On the Ground: My husband and I arrived in Madrid for our connecting flight to Boston hoping we had been cleared for a space-available upgrade. Anticipating a 7.5-hour flight, we grabbed a quick snack, just in case we didn’t make it into business class, and approached the gate agent with our fingers crossed. A cursory glance at the flight list showed that we had not been cleared. Disappointed, I asked her to check one more time. The double-check did the trick: We made it. (27/30)
Pre-flight: I made myself comfortable in my spacious seat and, before I even had my seat belt buckled, a pleasant flight attendant was at my side offering a choice of water, orange juice or Champagne. I selected a newspaper, checked out the amenity kit (hairbrush, socks, eye mask, moisturizer — everything I would need to ensure a comfortable trans-Atlantic flight — and proceeded to peruse the in-flight menu. (30/30)
In-flight: Once airborne, flight attendants circulated about the business-class cabin offering warm towels and beverage service. I accepted a glass of Merlot and placed my order for honey-stung chicken with rice and assorted vegetables, accompanied by warm rolls. Following dinner service, I switched on the overhead light, reclined my seat into a comfortable position and opened my book. The flight attendant assigned to my section of the cabin offered me a cup of tea and a blanket; throughout the flight she acted as if I was her only passenger. I read for a while then decided to watch a movie. The service was great, but the comfortable seat was the icing on the cake. (40/40)
The Experience: Our Iberia flight was more of an extension of our vacation than simply transportation. We landed in Boston, and my husband joked that he’d like to bring the seat home with him.
Total Score: 97/100
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.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
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.
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.
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.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.