On the Ground: Recently, the new United Airlines, the world’s largest commercial carrier, added its first new route — Washington, D.C., to Lagos, Nigeria — and I had the good fortune to secure a berth on the inaugural flight. I also had the good fortune to get out of Atlanta as snow blanketed the city. Arriving at Dulles International just minutes before the 10:43 p.m. take-off, I was whisked through the terminal to the waiting aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, and took my seat — I mean suite — next to the Nigerian ambassador. (30/30)
Pre-flight: Immediately, as though it might catch on fire at any moment, my jacket was stowed and a glass of Champagne appeared in my hand. The ambassador was immersed in Tony Blair’s memoir, A Journey, so I postponed introductions for a thorough inspection of my personal leisure capsule with its spacious compartments, sleek design and curved silver walls that suggest space travel. The flight attendant brought me a hot towel, made sure I was comfortable (I was) and helped me put on my chest harness for take-off. After a brief taxi to the runway, United’s first direct flight to Lagos was in the air. (29/30)
In-flight: You could fly to Lagos and back five times before exhausting the 150 hours of on-demand entertainment. And I would have gladly done so. Stretched out on the fully flat seat, I watched Inception on the 15.4-inch screen while pondering the only decisions I’d have to make over the next 12 hours — which of the Charlie Trotter-inspired dishes to have for dinner and which of the dozen or so wines, selected by master sommelier David Frost, to pair with it. After dinner, I hooked the noise-cancelling head phones up to my iPod, plugged it into the entertainment system and dozed off to the sound of “Gentle Waves.” (39/40)
The Experience: Upon landing at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, we were greeted with a water cannon salute from the Lagos Fire Department and a cheering crowd of proud Nigerians. Indeed, United’s inaugural flight from Washington, D.C. to Lagos wasn’t just another example of the airline’s top-notch international service. It was historic, the first of many flights to come.
Total Score: 98/100
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
Dance the night away with Grand Hotel’s Ballroom Dance offer, available May 16–18. Dancers of all skill levels will experience a diverse range of ballroom dance styles, alongside daily breakfast and dinner, a welcome reception and complimentary golf green fees.
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