On the Ground: Walter was the lone ticket agent and was painstakingly slow, causing a bit of a backup for four other people and myself. I was the second in line. It took about 15 minutes to navigate the check-in process. I waited in the public lounge with all other passengers, including a group of college students who were dressed — cowboy hats included — and ready for spring break chaos the minute they stepped off the flight. I was a bit annoyed by the unnecessarily loud cell phone ringtones that were going off repeatedly, way too early in the morning for my patience. (17/30)
Pre-flight: When the agent announced business-class boarding, I quickly made my way onto the aircraft and to my seat. Service was excellent as the flight attendants immediately accommodated me and began pre-flight service, offering a pillow and blanket, a warm towel to wipe my hands and face of the city grime, and complimentary snacks and drinks. (28/30)
In-flight: The business-class cabin was not showy and lacked most amenities one would expect (in-flight movies and Internet access), but I was pleased with the cabin’s simplicity. Seats were blue leather, comfortable and wide, though the tray tables were a little stuck. The attentive and friendly flight attendants made for a very intimate and comfortable experience. Complimentary snacks included a good assortment of cookies and cheese and crackers. Passengers could also purchase a “Box of Snacks” for $5 that included trail mix, tortilla chips, Oreos, cheese, crackers and jam. Although it seemed appealing, I chose to snack on the complimentary offerings. (39/40)
The Experience: My overall experience during the six-hour flight was positive, mainly due to the excellent in-flight service. I also felt that I had my own personal space in which to sleep and get work done quietly. I missed having in-flight movies, but was generally pleased with the service and comfort of the seats.
Total Score: (84/100)
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.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
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