On the Ground: Virgin America shares the Clubhouse at SFO with Virgin Atlantic Airways, from which it licenses the Virgin brand. The Clubhouse — located in Concourse A, level 5, before security — wasn’t open for my early-morning departure (hours at SFO are 1–4:15 p.m. daily), but I have used the San Francisco lounge for trans-Atlantic flights on Virgin Atlantic and enjoyed the full bar, restaurant-style meals and vivid color scheme: blue at the bar, where I sipped a proper martini (shaken, not stirred), red for the swivel chairs along the big, sound-proofed windows overlooking the runway. The lounge offers free WiFi, a juice bar and a shower when it’s open. The lounge isn’t free. Virgin America’s first-class, Main Cabin Select and Elevate frequent-flyer members can buy access to the SFO Clubhouse for $35. (25/30)
Pre-flight: Virgin America uses single-aisle Airbus A319s and A320s. My round-trip flight between San Francisco and Seattle was full on both legs, but good-humored and efficient flight attendants got everyone seated and bags stowed with a minimum of fuss. Like other domestic airlines, Virgin America’s business class, called Main Cabin Select, fuses elements of business and premium economy. Main Cabin Select passengers are among the first to board. Well before take-off, our aircraft mood lighting — now indigo, now shades of crimson — created a club-like mood and welcome sense of occasion. (28/30)
In-flight: Main Cabin Select’s leather seats are the same 17-inch width as the seats in economy but with an additional six inches of pitch between rows. Headsets are gratis, as are food and beverages. I savored a lemon and tarragon chicken salad wrap with carrots, bell peppers and frisée lettuce going north, and a Caprese turkey sandwich with mozzarella and basil heading south. Both were moist and good. I spent $5.95 on my 90-minute flights (it’s $12.95 on transcontinental flights) to use the reliable Gogo In-Flight email and Web-surfing system at my seat’s power outlet. When I took a work break, I plunged into Red, Virgin America’s imaginative and enjoyable entertainment system, which offers oodles of games, seat-to-seat texting, movies, TV shows and music (I tuned into Bach and Bob Dylan). You can use Red to order food and drink on demand with a handset or seatback touch-screen. I sipped green, anise-flavored absinthe and looked out at the cloudscape. (38/40)
The Experience: Virgin America offers a superior domestic business-class service. Its high style makes flying fun.
Total Score: 91/100
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hotel brands all over the world have pushed for sustainability. For many, it began with reducing single-use plastics, like straws. InterContinental recently announced the end of in-room miniature toiletries.