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)
PLANNING A VACATION TO FRENCH POLYNESIA, the Cook Islands or Fiji? Lucky you! While you really can’t go wrong with any of these exotic locales that beckon with white-sand beaches, mornings spent listening to soothing water lapping your bungalow, and immersion excursions with some of the world’s most amazing flora and fauna, not all islands are created equally.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
As more destinations around the globe reopen to travelers, we are ready to get back to one of our favorite activities. Join us over the next several weeks as we take you to places around the world saying #WelcomeBacktoTravel. Take a visual journey through New Jersey’s beach towns with us.
Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.
My husband and I enjoyed an impromptu Saturday dinner at The Farm & Fisherman Tavern & Market. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the restaurant specializes in seasonal farm-to-table dining. There is a second location in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
Travelers arriving at Vilnius International Airport in Lithuania will find themselves walking along a trail of pink spots on the floor — dubbed “cold pink” by the country as it matches the distinct color of the country’s national šaltibarščiai soup. The trail ends at a 10-foot replica of the famed dish.