ON THE GROUND: We took a car service from my home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to Newark (about 50 minutes) as we would be gone for more than 10 days and could save on the parking. We probably had more luggage than necessary and both checked a bag. Check-in was swift, as was security, and we had time to stop by the United Club using our United Mileage-Plus Club Card from Chase for entry. We tried to sneak into Polaris, but it is limited to international business-class travelers; even though this is a long flight, it is still domestic.
Boarding was organized and the plane was filled to capacity. Everyone was excited to go to Honolulu, and as this was my annual birthday trip, I could not have been more thrilled.
PRE-FLIGHT: Remember this service is domestic first class (many of my industry friends insisted it would be Polaris, United’s relatively new business class), but it is a unique first-class service with a nearly fully flat bed. Attendants distributed Champagne and reading material, and I checked out the entertainment system, which seemed to offer a lot of options. Overhead space was plentiful, and I found room to place my briefcase under the seat in front of me even when the seat was fully deployed.
IN-FLIGHT: The entertainment proved plentiful, and I was proud to see United touting its win as Best Frequent-Flyer Program in the GT Tested Reader Survey awards. (United won this award for 16 consecutive years and is going for the 17th! Read though this issue and you will find the awards voting ballot for this year.)
I watched a few movies and enjoyed a documentary about the Apollo 11 space flight. Astronaut Doctor (he likes to be called that) Buzz Aldrin has attended many of our events over the years and has been supportive of our charitable endeavors.
The only improvement I’d recommend for this flight is more robust dining offerings. We had a small sandwich and various accoutrements, and the water was only poured from a large bottle to a glass — I specifically asked for a bottle of water but the flight attendant said they only had large ones for pouring, and he did not understand why they did not offer bottles in first class. Nonetheless, we had plenty of snacks such as bananas, crackers, cookies and other treats.
I made full use of the United WiFi during the flight and also took a little cat-nap. It is a long flight, and we were hitting the ground running with meetings and tours in Honolulu, so this was essential.
You cannot beat the non-stop service — better than transiting through the West Coast.
At the time, Southwest was flying to Hawai’i, and its service was a far cry from United’s first class.
Flight attendants were friendly and on their game.
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.
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.
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.