On the Ground: Flying out of LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal in the afternoon can be tricky when dealing with local traffic. Luckily, the roads were pretty clear, and I arrived a few hours before my flight. After a few moments’ wait in the business-class line of Turkish Airlines, I was quickly checked in and given my boarding pass. The security checkpoint was a mess as usual, but I got through in about 15 minutes and headed to the Star Alliance lounge. I am very familiar with the lounge; and as I was so early for my international flight, I commandeered a club chair near a plug and enjoyed free WiFi, fresh fruit and strong coffee for a few hours.
Pre-Flight: Business-class passengers have their own check-in line at the gate. After a quick second screening of carry-on luggage, I was led to the front of the plane. I lucked out by getting an aisle seat with no one seated next to me, allowing me to spread out my personal items, including iPad, magazines, cords, you name it. While passengers boarded, flight attendants offered us hot cleansing towels, lemonade or Champagne, and a sweet treat of Godiva chocolate.
One of my favorite things about my Turkish Airlines flight was that the flight attendants did not require passengers to turn off electronic devices. I do not know if this is against regulations or policy, but it was nice to listen to calming music on my iPod during takeoff while staring down at Los Angeles.
In-Flight: Once we reached 30,000 feet, I removed my seat belt and explored my area a bit more. The business-class seat was comfortable and stretched to a 180-degree fully reclined position, making it excellent for sleeping during the 12-hour flight. I had to get some work done first, so I used my swivel table from the center console to set up my laptop. The table was large enough to work on, and the onboard power sources kept my computer and iPad charging at the same time. Each seat has a 15-inch screen with a sharp picture and easy-to-navigate controls. There was an abundant choice of movies — new releases to comedies to dramas — along with a variety of television shows and every form of music and artist. I must admit I watched The Sound of Music and enjoyed every minute of it.
The dining menu catered to those looking for traditional Turkish delights or American tastes. As I often do when traveling on an international carrier, I chose their national dish and was not disappointed: beef kebabs with baked eggplant, yellow rice and lentil soup. The entire dinner was elegantly presented and made me feel like I was already in Istanbul.
Soon after dinner was cleared, I perused the amenity kit. The Crabtree & Evelyn lotions and lip balm had a fresh scent, and I used them throughout my flight. The kit also came with a full-sized toothpaste and toothbrush set, a foldable bristled brush, socks and ear plugs. It was very warm in the cabin, which disrupted my sleep often and kept me watching more movies and taking advantage of the snack bar. A few hours before we touched down in Istanbul, the flight crew turned on the lights and started serving breakfast. Their Turkish coffee was strong but certainly woke me up in time to eat my omelet, which was so-so and seemed a bit like a packaged meal. While we started to descend, I enjoyed listening to my iPod again and looked forward to seeing the new CIP lounge.
The Experience: Turkish Airlines did a wonderful job of keeping me fed, entertained and rested during the 12-hour flight from Los Angeles. Although the attendants were not overly friendly, I felt catered to and safe during my trip. The onboard WiFi was great for work purposes, and the expanse of movies was even better for relaxing. The best part of flying business class with Turkish Airlines is access to its newly renovated CIP lounge in Istanbul. It’s a must-see!
- 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
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.
One of Palm Desert, California’s, signature hotel properties recently finalized its biggest-ever redesign. The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa is home to 884 guestrooms and nearly 250,000 square feet of event space. Every facet of the property has been redesigned ahead of the property’s grand re-opening in January.