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
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.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
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.
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 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.
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.