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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.