On the Ground: The 83-mile trip from my home in Pennsylvania to JFK can be a hassle, but this time there were no traffic delays, so I made good time and arrived at the airport with time to spare. Check-in was pleasant and uneventful. The sun and the moon and Earth must have been in alignment that day because I was through security in no time and made a beeline for the Lufthansa lounge.
Pre-Flight: Brussels Airlines passengers at JFK can use the lounge of its parent company, Lufthansa, where I whiled away an hour and a half checking emails, reading international newspapers and partaking of the snacks and drinks on offer. Once the flight was announced, it was a short walk to the gate, and within a nanosecond I was in my seat after surrendering my coat to the flight attendant and stowing my carry-ons. Soon after I was settled, I was offered a glass of Champagne and some nibbles.
The seat configuration is a 2-1-2/1-2-1 staggered layout. My seat was on the aisle of a 2-1-2 row. No one had the window seat, and I was pleased to have the privacy. I had a single seat on my flight home and thoroughly enjoyed it. The seats are fully lie-flats with all sorts of luxurious adjustments for precise seat softness, a massage (I liked that!) and lumbar options. The seat settings are made using a touch screen and are memory settings, which is a plus when you must readjust it to leave your seat.
In-Flight: After we were airborne, I settled in and then checked out the menu; I chose the chicken. Since Brussels Airlines won GT’s 2012 and 2013 Best International Business Class Wines on the Wing awards, I sampled two from their list: the Les Vieux Murs Pouilly-Fuissé 2009, which was superb, and the Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni 2009, which also lived up to the airline’s reputation. The meal was delicious and was followed by Belgium’s notoriously fabulous chocolates!
After dinner, I turned my attention to the entertainment offerings. There were many viewing options, from TV shows to current and past movies. I decided to watch a movie before catching a little shut-eye. An hour before landing, a continental breakfast was served.
The Experience: One of the key elements to any travel experience is the people providing the service. I have nothing but high praise for Brussels Airlines’ personnel; from the checkin counter to the flight attendants, they were all very friendly and accommodating … true professionals! The whole experience was more than pleasant, and I will definitely fly Brussels Airlines again.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
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.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
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.