On the Ground: My colleague and I arrived at JFK after an easy drive from our office in Pennsylvania. We parked the car and headed to Terminal 1, where we immediately checked in. A Brussels Airlines representative escorted us through the thinly populated first- and business-class TSA security line and on to the Lufthansa lounge, where we whiled away 45 minutes until boarding. The lounge had the usual workstations, easy chairs, and warm and cold snacks and beverages. Once our flight was called, we took off for the gate.
Pre-Flight: Boarding was swift and hassle-free. This early January flight was not full, so the gate agents let me select my aisle seat. The plane, an A330-300, offered a staggered seating pattern in a 1-2-1/2-1-2 formation. My flat-bed aisle seat was next to an empty window seat, so I had lots of room and privacy. After stowing my carry-on and briefcase and handing my coat to the flight attendant, I started fiddling with my seat settings and entertainment system while sipping Champagne. I liked the USB power outlets and the touch-screen feature on the video screen. There are hundreds of hours of movies in the system to appeal to everyone’s tastes. The flight attendants handed out amenity kits and menus as we waited to take off.
In-Flight: Soon after takeoff, the flight attendants started the beverage service. Brussels Airlines has been awarded the Best Business-Class Wines on the Wing for three consecutive years in Global Traveler’s Wines on the Wing airline wine survey, so I was eager to try some of their award-winning wines in flight. And since Belgium is famous for its huge number of beer brands, I started with the airline’s Beer of the Month selection, Brasserie de Bellevaux Brune, which I liked. I opted for the blackened sea bass — excellent — and a glass of the Sancerre (Domaine Sylvain Bailly, 2013). I later tried their selection of red wines, which were all very good. And of course, being a Belgian airline, the flight attendants handed out after-dinner chocolates and, as a chocolate addict, I consumed as many as I could. Just before landing, the crew served a continental breakfast.
The Experience: Like the best of flights, this one was uneventful, which was also the case for the flight home. Brussels Airport is a great way to enter the European Union for non-E.U. citizens since there are far fewer arrivals and the immigration process is so much faster than at the major airports in Europe. The Brussels Airlines’ staff, from check-in to the flight attendants, were attentive and friendly and played a big part in making the trip so pleasant. On the trip home, we used the airline’s lounge, The Loft, at Brussels Airport, which added greatly to the overall good experience of the trip. You can read my review of The Loft in the April issue of Global Traveler. It really is one of the best lounges in the world.
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item check=yes]Friendly and helpful agents[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority tagged baggage[/item]
[item check=yes]Airport lounge[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary in-lounge food[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority boarding[/item]
[item check=yes]Helpful and courteous flight attendants[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight beverage service[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight newspapers and magazines[/item]
[item check=yes]Extensive on-demand entertainment[/item]
[item check=yes]Amenity kits[/item]
[item check=yes]Lie-flat seat/bed[/item]
[item check=yes]In-flight menu with three entrée choices[/item]
[item check=yes]Top-shelf wines and liquors[/item]
The UNESCO World Heritage neighborhood of Balat rivals İstanbul’s Old City for its historic significance, with an added splash of color. Its cobbled hilly streets boast a full rainbow of houses, cafés, restaurants and churches painted in pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues — parts even surpassing my native San Francisco’s steep, colorful corridors. The most vibrant stretch of homes, dating anywhere from 50 to 200 years old, runs along Kiremit Caddesi.
Considering an autumnal adventure or Thanksgiving trip this year? Well, with walkable cities, cozy pubs and lots of seasonal festivals, the island of Ireland is calling. And if you need more reasons to Press the Green Button and go, take a look and see what awaits you on the Emerald Isle …
Icelandair recently announced its newest North American gateway: Detroit, Michigan. The seasonal flights begin May 18, 2023, taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to Reykjavik (KEF), Iceland. The four weekly, non-stop flights will run through Oct. 30, 2023. Flight 872 departs Detroit for Iceland Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at 8:30 p.m., on a 160-seat Boeing 737MAX. The return, from Reykjavik to Detroit, departs 5 p.m. on the same days of the week, arriving at 6:25 p.m.
If your personal travel nirvana involves fabulous scenery and a snappy, reviving hike in bracing winter air, Bannikin Travel & Tourism hopes to make your dreams come true with a selection of new winter walking itineraries in Scotland (other trip options are available in England and Ireland). Here’s what you can look forward to in 2023:
Awareness about fair and sustainable travel continues to grow around the globe, with travelers everywhere considering a destination’s eco-friendly options before visiting. As public consciousness for this important aspect of tourism strengthens, tourists also look beyond just ecotourism and delve deeper into types of travel that allow them to respect the local culture, interact with locals and distribute benefits fairly.
As of November 2022, Rohrkopfhutte (mountain hut) on Germany’s Tegelberg mountain reopened, and the dream view from the terrace, of the castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau and the stunning Schwangauer Alpsee, can be seen in the valley below.
Travelers constantly look for their next bucket-list vacation, but with Europe getting colder, why not travel to a destination that is sunny year-round? Tel Aviv is the perfect getaway to escape the cold winter months. Whether traveling solo, with friends or family members, here are some must-do activities in Tel Aviv.
From 24-Hour Butler Service to a Sky Pool: Boutique Luxury Awaits at Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences in Los Cabos
Set on a seaside bluff overlooking Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences is a Baja paradise specializing in serene vistas and impeccable hospitality, offering a Pacific coast lifestyle with authentic Mexican touches. Guests can now earn a fourth night free at the stunning resort, plus a $100 resort credit, when booking through March 20, for travel through June 15.
Palm Springs became a destination of legend when Hollywood’s biggest and brightest during cinema’s “Golden Age” turned the desert community into their glamourous backyard. While restaurants and hotels epitomizing definitive Palm Springs luxury open, adapt and change with the times, it says something that one of its hottest restaurants sets up an outpost back in Los Angeles. And that’s exactly what chef Michael Beckman and restaurateur Joe Mourani did on the southern tip of the always-evolving Fairfax District.