By Ann Abel
It is hard to talk about Kamalame Cay—the private island resort that has been a darling of the jet set for more than a decade—without bringing out the clichés. Robinson Crusoe. Castaway chic. And, of course, barefoot luxury.
I was late to the game in visiting Kamalame. But when I finally, recently made it to that corner of the Bahamas, one of the friends I was traveling with removed her shoes as soon as she set foot on the island. I thought perhaps she was jumping the gun. But no. She had been to Kamalame before and knew that this is exactly what one must do. Within a few days, hardly any of us had shoes on.
What is the point of wearing shoes when there is no pavement and everything is only sand? Where there are three miles of pristine white beaches? Where everyone is coming as they are and no one is making a fuss?
Also, there's no need for a watch. Nor a phone, since yours likely won't work here and the Wi-Fi is intentionally limited. You come here to disconnect.
Sure, I could say that about many places. But Kamalame has an energy all its own. A lot of that comes from the family of owners. Island living is in their blood. Brian and Jennifer Hew were born and raised in postcolonial Jamaica and came of age in an era when the island nation was a jewel of the Commonwealth. They moved to Florida to start a family in the 70s, when life in Jamaica became less laid-back. They frequently sailed to the Bahamas with their children.
There are few experiences more “James Bond” than walking up to a bartender at 33,000 feet and saying “martini, shaken not stirred” on a commercial airplane.
While some airlines are attempting to peel everything but the seat cushions off of planes, others are making the so called “golden” age of travel look like Oliver Twist. If you’re lusting for bars on planes, you’re going to want to fly one of these airlines, which we’ve ranked in order of how awesome their bar is:
Bar available to: First and Business class passengers on A380 flights only.
Qatar Airways bar is large enough to exist on the ground, with refinements you’d be lucky to find in a five star hotel. The couches are utterly swanky, the lighting is attractive and the canapés, cocktails and champagne always go down with ease. A must…
Bar Available to: Residence, First Apartment and Business class passengers on A380 only.
Etihad manages to offer the most unique bar in the sky, a round table of sorts where you can run into fellow guests flying in one of their three prestige classes. Without a doubt you’ll find the most extensive range of fine wine in this bar, so get your palate ready and taste.
Bar Available to: First and Business class passengers on A380 only
Though the bar area only features a few seats and a nifty circular bar in the center of the plane, it’s incredible chic and social. Perhaps most amusingly, passengers in First can have a bottle of their First Class liquor sent to the business bar, for their exclusive use. It’s a hilarious feeling having someone guard your Dom Perignon in the sky.
Bar Available to: First and Prestige (business) class passengers on A380
Korean Air offers the “celestial” bar on their A380, where you’ll undoubtedly feel “celestial”, or at least like you’re on a spaceship of the future, where people chill out drinking Absolut vodka and make their own cocktails. It’s a futuristic hot spot in the sky, which also happens to be under utilized, giving guests space to spread out, there’s even a second mini location too
Bar Available to: Business class passengers on any Virgin Atlantic plane.
Virgin Atlantic is the only airline in the sky where you’re guaranteed to have a bar on the plane. That’s pretty awesome. You may only find four or so chairs, but once there it’s hard not to love the ample cocktails, champagne and crisps (that’s potato chip in American) to pass the time.
Bar Available to: Business class passengers on Boeing 777’s.
Not to be outdone by their partners Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia upped their game designing their swanky new Boeing 777 to include a full service bar, with a modern, hotel lobby styled layout. It’s not the biggest, but if at any point during your 13 hours in the air between Australia and the U.S. you need a place to hang, it’s pretty magnificent.
With a civilisation that dates back as far as 5000 BC, Malta has a long history with its fair share of unique and interesting trivia.
Most of us know that Malta was British until 1964 and we’ve all heard that Mdina used to be the capital city and how everybody loves pastizzi.
But those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to awesome Maltese facts.
Here are 20 random things about Malta you never knew you needed:
EXPERIENCING THE SEA CLOSER THAN EVER ON SEA CLOUD CRUISES
Step back in time when sailing was a way of life, and the only real way to see the world. Windjammers Sea Cloud and Sea Cloud II have been chartering their own course for years.
Watch the deckhands hoist and unfurl the sails by hand, and experience true seafaring on board these majestic yachts. Here the sea is always within reach, not a dozen decks away. Every sailing cruise becomes a special travel experience, for people who earn for something unique and different.
In 2020, the new Sea Cloud Spirit will join the fleet, offering guests three extraordinary sailing vessels.
