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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.