On the Ground: Check-in at Porto International Airport was pleasant and stress-free. Though there was only one agent handling Executive Class and only one person ahead of me in line, that passenger was having some issue related to luggage weight. Anticipating the possibility of a delay, a second TAP agent immediately stepped forward to assist me, with a smile, and I was on my way in minutes. The security line was short and efficiently handled. Total time from check-in to stepping into the elevator going to the lounge one level up was less than 15 minutes.
Pre-Flight: I arrived early for my 11:30 a.m. flight, and the ANA lounge in Terminal 1 used by TAP passengers was not at all crowded. There was a nice spread of fresh juices, teas, coffee, small sandwiches, fruit and freshly baked breads and pastries, including Portugal’s famed custard tarts, pasteis de nata, on which I promptly focused. The interior space was nicely sectioned for privacy and working. The bathrooms, though immaculately clean, were located outside of the main lounge area across from the lounge check-in desk.
The Porto airport is relatively small, but a constant flood of natural light worked into the architecture and design gives the impression of spaciousness, which directly carries through to the lounge. Plate in hand, I chose an armchair on the open deck overlooking part of the terminal’s retail zone. Though open to the surrounding area, the sound coming from below was muted and not at all distracting.
When the boarding call came, I was greeted by a hearty “Bom dia” by one of the cabin attendants, who took my coat and quickly offered me a glass of sparkling wine. A good selection of magazines and newspapers was offered, but I bypassed those in favor of a book I’d just acquired.
In-Flight: Following a fairly amusing safety video featuring TAP passengers, I explored my seat’s adjustment options, which allowed an excellent range of positions and fully reclined for sleeping. The recently introduced headphones featured cutting-edge noise-canceling technology and did exactly that while also being extremely comfortable to wear. Another pleasant and recent change: Large, dark blue quilts have replaced the less cozy polar blankets previously used. Another surprise — and an especially nice touch — was the amenity kit, a pencil box-shaped tin with a lid decorated in original art, part of a project involving designs by three separate international artists commissioned by TAP specifically for this amenity.
During meal service, cabin lights were slightly dimmed, which had the pleasing effect of creating an intimate dining room ambience. My flight included lunch and a second, lighter meal prior to landing. Canapés with shrimp, blue cheese and nuts were offered following takeoff. Lunch included a beautiful salad prepared to order from a trolley seatside, with additional choices that included fresh mango and marinated scallops. Following a creamy basil soup finished with pesto and toasted pine nuts, I chose a main course of beef filet au poivre with an herb butter sauce, blanched potatoes and vegetables, and a glass of excellent Monte da Cal Reserva from the Alentejo region. Three additional choices, including a vegetarian meal, were also available. Though there was a tempting cheesecake for dessert, I selected the cheese plate with raspberry purée and a glass of sweet Vinho Porto Doce.
The Experience: Though I’ve flown TAP multiple times over the years and have always found the service friendly and extremely efficient, I would rate this flight experience as especially pleasurable.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged baggage
- 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 entertainment
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Turn-down service
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
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 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.
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.
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.