On the Ground: After a swift check-in at Logan’s Air France counter, I headed through the security fast lane and bee-lined for the Air France Graf Lounge, named for long-term employee Daniel Graf and accessed from a dedicated elevator or stairs opposite Gate 4. It’s the only lounge on this end of the terminal and also the only one with windows. A selection of mostly French newspapers and magazines is available. Seating includes high-top and regular tables as well as club-style chairs in conversational groupings. TV is available. Guests have access to a self-serve bar and buffet; at the time of my visit, food options included a hot vegetarian chili along with cold items such as prepared salads, sandwich fixings, rolls and a few sweets. I was hoping for French cheeses but settled for Tillamook’s packaged Cheddar and Monterey Jack. Electrical outlets are few, and I had to muscle a table to the wall to share one with another lounge guest. The WiFi is the generic Logan service, which requires viewing an ad or other intermediary step for free access. The lounge offers restrooms but not showers.
Pre-Flight: Just prior to takeoff, attendants offered a choice of Champagne, orange juice or water.
In-Flight: Business class in the Air France Boeing 777-200 offers 2-3-2 seating, and I scored a center aisle seat. The podstyle seat had a power outlet, adjustable reading lamp and a massage function. A small, remote-controlled, LCD screen with on-demand entertainment was embedded in the seat in front of me. A pillow, blanket, amenity kit and noise-cancelling headphones were provided. Shortly after takeoff, menus were distributed along with hot towels, and a pre-dinner beverage service was offered. I savored a glass of Menetou-Salon Les Bornés 2001 Domaine Pellé, a Loire Valley white, while nibbling on an appetizer selection comprising a Champagne foie gras terrine, poached shrimp with a mayonnaise cream sauce, and coconut-fig chutney on cranberry-raisin bread. The menu, created by renowned French chef Joel Robuchon, offered a choice of two main courses: pan-seared tournedos of beef with Burgundy-style butter and ravioli with cèpe mushrooms, as well as a plat du jour. I opted for the latter and thoroughly enjoyed the chicken, potato and carrot tajine with cumin butter. A choice of warm breads was also offered. A cheese course and a Napoléon cake, along with coffee and tea, followed. I bypassed the digestifs in favor of bedding down on the angled lie-flat seat. I awoke in time for breakfast: orange juice, tea, fresh fruit, yogurt and pastries.
The Experience: I was able to depart the aircraft before coach passengers and also received priority screening at Charles de Gaulle, allowing swift passage through passport control and security for an easy connection to my next flight. Overall, it was a comfortable, smooth and enjoyable flight.
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item check=yes]Friendly and helpful agents[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority tagged bags[/item]
[item check=yes]Airport lounge[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary in-lounge food[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority boarding[/item]
[item check=yes]Helpful and courteous flight attendants[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight beverage service[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight newspapers and magazines[/item]
[item check=yes]Extensive on-demand entertainment[/item]
[item check=yes]Amenity kits[/item]
[item check=yes]Lie-flat seat/bed[/item]
[item check=yes]In-flight menu with three entrée choices[/item]
[item check=yes]Top-shelf wines and liquors [/item]
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.