a good portion, but in a few instances where I needed another drink, things were brought out quickly. The flight attendants did a wonderful job and brought a positive tone.
For under 60,000 points and $40 in fees per person, I felt like I got great value of of my points. Jen and I were able to feel refreshed after an overnight flight and take advantage of an 8 hour layover in Brussels. Brussels Airlines has a very interesting premium class configuration with some rows being in the standard 1-2-1, while others in an peculiar 2-2-1. Overall, the service was excellent and the staff brought great energy. I typically have 0 complaints on flights and this time was no different. Brussels Airlines does a great job and I would definitely consider flying them again!