On the Ground: I arrived at JFK with plenty of time to spare for my 9 p.m. departure from Terminal 7 and was quickly checked in and on my way to security. At that time of night — 7:30 p.m. — security is not too crowded, so the process did not take long. Iberia uses the British Airways lounge in Terminal 7, and as I entered I learned my flight was now scheduled to depart at midnight. Due to a second ash cloud drifting toward the South Atlantic, the plane from Madrid had to take a more southerly route that added at least an hour or two to its flight. Ultimately, I ended up spending close to five hours in the lounge. The BA lounge was pleasant and the receptionists were great at updating us on the status of the flight, but even the best service in the world starts to pale after so long a wait. (29/30)
Pre-flight: It was a full flight, but once the boarding process started, close to 1 a.m., it went quite fast, with weary passengers eager to get settled after the long delay. Iberia’s Business Plus Class allowed me to pre-board and stow my bags in a leisurely fashion. The flight attendants were more than accommodating, making up for any frustrations produced by the delay. I enthusiastically took the glass of Champagne that was offered after I had settled into my seat. (29/30)
In-flight: Once off the ground, the flight attendants made up for lost time by quickly starting the food and beverage service. Many people in the Business Plus cabin skipped eating dinner in the middle of the night and took advantage of the lie-flat seats and went right to sleep. I decided to eat and was very pleasantly surprised by the excellent food offered. I had delicious baked cod, a glass of Cuatro Rayas Viñedos Centenarios 2009 and a glass of Sembro 2008 Red D.O. Ribera del Duero, both of which were superb. Iberia has expanded the personal space (87 inches) for each passenger in Business Plus Class, making its seats fully horizontal, so after my meal I adjusted my seat to 180 degrees and snoozed until breakfast. (38/40)
The Experience: My return flight was flawless, in part because I spent almost two hours in the newly renovated Velasquez VIP lounge in T4 at Madrid-Barajas Airport, where I relaxed and had a late lunch from the elaborate buffet that offers snacks as well as hot meals. The lounge is a very attractive, light-filled space with large windows overlooking the runways.
Total Score: 96/100
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.
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.
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 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.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
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.