Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at the airport two hours prior to departure to find a swift-moving line at the check-in counter. With no luggage to check, I was on my way through security, boarding pass in hand, within minutes. I was initially dismayed to join the line of passengers snaking its way through the checkpoint with no designated queue for first- and business-class passengers; but the process moved along quickly, and I emerged into Incheon’s airside shopping mecca with plenty of time to spare prior to boarding. (30/30)
Pre-flight: As a passenger on Korean Air’s inaugural Airbus A380 flight connecting Seoul to New York, I was invited to tour the first-class lounge, a cozy enclave with comfortable seating arranged in small conversation groups offering a panoramic view of the tarmac. The carrier recently expanded its adjacent business-class lounge to accommodate the increased number of business-class passengers arriving and departing via the airline’s growing fleet of A380s. (With two in service now, Korean Air expects delivery of three more by the end of the year and an additional five by 2014.) Though larger and a bit more crowded, the business-class lounge was on par with the first-class lounge with plenty of comfortable seating and a wall of windows overlooking the tarmac. Boarding was swift, with designated jetways for the upper and lower cabins. I stowed my gear and settled back to enjoy a pre-flight glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne. (30/30)
In-flight: Configured in a three-class layout with 407 seats in total, Korean Air’s double-decker A380 features 94 fully flat seats in the upper deck Prestige (business) Class. The top deck is subdivided into three sections — four rows, eight rows and four rows.
Signature amenities include a duty-free showcase and an onboard bar and lounge area. I was assigned seat 22B, an aisle seat in the aft cabin near the onboard lounge. As soon as the pilot turned off the seatbelt sign, flight attendants took drink orders and circulated the in-flight menu. A starter of king crabmeat with mango purée was followed by a seared tuna slice with tomato salsa and tomato basil cream soup. I had opted for Korean bibimbap on my flight to Seoul, so I decided to try the sautéed beef tenderloin with rosemary sauce, crushed red-skinned potato and roasted vegetables. It’s interesting to note that Korean Air cultivates most of the produce and grain that go into its in-flight meals. I passed on the ice cream and chocolate cake in favor of a cheese plate. I’m not a red wine aficionado, so I chose a white burgundy (Pouilly Vinzelles Vieilles Vignes, 2009) to accompany my repast.
During the flight, I joined colleagues at the bar where I felt a definite ’70s jet-set vibe, chatting and sipping cocktails at 35,000 feet. Word of advice: If you’re planning on sleeping and happen to be a light sleeper, you may want to request a seat more removed from the onboard bar and lounge. Happily, I always travel with ear plugs, so I slept soundly for several hours, watched a movie and explored the AVOD offerings. While I had ordered stir-fried seafood with black bean sauce for the second meal service, by that point in the flight I was more interested in “breakfasty” items, so I opted for fresh fruit and rolls instead. (38/40)
The Experience: With so many diversions — a duty-free showcase, an onboard bar and lounge, comprehensive AVOD programming, comfortable lie-flat beds — my 13-plus-hour flight was more relaxing than grueling. I arrived in New York feeling rested and ready to jump into my day.
Total Score: 98/100
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Los Angeles Office announced a new initiative for would-be travelers waiting for the green light. The Buy Now, Stay Later: Thailand launch comes on the heels of Thailand’s foreign travel restrictions extending until further notice.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
IMAGINE SETTING SAIL IN AN EXOTIC, far-flung destination, just you and your family or group of friends aboard a private yacht. The sun warms the deck, a soft breeze dances off the water, and an über-attentive crew caters to your every whim while the personal chef whips up the finest of the local cuisine with all of your culinary preferences top of mind. All the while, the captain navigates the yacht into secluded coves; to pristine, seemingly undiscovered beaches; or even to the hottest spots along the coast for a night out on the town.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
Life House, a new boutique hospitality brand, plans to open a new property in Nantucket next month. Life House, Nantucket follows similar hotels in Miami, Denver, Brooklyn and Chattanooga. The hotel, set within the historic Century House, is taking reservations for bookings beginning in August.
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
Airline alliance oneworld launched an information portal for customers to provide updates on the health and wellbeing measures travelers can expect as part of the alliance’s member airlines’ commitment to passenger safety and care.