On the Ground: I checked in at Durban (DUR) airport for a South African Airways flight connecting to Johannesburg and my New York flight. The process was swift, and the agent priority tagged and checked my bag through to JFK. Once in Joburg, I headed for the Baobab Business Class Lounge, which is separate from the Cycad First Class Lounge. I was greeted warmly, and one of three staffers manning the Business-side desk briefed me on the layout. The expansive space featured several lounging areas, including one for smokers; a business center with computer terminals; an audio-video lounge; a children’s room; three self-serve food areas; a staffed bar; secure luggage storage; and rainfall showers. WiFi was free. Food options included munchies, fruit, cheeses and crackers, soup, sandwiches, hot entrées and sweets. Business-class customers were escorted to the head of the secondary security line and boarded via a separate ramp and entrance.
Pre-Flight: Flight attendants welcomed passengers with a glass of sparkling wine and a choice of magazines and newspapers as well as a menu. The section had a 2-2-2 configuration, and my seat in the last row was in the center section. I adjusted the lumbar support and tested the massage function, which provided a simple rolling vibration. Although located adjacent to the galley, noise was not a problem. The amenity kit contained the usuals: socks, toothbrush and paste, combo brush/comb, lip balm and moisturizer, ear plugs and sleep mask.
In-Flight: After takeoff, I settled comfortably in my seat, raised the leg rest, reclined a bit and donned the earphones. Once we reached cruising level, I got out my computer, expecting to work for a few hours. I had asked at the Baobab Business Lounge in Johannesburg about the electrical outlets, planning to purchase an adapter if necessary, but two staffers manning the desk said my U.S. plug would work, adding that if there were any problems, there were adapters on board. That information was wrong on both counts. Instead, I roamed the AVOD entertainment system, which comprised at least 15 movies as well as TV shows, music and games.
I savored a nice South African Sauvignon Blanc along with the canapés and nuts that preceded my multicourse dinner: soup, salad, entrée, dessert and South African cheeses. I enjoyed the truffles with a South African rooibos tea. Afterward, I prepared my seat for slumber, reclining it to a 180-degree flat bed and topping it with the pad, full-sized pillow and duvet. I adjusted the goose-neck lamp and perused magazines before sleeping soundly for about six hours. When I awoke, the flight attendant offered juice, tea and a hot snack to tide me over until breakfast a few hours later. I chased that snack with a hot chocolate laced with Amarula, a South African cream liqueur that I’d become quite fond of while on safari. Breakfast was another multicourse meal with fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli and a selection of baked goods, followed by an omelet served with potatoes and bacon.
The Experience: Overall, the experience was very comfortable for a nearly 16-hour flight. I enjoyed the meals, watched a few movies, slept soundly and treasured my last sips of Amarula.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.