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)
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.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.
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.
On Location Experiences makes it easy for travelers to head to London or Mexico City for upcoming NFL games. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosts the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders Oct. 6, and the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct. 13; Wembley Stadium hosts the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams Oct. 27, and the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 3; and Estadio Azteca hosts the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers Nov. 18.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Hotel brands all over the world have pushed for sustainability. For many, it began with reducing single-use plastics, like straws. InterContinental recently announced the end of in-room miniature toiletries.