On the Ground: I was departing on an early-morning flight, so the airport was relatively quiet when I arrived. I stepped up to the check-in desk and, with no bags to check, I had my boarding pass in hand in no time. I proceeded to the security area and, again, passed through quickly with no crowds to delay the process. When I entered the gate area, though, it was like I had passed through a portal into another world. Dubai Duty Free, renowned for its world-class shopping, was bustling like the day before Christmas at a U.S. city mall. (30/30)
Pre-flight: I strolled through the duty-free mall in the direction of the first-class lounge, keeping an eye out for anything that might catch my interest. The check-in area of the lounge was a bit more hectic than I had expected, but I looked forward to gaining entry to the inner sanctum. When I presented my boarding pass, the desk clerk informed me I was in the business-class lounge and invited me to cross the hall to the first-class lounge.
What a difference.
The expansive lounge was refined and elegant. I explored for a few minutes before settling into a cozy living-room-like space where I dropped my bags and wandered into the adjacent dining room. I expected a buffet, but I found a full-service venue — white table linens and appealing place settings — that would rival any in a 5-star hotel. I enjoyed a breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, scrambled eggs, toast and tea before returning to the lounge to read the morning newspaper.
My flight was delayed an hour, but I had plenty of time to make my connection in New York, so I waited in comfort, much preferring to spend an extra hour here than in the hectic halls of JFK. (29/30)
In-flight: I arrived at the gate just as my flight was boarding, entering through a designated first-class jetway. The first-class cabin of the Boeing 777 featured eight seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. I use the term “seat” loosely; each private enclave was like a mini hotel room. Let your imagination wander to the vintage television series I Dream of Jeannie, and it’s easy to picture yourself in the cozy confines of Jeannie’s fantastical bottle.
A large video screen was mounted on the front wall above a desk that opened to reveal a vanity with a lighted mirror. A table lamp on the desk enhanced the cozy feel of the space, and a wall vase held a fresh flower. As I settled in, a flight attendant explained the at-call service, noting that attendants would not approach my “cabin” if the doors were closed. The impressive menu featured canapés (vegetable skewer, grilled beef filet and prawn dumpling), assorted entrées (I opted for the seafood platter with pan-fried sea bream, grilled scallops and sautéed prawns), several desserts and à la carte offerings — all available upon request throughout the flight. (30/30)
The Experience: I traveled first class aboard one of Emirates’ 777s. The experience was so exquisite, I can only imagine what it would be like to fly their newer Airbus A380.
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.
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.
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.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
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.
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.
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.