On the Ground: Before getting in line for ticketing at LAX, passengers first must line up in a separate area to get their luggage screened, then a porter brings the luggage to a holding area near the counter. Only then can you check in. It’s a bit confusing, but after checking in to Royal Silk Class, a Thai Airways attendant whisked me away to a temporary business lounge to wait. (Royal Silk Class serves as first class on most Thai Airways flights as only a few select planes have Royal First Class cabins.) The 16 international business class lounges at LAX are all being reconfigured into four mega-lounges, based on airline alliances (the realignment should be completed this year). While the Thai Airways interim lounge isn’t glamorous by any means, I still had complimentary drinks, snacks and access to three computers with Internet service. Close to boarding time, the same attendant came in and escorted me from the lounge to an express security line.Within five minutes I was onboard and contemplating the delicious-sounding menu. (17/20)
On Board: After the flights attendants offered drinks and handed out hot washcloths and amenity bags, it was time to settle in for the flight. I preordered all three meals, each of which included a minimum of three courses. My first main course of roast duck in red curry with pineapple on steamed rice made me look forward to future Thai meals. I was equally pleased with my omelet, and my final meal of chicken fried rice. Throughout the flight, fruit and chocolates were on offer, or really, anything else you wanted.Wine and water glasses were always kept full and service was excellent. No dirty dishes were allowed to linger. The almost-flat seats, in a 2 x 2 configuration were quite comfortable for sleeping, though I did find myself slipping a bit. I had an aisle seat and never had to move when the passenger in the window seat got up. (39/40)
The Experience: When we landed in Bangkok, it hardly seemed that 17 hours had passed. Besides sleeping for a full six hours — unusual for me on a flight — I watched a couple of recently released movies, read and enjoyed my three meals. I was thrilled not to be jet lagged in Bangkok and realized how a good block of time spent sleeping can transform a flight and a trip. (39/40)
Total Score: 95/100
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.
One of Palm Desert, California’s, signature hotel properties recently finalized its biggest-ever redesign. The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa is home to 884 guestrooms and nearly 250,000 square feet of event space. Every facet of the property has been redesigned ahead of the property’s grand re-opening in January.