On the Ground: I’ll be the first to admit that no matter how many times I fly first class, the corners of my mouth go up ever so slightly into a smile every time I check in for my flight. The smile is usually subdued for the first few moments of check-in at JFK, but British Airways made even that experience a premium one. Business- and first-class flyers have a dedicated check-in desk and access to a 24-hour concierge. I was early for my flight, and the desk was not busy. The check-in agent was polite and professional. She had my details sorted within minutes and told me I would enjoy the newly renovated lounges. I was escorted through security. This security checkpoint holds nostalgia for any longtime frequent flyer — it was once the boarding gate for the Concorde. As a first-class passenger, I had access to the Concorde lounge, which was gorgeous, decorated in dark wood tones with a separate white-tableclothed dining area. I enjoyed a healthy salmon entrée, finishing just as my flight was called to board. (30/30)
Pre-flight: Once on board, I was welcomed by the purser, and I checked out the enhancements BA recently made to its first-class cabin. I was surprised to see 14 seats in first class, where I often see no more than 12 on the same aircraft, but I was still impressed with the amount of privacy. I had my own closet at my seat, which was handy for hanging my jacket with no worries about leaving anything in the pockets. I changed into the blue BA First pajamas in the lavatory and, back at my seat, chatted with fellow passengers and flight attendants. Everyone was very pleased with the new seats. (30/30)
In-flight: After take-off, my turndown service was completed with a seat mattress and 400-thread-count duvet. As I had taken advantage of a pre-flight dinner served in the lounge, I quickly fell asleep.
I woke in time for breakfast and a movie on my 15-inch TV, which offered more than 100 on-demand films. I really enjoyed the seat, especially its additional width (31 inches when flat) and new built-in technology. I could control the electric window blinds — very futuristic — and the lights adjusted automatically depending on the time of day to help with the time zone change. The seat adjustment was also revolutionary. Instead of separate controls for each part of the seat, a knob controlled all the components at once, taking the seat smoothly from full upright to a bed, allowing me to stop the seat at any position in between.
Breakfast was served on beautiful china and included my own breadbasket filled with every breakfast roll I could imagine. The breakfast choices were well executed; the traditional English breakfast made me feel like I was already in London. The only unfortunate part was that I was traveling alone — I had room for two in my seat and plenty of food to share! (38/40)
The Experience: The British Airways experience is efficient and comfortable. All the luxuries are there but not in an overpowering manner. The new seat offers a true bed for a good night’s sleep. I don’t usually use the products in the amenity kit, but the Elemis selections were excellent, and I have incorporated some into my daily life. I was transiting in Heathrow and enjoyed the new lounges at T5. I highly recommend the hydrotherapy showers in the arrivals lounge. They are a great way to pass the time and help fight jet lag. At the Concorde lounge at T5, I felt more like I was visiting a private club than transiting. The business- and first-class lounges were bright and buzzing with energy — an environment I welcome in my travel routine.
Total Score: 98/100
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
On Location Experiences makes it easy for travelers to head to London or Mexico City for upcoming NFL games. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosts the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders Oct. 6, and the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct. 13; Wembley Stadium hosts the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams Oct. 27, and the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 3; and Estadio Azteca hosts the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers Nov. 18.
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.
Hotel brands all over the world have pushed for sustainability. For many, it began with reducing single-use plastics, like straws. InterContinental recently announced the end of in-room miniature toiletries.