On the Ground: I was so happy to be out of the cold rain drenching the New York City area, I didn’t mind the 45-minute wait in the carrier’s line in JFK’s Terminal 8. The former Star Alliance partner officially began services as a oneworld member two days after my early-evening departure at the end of March, joining LAN Airlines, TAM’s partner in LATAM Airlines Group, and the 13 other current member airlines. When I reached the counter, check-in was quick, and a friendly TAM agent informed me I would be upgraded.
Pre-Flight: With less than an hour until scheduled boarding time, I gazed out the windows at the rain-spattered runway and spotted TAM’s Boeing 777-300ER, with “The Magic Red Carpet” slogan painted on its nose, that would transport me to South America, as well as LAN Airlines’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The procedure for boarding began shortly after, with families with small children and elderly people called first, followed by premium passengers. Priority boarding was slightly chaotic, as those of us flying first and business classes waited in an unorganized crowd for 20 minutes before having our passports and visas checked.
In-Flight: I settled into my business-class seat, upholstered in red floral-patterned fabric, and took out my laptop to get some work done while the remaining business-class passengers entered the cabin, which was arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration. Courteous flight attendants offered glasses of Champagne, a selection of publications mainly in Portuguese and amenity kits before taking our dinner orders.
In the air, I continued to work on my laptop before dinner was served about an hour into the flight. TAM worked with Chef Bel Coelho to create its “Sabor Que Faz Bem” (“Flavors That Make You Feel Good”) menu. My flight included dinner and breakfast prior to landing. A shrimp wrap appetizer on a bed of greens was served with my entrée choice of filet mignon cooked in a green pepper sauce with grilled vegetables and chateau potatoes. Other entrée choices included chicken fillet in a red wine sauce served with green beans and pearl barley, and cannelloni stuffed with cheese in an eggplant sauce paired with tomato concassé and mushrooms. Top-quality wines from different countries complemented the menu, as well as a variety of drinks, including traditional Brazilian caipirinha cocktails.
Following a slice of pear and almond pie, I explored the extensive entertainment system before getting a good night’s sleep in my angled lie-flat bed. I woke up to the smell of coffee and enjoyed a filling breakfast of fruit, cold cuts, yogurt, grilled Canadian ham and a crêpe stuffed with scrambled eggs before landing on time in São Paulo.
The Experience: From wheels-up to touch-down, my experience flying TAM’s “Magic Red Carpet” was comfortable and left me feeling relaxed and happy long after the flight, even while I endured a seemingly endless car ride in São Paulo’s notorious traffic. LATAM offers U.S.-based travelers from Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Orlando an extensive route network, including 40 destinations in Brazil and 69 in the rest of South America.
[item]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item check=yes]Friendly and helpful agents[/item]
[item]Priority tagged baggage[/item]
[item check=yes]Airport lounge[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary in-lounge food[/item]
[item check=yes]Priority boarding[/item]
[item check=yes]Helpful and courteous flight attendants[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight beverage service[/item]
[item check=yes]Pre-flight newspapers and magazines[/item]
[item check=yes]Extensive on-demand entertainment[/item]
[item check=yes]Amenity kits[/item]
[item check=yes]Lie-flat seat/bed[/item]
[item check=yes]In-flight menu with three entrée choices[/item]
[item check=yes]Top-shelf wines and liquors[/item]
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
Up Norway, Norway’s travel curator, partners with sustainability experts to offer travelers a new tour. The Discovery Route, called the “world’s most sustainable journey,” combines personal wellness with the wellness of the environment.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Driving into Dallas during a rainstorm, we were eager to arrive at our destination. The valet parking at Marriott Dallas Uptown is underground and ideal for inclement weather. We took the elevator to the lobby and made our way to the registration desk. The staff wore masks, but still managed to convey a warm greeting. On the wall behind them hung a colorful piece of art made partially from reclaimed wood that depicts neighborhood scenes. The new hotel covers an entire block in a residential area and opened earlier this year.
Business travel is on the brink of returning, according to three new reports. The latest monthly Traveler Confidence Index developed by Travel Again shows business traveler confidence soared in May, with 42 percent now fully ready to travel, up from just 20 percent in April. An additional 31 percent are planning some type of business travel for summer, with 74 percent willing to travel domestically for business in the next 90 days. However, employers may not be as ready, with only 22 percent of business travel respondents with current business travel plans.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Although travel restrictions are beginning to lift, many Americans aren’t ready to travel yet, but still want to get out and explore something new. WalletHub, a personal-finance website, recently conducted a study to find out the best cities for a staycation this summer.