On the Ground: Wondering if weather might delay my flight, I went to BMI’s Web site to find its origin, only to find that the site is Anglocentric and phone center hours limited. Encountering connection problems, I spent most of the day waiting for my United flight between Tampa and Chicago. Although United is nominally a codesharing partner with BMI, its schedules don’t dovetail. United personnel knew nothing about BMI, and in the process of changing my connection, cancelled my entire itinerary. (22/30)
Pre-flight: Once I arrived at the gate for my BMI flight, everything went smoothly. I was quickly checked in, assigned a new seat to replace the one that had been cancelled, and boarded, making a quick left into the premium cabin. As with many aircraft these days, it looks a bit like walking into Circuit City, with large seatback screens illuminated at every seat. Seats are large and comfy, well spaced and have partial privacy screens. The flight attendant helped me stow my carry-on (and pointed out the laptop storage compartment set into the seatback in front of me), and I was handed a welcome glass of Champagne. A water bottle was already waiting at my seat. (28/30)
In-flight: The cabin amenities were first-rate. The leather seats are 26 inches wide and, when fully extended (flat), 80 inches long. Gooseneck individual lights allow reading without disturbing neighbors. The seatback monitors are 15 inches wide, making viewing movies easy. I did wish, however, that the cabin staff had turned off the monitors for the many unoccupied seats, which maintained their ghostly glow — and showed the Channel 1 movie — throughout the flight. The first course at dinner was a delicious pea soup. The fish entrée had a good consistency (a challenge to any kitchen, never mind an aircraft oven), although the sauce had an odd flavor I couldn’t name. Dessert was luscious Irish strawberry ice cream. Service throughout was excellent. The seats have almost infinite controls: electronic lumbar support, all sorts of combinations of leg rest and foot rest height and extension, and various adjustments for the seatback. The controls, however, were a rubber bubble that didn’t work well, something the cabin staff admitted was an ongoing problem. I eventually wrestled the seat into full recline, a lovely flat and comfy bed, and slept most of the way across the Atlantic under a soft, blue, cotton blanket. (34/40)
The Experience: The personnel definitely made this flight; they couldn’t have been nicer, more efficient or more helpful. The flight was on time, the seats/beds very comfortable and the food quite good. The business-class cabin was definitely a first-class experience. But BMI does really have just two U.S. gateways, Chicago and Las Vegas, and I wouldn’t recommend the Tampa–Chicago “connection.”
Total score: (84/100)
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
Up Norway, Norway’s travel curator, partners with sustainability experts to offer travelers a new tour. The Discovery Route, called the “world’s most sustainable journey,” combines personal wellness with the wellness of the environment.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Driving into Dallas during a rainstorm, we were eager to arrive at our destination. The valet parking at Marriott Dallas Uptown is underground and ideal for inclement weather. We took the elevator to the lobby and made our way to the registration desk. The staff wore masks, but still managed to convey a warm greeting. On the wall behind them hung a colorful piece of art made partially from reclaimed wood that depicts neighborhood scenes. The new hotel covers an entire block in a residential area and opened earlier this year.
Business travel is on the brink of returning, according to three new reports. The latest monthly Traveler Confidence Index developed by Travel Again shows business traveler confidence soared in May, with 42 percent now fully ready to travel, up from just 20 percent in April. An additional 31 percent are planning some type of business travel for summer, with 74 percent willing to travel domestically for business in the next 90 days. However, employers may not be as ready, with only 22 percent of business travel respondents with current business travel plans.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Although travel restrictions are beginning to lift, many Americans aren’t ready to travel yet, but still want to get out and explore something new. WalletHub, a personal-finance website, recently conducted a study to find out the best cities for a staycation this summer.