On the Ground: Flying out of JFK can be challenging; however, Saudi Arabian Airlines’ location in the front of Terminal 1 makes it easily accessible. Check-in was swift, handled by a friendly team. Although TSA screening was busy, the line moved quickly, and I headed to the lounge to unwind and check emails prior to departure.
Saudia’s business-class lounge, shared with Korean Air, is conveniently located close to the exit of the security area. Floor-toceiling windows overlooking the runway give this room a pleasant, open feeling despite the busy traffic. It offers a nice array of sandwiches and great desserts, including bite-sized baklava for those who have a sweet tooth. You’ll find everything you could ask for in a business-class lounge: plenty of seating; complimentary WiFi; a sleek, modern design; and friendly service. My gate sat just a short breezeway from the lounge, and I headed there a few minutes before pre-boarding.
Pre-Flight: We boarded the Boeing 777-300ER right on time. Attendants took us through a separate entrance, eliminating a long wait in line to board, and showed us to our seats. The crew quickly offered cardamom-flavored Arabic coffee and dates, as well as a selection of fruit juices. I set up my electronics and prepared for the long flight to Riyadh. Attendants distributed overnight amenity kits to all passengers; special children’s bags for those under the age of 12 included books, games and other items to keep them occupied. I thought this was a nice touch.
In-Flight: The Boeing 777 is a lovely aircraft and offers a bright and open environment. Once we reached cruising altitude, I got situated for the 12-hour flight. The business-class seat offers a flat, comfortable 180-degree bed; most passengers want to sleep during the flight. A large screen offers a host of movie channels and music in multiple languages.
The dinner menu included a selection of traditional Arabic fare followed by two types of soup and a choice of three entrées — lamb shank, mixed seafood or chicken buryani. I enjoyed the mixed seafood — quite tasty. Breakfast was also served and included a choice of omelets, fruits, yogurts and sweets.
Riyadh Airport is user-friendly and spotless. Customer service representatives whisked us away to the business-class lounge where we awaited our connection to Dubai.
◆ Saudia’s flight attendants are friendly, attentive and highly responsive.
◆ Saudia’s business class is comfortable and makes the long flight enjoyable.
This summer, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles began highly-anticipated enhancements. The property celebrates its 10th birthday next year and the renovations are the largest changes the property has ever seen. They impact the hotel lobby, all 123 guestrooms and suites, corridors and Club Lounge.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Seats on new JetBlue flights between New York City (JFK) and Georgetown (GEO), Guyana, are now available for purchase. The route takes off April 2, 2020, on the new Airbus A321neo aircraft. With a flight time of five hours from New York City, the route delivers intrepid travelers to what JetBlue calls “a playground for adventurists and modern-day explorers.” The route also serves the largest Guyanese American community in the United States, located in New York City.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
An industry-first update to the award-winning Four Seasons app allows guests to plan travel more seamlessly. The app, completely overhauled, now includes a new trip planning itinerary feature that allows guests to easily customize their stay.