On the Ground: The representative at the Asiana first class check-in counter was dressed in a white uniform to distinguish her from the representatives checking in business and economy class. That’s not the only thing that makes Asiana’s first class service stand out. Because I was a first class passenger, my bags were tied with a red and white striped ribbon before I was escorted to the lounge and they were taken in a different direction. Asiana shares its lounge with other carriers at JFK. Since it’s located before the security checkpoint, an Asiana attendant made sure I left the lounge with plenty of time to pass through security and swiftly onto the plane. (20/20)
On Board: The 747-400 out of JFK wasn’t new but it was comfortable, with 12 seats in a 2 x 2 configuration in the first class cabin and more than enough space to walk in the aisles. My seat converted to a 180-degree, lie-flat bed with a privacy barrier between my flying companion and me.
The menu on this evening flight offered a four-course meal, including my favorite Korean dish, bibimbap. Since it was late and I wanted to sleep, I reluctantly skipped the desert and beautifully displayed cheeses, but had a cup of tea.
After dinner I put on the pajamas, sweat pants and zipup sweatshirt Asiana provides to first class passengers. When I returned to my seat, the flight attendant offered to do my duvet turndown service —how could I resist? Two minutes later my airplane seat had been transformed into an actual bed, with bottom sheet, duvet and pillow. I slept for more than nine of the almost 14-hour flight.
When I awoke, rested and refreshed, I almost forgot I was still 36,000 feet in the air! The flight attendant brought over some fresh fruit upon my request. Like dinner the night before, breakfast was served on Asiana’s signature fine china. Even my bowl of raisin and bran cereal seemed special. (37/40)
Experience: During my layover in Incheon before my flight to Tokyo, I had access to the first class lounge where there were laptops, sleeping rooms and a breakfast buffet. When I arrived in Tokyo,my luggage was among the first off the plane any my beautiful ribbon barely out of place. A trans-Pacific trip never seemed so short. (40/40)
Total Score: 97/100
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.
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.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
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.
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.
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.