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Open Skies heralds new era in air travel

The Continental Airways flight from Newark to Heathrow touched down under rainy London skies at dawn on Sunday morning.

Jeff Smisek, president of Continental, was onboard the flight. He told CNN that Heathrow landing rights had cost the airline $200 million -- but that it had been "money well invested."

"The business traveler wants to come to Heathrow," Smisek told CNN's Richard Quest, who was also on the flight. "We have been locked out of Heathrow for decades and it is the most important business market in the world. We are delighted to be here."

Quest said other airlines were already landing at Heathrow, including a US Airways flight from Philadelphia and Northwest Airlines from Minneapolis.

  The new deal means that passengers on both sides of the Atlantic will now have more options when it comes to nonstop flights.

Under the old agreement, governments on both sides of the Atlantic had to negotiate access for airlines to airports on a city-by-city basis. It also meant that a European carrier

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