On the Ground: For years I have suggested travelers who do not live close to an airport with direct service should look to Air Canada as an option. If you have to transfer through an airport in the United States to connect to your flight to Asia, Canada might be a better option. I found it easy and less congested than many of the airports in the United States. My flight was a quick 55 minutes from Philadelphia to Toronto Pearson International Airport, where you land and connect in the same terminal. All I had to do was go through the connecting immigrations desk and walk to my gate, no additional security. The flight out of Philadelphia was at 6 a.m., and checking in online was easy with aircanda.com. I was at the gate in plenty of time, checking emails.
Pre-Flight: When I arrived in Toronto, I exchanged some U.S. dollars for Hong Kong dollars before heading to the Maple Leaf Lounge. Having eaten breakfast on board, I was good to go but took notice of the offerings available, including hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, cereals and pastries. The lounge has a great deal of reading material; I picked up a Globe and Mail for the flight and selected one of the work stations to do a little business on my laptop. In less than an hour, I walked to the gate and was on board in a jiffy through the business-class access lane. In seat 2A, I put my hand luggage away and sat down to get organized. My jacket was immediately taken by Christian, who along with his team looked out for me during my entire flight. They served juice, water and sparkling wine and distributed more papers; this gave me a few minutes to catch up on the South China Morning Post. I liked the way the headsets were all pre-plugged — great idea, as I often scramble in the darkness of the cabin to find the outlet. Amenity kits, pillows and blankets were pre-distributed on the seats.
In-Flight: At first glance, I was not sure if the Air Canada Executive First Suite (business-class) seat was long enough. I am over 6 feet tall and can have some issues fitting into some seats. When fully reclined, however, I had more than enough room, and the back portion of the seat where your shoulders lie is very roomy. As we were preparing for takeoff, the crew took drink orders for cruising altitude and distributed menus. In the menu, Air Canada was proud to have Chef Jonathan Goodyear’s winning appetizer from Top Chef Canada — a seared albacore tuna. The choices for lunch were stir-fried pork loin strips, braised chicken, sautéed Atlantic salmon and grilled beef tenderloin. I chose the pork, which was tasty but filling, with the salad and appetizer prior. The meal was accompanied by a selection of wines purveyed by Ken Chase, whose selections always fare very well at Global Traveler’s Wines on the Wing airline wine competition. I selected the Santa Ema Terroir Estate Sauvignon Blanc, which went well with my lunch. The meal was followed by a cheese course and a warm chocolate pecan brownie with a dollop of whipped cream.
After eating, I decided it was time to nap on the flat-bed seat, which was comfortable. Kudos to Boeing for continuing to keep air vents controllable to passengers on the Boeing 777; I was able to remain cool during the flight. After my nap, I attacked business for many hours and was pleased with the easily reachable power outlet. I remember the days when I used to travel with three backup batteries for my laptop. After I completed my work while watching a few films, I took another nap until breakfast was served and we prepared for landing.
The Experience: Seems like a no-brainer to me — easy connections through Toronto; a fine business-class flat-bed seat; and a seasoned, professional and friendly crew. I would recommend Air Canada for your next flight to the Pacific.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.