On the Ground: JAL appeals to business travelers through its well-served Executive Class tier, also known as Seasons. The airline’s efficient service, as well as its use of representative Japanese design and cuisine, begins after boarding passes are issued at JFK’s Terminal 1 with an invitation to visit the Sakura Lounge, a large, quiet room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the runways. There are six lounge laptops available to guests, along with several desktop PCs attached to free printers. Free WiFi is available for passengers with personal computers. A mid-day buffet is stocked with Asian snacks, including Japanese noodles, kelp wraps and various gourmet hot and cold teas, along with the standard American cookies, peanuts and finger sandwiches. I was comfortable in the soft, black leather chairs that faced the bank of windows. (28/30)
Pre-flight: JAL’s female flight attendants— exquisite-looking young women attired in impeccable, gray, no-nonsense uniforms with crisp collars and interesting-looking, wing-like hairpins that somehow remained in place during the 13-hour flight — offered Champagne and other beverages while the aircraft remained at the gate for about 30 minutes past the 1 p.m. departure time as a summer thunderstorm battered the airport. By the time skies cleared, JAL005 took its place in the long line awaiting take-off; it was 2:42 p.m. before we were wheels up. JAL’s novel Bird’s Eye Cameras, mounted on the front of and underneath the fuselage, provided a wonderful view of take-off and also were available throughout the flight on one of the personal video channels. (29/30)
In-flight: Although in-flight Internet access is not yet available on JAL’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft currently flying the JFK–NRT route, I was perfectly happy being off-line for half a day and choosing among the 50 available videos, dozens of audio channels, the self-service Executive Class cabin beverage and snack bar (called Sky Gallery) and the Japanese or Western meals served during the flight. My kobachi lunch appetizer consisted of eight small dishes, including deep-simmered octopus and taro, eel teriyaki and cucumber, tuna sashimi and pike conger oshi sushi. Miso soup accompanied the freshly steamed koshihikari rice with deep-simmered beef cheek and soy sauce. Vanilla panna cotta and fruit cocktail followed. During the flight, I ordered a bowl of udon noodle soup and a Dean & Deluca ice cream sundae from the Anytime You Wish à la carte menu. Japanese sho–chu– beer and saké were also available. A full Japanese or Western-style breakfast was served before landing. The Bird’s Eye Camera offered excellent cockpit-view images of green rice fields and coastal fishing villages as we made the approach into Narita. (39/40)
The Experience: New Panasonic headphones, a 14-inch entertainment monitor, JAL’s comfortable Shell Flat Neo seats (about 58-inch pitch, 22-inch width) and an attentive flight crew make JAL’s 777-300ER Executive Class service to Tokyo a pleasant experience. Tip: Because of the 2-3-2 seating configuration, the airline tries to keep the middle seats free; reserve aisle or window seats as early as possible, as the 63-seat business-class cabin is often full.
Total Score: 96/100
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
Up Norway, Norway’s travel curator, partners with sustainability experts to offer travelers a new tour. The Discovery Route, called the “world’s most sustainable journey,” combines personal wellness with the wellness of the environment.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Driving into Dallas during a rainstorm, we were eager to arrive at our destination. The valet parking at Marriott Dallas Uptown is underground and ideal for inclement weather. We took the elevator to the lobby and made our way to the registration desk. The staff wore masks, but still managed to convey a warm greeting. On the wall behind them hung a colorful piece of art made partially from reclaimed wood that depicts neighborhood scenes. The new hotel covers an entire block in a residential area and opened earlier this year.
Business travel is on the brink of returning, according to three new reports. The latest monthly Traveler Confidence Index developed by Travel Again shows business traveler confidence soared in May, with 42 percent now fully ready to travel, up from just 20 percent in April. An additional 31 percent are planning some type of business travel for summer, with 74 percent willing to travel domestically for business in the next 90 days. However, employers may not be as ready, with only 22 percent of business travel respondents with current business travel plans.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Although travel restrictions are beginning to lift, many Americans aren’t ready to travel yet, but still want to get out and explore something new. WalletHub, a personal-finance website, recently conducted a study to find out the best cities for a staycation this summer.