On the Ground: Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest commercial airline, launched service between Lagos and New York in November 2009. I had the chance to experience the airline’s Premier Class cabin on that same route last December. Though Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport can be every bit as chaotic as the megacity it serves, check-in was fast and friendly. When I inquired about the executive lounge, an Arik Air employee escorted me directly to it on the airport’s second floor. The lounge in Lagos is comfortable enough, with a full bar, plenty of snacks and free Internet; but it pales in comparison to the Arik lounge in JFK’s Terminal 4. (28/30)
Pre-flight: After I found my seat — one of 36 in Premier Class on the Airbus A340-500 — the flight attendant greeted me and took my coat. The seat was a dull red — the carpet, too — giving the cabin a second-hand feel. But what the seat lacked in appearance, it more than made up for in functionality with its 34-inch pitch, its fully flat sleep position and its built-in massage system — an intense, almost numbing vibration available in four zones (head, upper back, lower back and legs). Although we had boarded about half an hour late, after just a few minutes on the tarmac we were airborne. (27/30)
In-flight: It’s not as elegant as some other airlines, but Arik has managed to put together a very nice in-flight product with tasty fare, prompt service and an easy-to-use entertainment system. The 17-inch screen mounted on the seat back has a clear picture, and there’s plenty to choose from — comedy, drama, adventure, documentary and all the games, including trivia. This being a Nigerian airline, there’s also a sizeable selection of Nollywood features. Dinner was delicious if a bit behind schedule. The menu features both Continental and African cuisine, as well as a selection of wines and Champagne. I slept solidly for six hours and woke up to the smell of coffee. And because we arrived in New York at about 5:30 in the morning, I didn’t feel jetlagged. (37/40)
The Experience: Well fed, well rested and on time — I couldn’t ask any more of a 12-hour flight. Arik Air’s Premier Class may not be everyone’s idea of plush, but I found it to be among the most comfortable rides I’ve ever taken.
Total Score: 92/100
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
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