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)
Airplane travel evokes a lot of emotions these days: excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and nervousness, just to name a few. But when you do take to the skies again, the giddiness of getting pampered at 35,000 feet can most certainly wash away the surrealness of the past year and a half — at least for the duration of a long- haul flight — as you sip Champagne and slip your feet into plush slippers. While some global airlines have paused or pushed back plans for upgrades and refreshes to their premium cabins, others have introduced exciting changes that await in your pod or lie-flat bed in first and business classes. What’s more, amenities like privacy screens, sliding suite doors and space to spread out all serve a dual purpose as methods to luxuriate in the air while keeping social distance. Here are some nice- ties to expect now and in the near future, from retrofitted seat configurations to updated décor to Michelin-starred meals:
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
United Airlines is making international travel more accessible. United announced the largest trans-Atlantic expansion in its history, including 10 new flights and five new destinations including Amman (AMM), Jordan; Bergen (BGO), Norway; Azores (PDL), Portugal; Palma de Mallorca (PMI), Spain; and Tenerife (TFS) in the Spanish Canary Islands. All new routes, set to begin in spring 2022, are not served by any other North American carrier.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
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.
The countdown to Halloween weekend is on! Are you are still unsure about plans? Do you go to a house party? Stay in to hand out candy? Try something different this year and join Philadelphia’s The Mütter Museum at its 6th annual Mischief at The Mütter.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Walker Hotel Tribeca is blushing pink with an exclusive offer benefitting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Throughout the month, guests can book an all-pink guestroom, among additional amenities.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
Insight Vacations, Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland are offering the chance to win a free trip to Ireland for two, valued at $6,000. Oct. 18–22, The Road to Ireland contest page will be updated daily with a new clue and question that contestants will need to answer for a chance to win a trip for two on Insight’s Country Roads of Ireland tour in 2022. Contestants have until 11:59 p.m. PST Oct. 29 to submit answers.