On the Ground: The mounting do-it-yourself approach to everything has even infected premium-class service in airports. Continental Airlines’ economy and EliteAccess lines both lead to the same self-check-in kiosks, several of which needed maintenance the morning I flew out of LAX. After trying two kiosks unsuccessfully, I waited patiently while three agents handled another passenger’s check-in woes. I was issued a boarding pass in time to race to the President’s Club Lounge and gulp down a cup of coffee and a few minimuffins before boarding. The President’s Club Lounges in both LAX and Honolulu (HNL) were well-equipped with beverages, snacks, entertainment and powerful WiFi. (26/30)
Pre-flight: On board, a second cup of coffee immediately appeared, along with a bonus orange juice. Assigned the coveted “1A” seat, I enjoyed a little more privacy and space than the already roomy BusinessFirst seats on Continental’s Boeing 767s. The seats are 21 inches wide and recline to 156 degrees, with an electronic back, lumbar and footrest adjustment panel. (28/30)
In-flight: Despite their acclaimed 1-to-8 cabin crew-topassenger ratio in BusinessFirst, service seemed a little slow. When I did have the crew’s attention, nothing went awry. The plane’s personal entertainment system was lacking, even compared to other airlines’ economy-class systems. The selection was fairly large — 16 channels of video and 20 of audio — but it ran on a loop instead of on demand, and some channels suffered nasty distortion, making it impossible to enjoy No Country for Old Men. My sec ond movie was cut off 25 minutes before the end when the whole plane was required to watch an unimaginative Hawaii tourism video. These minor annoyances lifted drastically on the Honolulu to Guam leg. Service went from respectable to exceptional, the entertainment system was in better working order, food and drinks were constantly available (I had to beg the attendants to stop serving me Grand Marnier), and we weren’t force-fed promotional propaganda. (36/40)
The Experience: I’ve flown long-haul countless times, but flying to Guam, even from the U.S. West Coast, seems like an interplanetary journey. But I ate very well, slept soundly and rarely wanted for anything.
The return flight from Honolulu to L.A. was delayed three hours by a mechanical failure, causing me to miss my Northwest Airlines flight to Minneapolis. Though Continental staff vowed to notify Northwest, I found myself telling my story to a series of Continental agents who claimed they could not help. The breathtaking speed at which I was dismissed mere minutes after enjoying “Elite” status truly stung.
Though not as outwardly flashy as premium classes on other airlines, Continental’s reputation for excellent inflight service eventually shone as brightly as promised. The disappointing delayed-flight debacle is sadly in line with the general downturn in U.S. air carrier service and reliability.
Total Score: (90/100)
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.
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.
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.
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 Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
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.