On the Ground: Because our original flight from Recife to Miami had been delayed by weather and we would miss our New York connection, we were offered a flight to São Paulo, from which we could take an overnight flight to New York. Due to the resulting wait, we received vouchers for the airport’s best restaurant, Bonaparte, where we enjoyed a leisurely — and delicious — dinner from a menu of a dozen entrées and as many salads and desserts. Following dinner, we adjourned to the Admirals Club, a spacious area with a well-stocked, self-service bar; comfortable leather chairs; WiFi; showers; a business center and food service that included light meals and snacks. (29/30)
Pre-flight: Thanks to the dedicated boarding line, we were quickly seated. The closet was right beside our front-row seats and embarking passengers were blocking the aisles, so we hung our own jackets. Despite the aisle traffic, the cabin staff offered us a choice of orange juice or chilled Champagne as soon as we were seated. When the aisles were clear, they made sure we were familiar with the seat controls and entertainment system and gave us menus and amenities kits. (28/30)
In-flight: The dual interlocking tray tables on this flight were well designed for both dining and working, providing a solid surface for either and room enough so that I didn’t have to stow my laptop away while eating dinner; I could just close it and push it aside. Since I’d had a good dinner in the airport, the light meal option of a plate of fresh fruit and assorted cheeses with a glass of Pouilly-Fumé was just right. It was served quickly; and although I faced a selection of five movies in each of five different genres, I opted instead to finish up a little work before reclining my seat to its full 180 degrees to test the comfortable pillow and fluffy cotton-covered comforter. I had asked to be awakened for breakfast since I had a full day of meetings ahead in New York, and started the day with fresh fruit, hot tea and buttery, warm rolls. Before we landed, a screen showed our arrival gate, connecting flight gates and status and a terminal map, all very handy for passengers in transit. (39/40)
The Experience: Without hovering, the cabin crew always seemed to be there when we needed something, and we were very impressed with the concern of American Airlines ground staff in dealing with our unexpected routing through São Paulo and getting us rebooked to New York in time for our meetings.
Total Score: 96/100
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.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.
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.
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.
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.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.