On the Ground: With virtually no wait in the designated check-in line for Premium Voyageur passengers, we were quickly assisted by pleasant and efficient agents. We happily checked our bags with their priority tags attached, passed quickly through the designated security line and made our way to L’Espace Lounge.
The small lounge offers separate zones (but not individual rooms) for dining, television watching or going online. Minimalist in design and slightly worn but clean, the room had large windows covered by opaque shades, which let in natural light and screened out the rooftop view of ducts and air-conditioning units. Leather club chairs with adjoining side tables and lamps and ample electrical outlets provided comfortable seating as I powered up my laptop to access the free WiFi. My husband checked out the three workstations and reported that one computer wasn’t functioning and the rest were frustratingly slow.
Although we arrived just before 1 p.m. and were hoping to find lunch items, food offerings were limited to prepackaged snacks and small rounds of cheese. A little later, a few small sandwiches were set out — and depleted before I got to them. A good selection of sodas, soft drinks and bottled water were augmented by a self-service station of wines, Champagne and liquors. The boarding announcement informed us of the time required to get to our gate — very helpful.
Pre-flight: We boarded through a separate entrance but still found ourselves seated aft of the economy-class doorway, delaying attendant service. Our seats were stocked with an amenity kit (ear plugs, eye shade, toothbrush, comb, shoe horn, moisturizer, headphone covers, socks and a shoe bag), blanket, pillow and bottled water. Each also featured a USB port and electrical outlet, reading lamp, headphones and spaces for stowing personal gear. Once boarding was completed, we were offered Champagne, juice and a selection of newspapers.
In-flight: Our dinner service — on white linen and china — began with an amuse-bouche of quail with chestnuts and cranberry preserves (and more Champagne) and proceeded to a delicious smoked duck and scallop flan appetizer and seasonal salad. The only disappointment here was the cold and rather dry rolls offered. Three entrées (including a vegetarian option) plus a special chicken dish were available; we both enjoyed the tournedos of beef in shallot sauce with two delicious red wine blends. A cheese plate (delectable brie and camembert at perfect room temperature) was followed by a trio of miniature desserts and a choice of coffee, tea or an assortment of after-dinner liqueurs.
Cabin lights dimmed, and after sampling the abundant entertainment on the AVOD system (movies, TV series, games, music), I reclined my seat into its self-contained shell and raised the footrest to achieve a not-flat-but-nevertheless-comfortable position for several hours of rest. I’ve found most cabins to be quite cool and prefer them so for sleeping, but on this flight I was actually too warm. Breakfast, served about 90 minutes before we reached Paris, began with fresh fruit (the sweetest, juiciest pineapple I’ve had in a long time), yogurt and pastries and concluded with a choice of omelet and hash browns, blueberry crêpes or a cold plate of preserved meats and cheeses. I enjoyed the crêpes while my husband, the last to be served, had to accept the cold plate (and the front of the plane was not full — disappointing). Not being coffee drinkers, we both found the hot chocolate — thick, creamy and rich — extremely satisfying.
The Experience: This was my first flight on Air France and one I would gladly repeat. The comfortable seat, fine service and delectable food and wine made the nearly 11-hour flight a pleasant one.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food and beverages
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous in-flight staff
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress pad and comforter
- In-flight menu offering choice of three entrées
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
The UNESCO World Heritage neighborhood of Balat rivals İstanbul’s Old City for its historic significance, with an added splash of color. Its cobbled hilly streets boast a full rainbow of houses, cafés, restaurants and churches painted in pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues — parts even surpassing my native San Francisco’s steep, colorful corridors. The most vibrant stretch of homes, dating anywhere from 50 to 200 years old, runs along Kiremit Caddesi.
IHG® Hotels & Resorts certainly has a lot to celebrate, starting with an incredible growth story. Over the past five years, IHG has acquired or launched six new brands: Six Senses® Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent® Hotels & Resorts, Vignette™ Collection, voco™ hotels, avid® hotels and Atwell Suites™. Most recently, IHG reached an important milestone with its 6,000th open hotel. The company looks to further expand its portfolio by 30 percent with 1,800 hotels in the development pipeline, with significant focus on growth in the luxury segment where IHG is positioned as one of the top two hotel chains.
Icelandair recently announced its newest North American gateway: Detroit, Michigan. The seasonal flights begin May 18, 2023, taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to Reykjavik (KEF), Iceland. The four weekly, non-stop flights will run through Oct. 30, 2023. Flight 872 departs Detroit for Iceland Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at 8:30 p.m., on a 160-seat Boeing 737MAX. The return, from Reykjavik to Detroit, departs 5 p.m. on the same days of the week, arriving at 6:25 p.m.
If your personal travel nirvana involves fabulous scenery and a snappy, reviving hike in bracing winter air, Bannikin Travel & Tourism hopes to make your dreams come true with a selection of new winter walking itineraries in Scotland (other trip options are available in England and Ireland). Here’s what you can look forward to in 2023:
At nearly 30,000 square feet, United Airlines’ newest United ClubSM now welcomes Newark Liberty International Airport travelers with its modern design, enhanced amenities, culinary offerings, locally sourced art and furniture and Manhattan skyline views. Seek airport solace at the new location in Terminal C3, near Gate C123.
As of November 2022, Rohrkopfhutte (mountain hut) on Germany’s Tegelberg mountain reopened, and the dream view from the terrace, of the castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau and the stunning Schwangauer Alpsee, can be seen in the valley below.
Travelers constantly look for their next bucket-list vacation, but with Europe getting colder, why not travel to a destination that is sunny year-round? Tel Aviv is the perfect getaway to escape the cold winter months. Whether traveling solo, with friends or family members, here are some must-do activities in Tel Aviv.
Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.
Palm Springs became a destination of legend when Hollywood’s biggest and brightest during cinema’s “Golden Age” turned the desert community into their glamourous backyard. While restaurants and hotels epitomizing definitive Palm Springs luxury open, adapt and change with the times, it says something that one of its hottest restaurants sets up an outpost back in Los Angeles. And that’s exactly what chef Michael Beckman and restaurateur Joe Mourani did on the southern tip of the always-evolving Fairfax District.