ETOPS – you don’t always want it

My Zoom UK flight discussed here was unusual in being a transatlantic run without the benefit of ETOPS. On a London-New York run that adds as much as an hour to the flight-time and takes you up to the Far North. But it’s not always a bad thing.First, if you fly US-UK regularly, the thing that really gets you is that the Eastbound leg is too short. By the time you get to sleep at a sensible US time you only have 3-4 hours left before you have to wake up at a horrendous UK time. Just about kills you – and an extra hour of non-ETOPS-induced elapsed time is what’s needed.

But second – and it seems I’m in a minority here – to me the best IFE is the view out the window, with the possible exception of when crossing thousands of miles of ocean. I’ll never forget my one and only sight of the aurora borealis, eastbound on the Atlantic a few years back. After that I make sure that not only do I get a window seat, but eastbound I want it on the left side of the aircraft.

Anyway on Zoom my sons were making their first long-haul flights since they were babies and I wanted to show them things like icebergs and the (to me anyway) still amazing sight of northern Canada. Fortunately the lack of ETOPS meant we got the full show.

I remember Airbus’ John Leahy trying to dismiss the 787′s large windows as a trivial improvement a while back. But I disagree – I’m hugely looking forward to them.

And I would go to some trouble to avoid flying in that clever ‘herringbone’ business class layout which, incredibly, means you have your back to the window. Thanks but no thanks.

(Zoom has now got its ETOPS approval BTW.)

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