ON THE GROUND: I was invited to fly to Doha to see the unveiling of the new plans for the expansion of Hamad International Airport. Due to a family commitment, I had to leave a little later than others who were attending, and I therefore only had a few days in Qatar. The timing of this flight in the evening was perfect and allowed me to fulfill my family duties and then head to Philadelphia International Airport. I really am pleased and feel fortunate we have this direct service from Philadelphia to the Middle East; it makes travel so much easier, and the Qatar Airways service is super.
Check-in was fast. The station manager was waiting for me and welcomed me with a big smile. He moved my seat to a more comfortable location, and I was through security in no time, even with a little backup in the line.
Qatar Airways uses the British Airways lounge at Philadelphia, which could use a “shave and a haircut.” It was crowded, but I felt lucky to find a seat to enjoy a pre-boarding scotch and a few finger sandwiches as I charged my electronics.
Boarding was crowded, but the QSuite line was not, and my friend from check-in was there to take me through and on board. “Welcome, Francis. Let me take you to your suite,” he said.
PRE-FLIGHT: QSuite is Qatar’s answer to a super business/first product. Each passenger in QSuite has their own mini cabin, conducive to sleeping on the long flight to Doha. I can compare this to the Asiana first-class suite on the Airbus A380 (now business), but the QSuite is a tad bit smaller.
The crew did everything possible to get us settled and comfortable, including offering pre-flight drinks of juice or Champagne and reading material. They distributed fine amenity kits, detailed menus and a separate vast menu of the wine to be served. I got settled by hooking up my laptop and phone for power and charging.
IN-FLIGHT: My plan was to eat dinner and watch a movie or two and then sleep for the duration of the flight. Dinner started with garden pea soup followed by tapas appetizers. The main course selections included chicken biryani (with basmati rice), braised lamb with lentil rice pilaf, pan-seared snapper with a red pepper sauce, or penne pasta with basil pesto sauce. I chose the lamb, as this seemed to be a fitting dish for my flight to Doha. The lamb was served with turnips and carrots and went well with the Chilean Escudo Rojo Carménère 2017 I selected. Fine breads accompanied the meal, followed by an apple tart and fresh berries. Prior to landing, a complete breakfast was served, but I chose to have some fruit, as I had a dinner planned upon arrival.
Once the meal was complete, I watched the balance of my movie and then turned in. The flight attendant shut the cabin door on my QSuite, and I quickly fell asleep for the rest of the flight.
How fortunate we are in Philadelphia to have this direct service to the Middle East — and on such a fine carrier.
The experience could only be topped by a dedicated Qatar Airways lounge in Philadelphia.
Arriving at Hamad International offers passengers a taste of the airport’s award-winning service.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.