Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL)
On the Ground: I arrived at LAX early for my night flight to Auckland, departing at 9:45 p.m. Check-in at the Air New Zealand counter was a pleasant and smooth experience. The cheery attendant provided excellent directions to the lounge and gate. ANZ allows up to three pieces of baggage at no charge when flying Business Premier. I checked out the Star Alliance lounge before heading to the gate and was impressed by the offerings, modern design and outdoor sitting area with firepits.
Pre-Flight: As I boarded the plane, the flight attendants warmly welcomed me with a Maori “Kia ora” and escorted me to my seat. Before takeoff, the friendly attendant offered me two different kinds of Pinot Noir, as I was indecisive about which one to choose. Along with the wine selection came a snack of cashews and almonds, which made a nice pairing. I took a moment to explore the Business Premier cabin and my in-flight options, then settled in for the long-haul voyage.
In-Flight: Shortly after takeoff, dinner was served. I opted for the local New Zealand fish called hāpuku, and I was happy with the selection. The culinary and wine experience was a nice treat. I have been a huge fan of New Zealand wines for years, but being able to sample them on my way there was pretty spectacular. Business Premier passengers can order drinks, food and snacks throughout the flight directly from the 12.1-inch entertainment widescreen monitor.
After I finished eating, the flight attendant prepared my seat for sleep time. I thought it would be a good idea to finally watch Lord of the Rings since it was filmed in New Zealand, but I dozed off as soon as I turned it on. After a solid seven hours of sleep, I enjoyed a delicious green smoothie and went with the scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast.
The Experience: Air New Zealand’s Business Premier was quite impressive, in addition to the genuine hospitality. The cabin offers 44 fully lie-flat beds with 180-degree recline. The 22-inch-wide leather armchairs are comfortable and provide a good night’s sleep during a long-haul flight. The fluffy duvet and full-sized pillows definitely helped, too. I was content with the plentiful in-flight entertainment options; I was engaged the entire flight. I absolutely loved the amenity kit from Air New Zealand, containing Antipodes skincare, sourced with sustainable and certified organic ingredients. The vanilla pod day cream and pawpaw and avocado lip balm are rich and ultra-hydrating, making them ideal for use in flight. I look forward to flying ANZ again, perhaps next time to check out the South Island.
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
Up Norway, Norway’s travel curator, partners with sustainability experts to offer travelers a new tour. The Discovery Route, called the “world’s most sustainable journey,” combines personal wellness with the wellness of the environment.
Driving into Dallas during a rainstorm, we were eager to arrive at our destination. The valet parking at Marriott Dallas Uptown is underground and ideal for inclement weather. We took the elevator to the lobby and made our way to the registration desk. The staff wore masks, but still managed to convey a warm greeting. On the wall behind them hung a colorful piece of art made partially from reclaimed wood that depicts neighborhood scenes. The new hotel covers an entire block in a residential area and opened earlier this year.
Business travel is on the brink of returning, according to three new reports. The latest monthly Traveler Confidence Index developed by Travel Again shows business traveler confidence soared in May, with 42 percent now fully ready to travel, up from just 20 percent in April. An additional 31 percent are planning some type of business travel for summer, with 74 percent willing to travel domestically for business in the next 90 days. However, employers may not be as ready, with only 22 percent of business travel respondents with current business travel plans.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Although travel restrictions are beginning to lift, many Americans aren’t ready to travel yet, but still want to get out and explore something new. WalletHub, a personal-finance website, recently conducted a study to find out the best cities for a staycation this summer.