On the Ground: My early-evening departure meant the afternoon drive to New York’s JFK from Pennsylvania was uneventful, and I made good time. Check-in was a breeze, and before I knew it, luggage checked with ticket in hand, I was given directions to the lounge. The security line, located directly behind the Iberia check-in, offered premium access; I was traveling with a friend and we were both through security easily.
Pre-Flight: Iberia’s business-class passengers utilize the British Airways’ Galleries lounge. The spacious lounge offers spa services, free WiFi and multiple food and drink options. We settled into comfortable armchairs with glasses of Rosé and some snacks. I charged my electronics and accessed the Internet to work.
There wasn’t a boarding announcement, so we made our way down a few minutes before the designated boarding time on our ticket and were met by a massive crowd of people huddled around the gate. Luckily, we found a spot near the front and were able to bypass the crowds with priority boarding. A VIP passenger was escorted on the airplane first, and then the rest of us were permitted to board.
We were in the middle section of the 2-2-2 configuration, which meant we both had aisle access. The seats were generous and storage space ample. We settled in quickly and were offered pre-flight juices and water. Magazines and newspapers were distributed, but only in Spanish editions. Amenity kits and menus followed.
In-Flight: After an on-time takeoff (which I never expect from JFK), food service started. A number of well-known Spanish chefs created Iberia’s premium-cabin menu. My friend opted for the halibut and I chose the chicken. The starter included a salad and cheeses (my favorite part!) and we paired all with a Spanish white wine. A soup was also available, but I declined. The service included a basket of freshly baked bread as well as cake, coffee and after-dinner drinks. The meal on my return flight was more memorable, with a Spanish ham appetizer and decadent dulce de leche ice cream.
After dinner, the cabin lights dimmed and we prepared to rest. I settled in to watch Cloud Atlas, but I quickly found myself dozing. A number of TV shows and movies, including both blockbusters and Spanish films, were available. I continued to sleep intermittently throughout the eight-hour flight. It was a fitful sleep, as the cabin was incredibly warm. I’m usually freezing on planes, so this was unique. I woke up sweating and soon ditched the provided comforter. The lights came on about 90 minutes before landing, and the crew served a light breakfast of yogurt, fruit and pastries. We quickly disembarked upon landing in Madrid, and after navigating the massive airport and clearing immigration found the Metro and made our way into the city center.
The Experience: Iberia is in the midst of rolling out a new Business Plus cabin. I missed the start of the rollout by just a few weeks with my April flight; the upgraded cabin is currently offered on some flights out of New York City. Through 2013, passengers from any of Iberia’s U.S. gateways may find themselves on the current Business Plus. The new cabin should be on all flights by 2014. Whichever cabin you find yourself flying, you surely won’t be disappointed.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.