Flight 091 Newark, NJ to Dubai
On the Ground: There was no one in line on the blue carpet in front of the Golden Club check-in counter-and no one behind the counter. Instead, a very pleasant agent behind the first-class counter invited me to step up on the neighboring red carpet, where she readily checked me into my Golden Club seat. Virgin Atlantic shares its Newark (N.J.) Airport clubhouse lounge with Malaysia Air. It’s cozy in a “mod” way. Snacks and juice were set on the bar. Two PCs were tucked into corners affording would-be surfers a modicum of privacy. I was promised boarding would be announced, but about 45 minutes before flight time-with no announcement that I noticed-I looked up from my reading to find the lounge deserted. Deciding my fellow passengers might know something I didn’t, I headed to the gate where I arrived just a few minutes before boarding. 8/10
Onboard: Seating was comfortable, with controls for footrest, lumbar support and recline. At first, the recline seemed generous, but when I tried to sleep, it felt more like a lounge chair. The flight offered broadcast video on larger monitors. Films included recent blockbusters such as Finding Nemo and The Italian Job, as well as an assortment of international selections. Other options included more than two dozen video games and a range of music selections. Golden Club seats are conducive to work. Power points are available at the seats, but the adapter onboard didn’t fit my Apple PowerBook. Satellite telephone and fax services are available in a small business center. Malay cuisine is delicious and the fare served on their flagship airline is no exception. Meal service began with satay in peanut sauce. Of the three main courses on offer, I selected the black pepper beef. Throughout the night, baskets of finger sandwiches, cookies and candies were available in the galley. Breakfast options included a tomato and cheese omelet, but that ran out before service got to me, which limited my selection to a choice of traditional Chinese or Indian breakfast fare. 34/40
Punctuality: Boarding began about 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure. Rollback was 10 minutes late. The winter jet stream gave us a few rough spells and enough tail wind to get us into Dubai about five minutes early. 9/10
The Experience: As we boarded, Malaysia’s award-winning cabin staff was busy distributing newspapers, juice, hot towels and amenity kits. Shortly after takeoff, staff distributed menus and took drink orders. Facing a flight time of just over 12 1/2 hours, I settled down to watch The Italian Job. Lights went down shortly after the completion of meal service. For the next six or seven hours, the cabin was extremely dark. About two hours prior to our scheduled arrival, lights began to come on in stages, gently waking slumbering passengers. On the ground, early morning passport control was a breeze. My bag appeared within five minutes of my arrival at baggage claim. 27/30
The Last Word:Aside from a little discomfort caused by trying to sleep in a recliner at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the flight was pleasant. I would have preferred on-demand video and a wider range of film options, but the cabin staff lived up to its vaunted reputation. That goes a long way.
Total Score 78/100
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
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.
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.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.