On the Ground: Since Turkish Airlines joined Star Alliance in 2008, they have expanded their fleet and flight routes three-fold, focusing on bringing leisure and business travelers to Istanbul in non-stop flights from all over the world. I was lucky to be on their new Boeing 777-300ER ceremony flight, straight from the Boeing factory in Seattle to Istanbul, so we did not have the usual check-in procedures. (30/30)
Pre-flight: After finding my window seat, I began by investigating my immediate area in this brand-new plane, opening every compartment and testing every seat position; everything seemed to work just fine. The overhead compartments were very large and opened downward, allowing me to stow my bag more quickly and conveniently. The flight attendant quickly took my jacket. We pushed off from the hangar in just about five minutes. There was no wait on the tarmac, and we took off at 4 p.m. (29/30)
In-flight: Within seconds of the seat belt warning light being turned off, attendants served Champagne and orange juice. The business-class chef offered appetizers of shrimp and cucumber rolls to go with the beverages. Once I finished my Champagne, I changed into the plush slippers offered and began to explore the onboard entertainment system. Each seat has a 15-inch screen with a sharp picture and easy-to-navigate controls. There was an abundance of new-release, comedy and drama movies to choose from along with a variety of television shows and every form of music and artist. I was impressed by their export in-flight video cable that allows passengers to plug in their iPod or iPhone and stream their own music, video or movies on the larger screen. Dinner was served promptly at 5 p.m., when linens and porcelain dishes were placed on our tables. There was a choice of a traditional American dish; a pasta dish; or 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.
To prepare for the extreme change of time zones, the flight crew tried to create a calm and relaxing space for us. The business-class seats have a 180-degree, full-flat position that was very comfortable to sleep in although the temperature in the cabin was very warm, which caused me to become restless. The 23-inch-wide seats offered plenty of wiggle room, even with a pillow. Two hours before touchdown, the crew turned on the lights and served breakfast. The hot coffee was an excellent start to my day, and the cheese-spinach omelet and yogurt tasted fresh and delicious. Our landing was smooth, and we were greeted by many friendly Turkish Airlines employees who came to see their brand-new 777-300ER. (38/40)
The Experience: I was pleased that my 11-hour flight was enjoyable and went by quickly. The 49-inch seat pitch gave the feeling of having my own suite. Although there was no onboard WiFi service available, I was entertained by the extensive movie and music selection.
Total Score: 97/100
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.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
On Location Experiences makes it easy for travelers to head to London or Mexico City for upcoming NFL games. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosts the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders Oct. 6, and the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct. 13; Wembley Stadium hosts the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams Oct. 27, and the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 3; and Estadio Azteca hosts the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers Nov. 18.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.