THE TRUE SAILING EXPERIENCE
3,000 square meters of sail area, the creaking of the rigging, a glittering sea: At Sea Cloud Cruises, guests travel in the centuries-old tradition of hand-sailed windjammers. When the orders ring out over the decks of our two windjammers and the crew climbs the rigging, every single manoeuvre brings a centuries-old ritual to life.
Everything is done manually and can be watched from close up – from loosening, tightening and adjusting the sails and carefully rewinding the ropes on deck, to polishing the brass and mending the sails. It takes the crew almost one hour to hoist the sails by hand, and it is a fascinating spectacle each and every time.
A PERFECT BREAK FROM EVERYDAY LIFE
Crews of around 60 are there to ensure that all guests (max. 94) enjoy a unique cruise experience that is tailored to their needs. Many of them have been working together for years, forming an established team which meets guests’ needs with a smile and spoils them with culinary delights. Savour the classic maritime atmosphere and experience the proud sailing tradition in every detail. Whether on deck in the sun or in your comfortable cabin, you will soon find your favourite place on board. While away the days in the elegantly casual atmosphere of the yachts, and feel the stresses of daily life melt away with each nautical mile sailed.
Staying true to their motto, avant-garde life on the water, Arkup delivers one of the most unique yachting experiences you can get.
But Arkup is much more than a high-end yacht. It combines the best of floating houses, yachts, and waterfront villas. On top of that, this amazing vessel is completely environmentally friendly, self-sufficient, and sustainable.
The exclusive boat house allows you to easily dock in a calm bay or a metropolitan marina. What’s more, Arkup features hydraulic pilings which can be elevated to deliver house-like stability. The hydraulic pilings also provide extra protection from the waves.
There is no need to worry about safety with this floating home. Arkup is designed to be future-proof and avoid or withstand harsh weather conditions. Plus, it sports various independent systems that allow you to live completely off the grid.
When it comes to size, it can be easily compared to some luxurious homes. The livable area covers 4,350 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. What’s more, you get to customize the boat any way you deem fit.
From dimensions to interior design, Arkup can be tailored to completely reflect your particular style.
The 435 acre property can be traversed by skis, snowboards, snowcats and even a zipline.
If you’re looking to book a premium flight, you may be a bit confused about the differences between business and first class seating. There are some things that are the same between both like more legroom and extra perks like unlimited alcoholic beverages, early boarding, and spacious seats but other offerings are a bit different. Today we’ll break it down for you so that you know exactly which ticket to book for your next travel adventure.
Business Class Seating is a Step Up From Coach
If you want to avoid sitting in coach, also known as the economy class seating where many other passengers will be, you may want to consider booking a business class seat. This is the next seating class level on many flights, though on some flights there's an intermediary premium economy class (which are increasing across the board). Generally, a business class ticket will cost less than a first class ticket. So if you’re looking to upgrade, but want to keep the costs lower, a business class ticket is a good choice. You can still experience luxury travel without breaking the bank.
As for food and drinks, customers in business class seats get to enjoy meals and drinks. This includes unlimited alcoholic beverages. The food and drink options offered in business class might vary and may be a step below that of first-class passenger seating options. Overall, it’s still much better than the coach seating food and drink offerings, which may not even be included in coach on some flights.
You will have a comfortable seat with more leg room, but it may not fully recline. If that isn’t an issue for you, a business class seat still means less crowding and a more comfortable journey.
Domestic business class flights generally are only a bit nicer than economy class, but internationally the difference is usually much more. International flights often feature business class seats that recline to a flat bed, either at an angle or completely flat. Business class varies widely by airline, so if two airlines offer flights at a similar price point, you may want to compare what exactly business class looks like for those flights before you decide on one over the other.
First Class is the Most Luxurious Seating Option
If you’re looking for an experience that is truly unique and luxurious, you’ll want to book a first-class airline ticket like on Singapore Airlines. You can expect the very best with this seating choice, so you’re sure to be pleased the entire flight.
For starters, your seat will typically be extremely comfortable and spacious. Your seat will likely fully recline into a bed or it may even have its own enclosed pod around it for added privacy. This can make for a very comfortable place to sleep if you have a long flight planned. You can also expect to be served the best food and drink options on the plane, and can, of course, enjoy unlimited alcoholic beverages. This can make for a tasty and relaxing mid-air experience!
First class flyers may also find they get to enjoy other perks with their ticket, like provided slippers and pajamas or even the ability to take in-flight showers.
Some Features Are the Same for Both Class Tickets
No matter which ticket you book, you can expect to have a more enjoyable experience than if you had booked a regular coach ticket. While there are some differences between business and first class seating, there are some perks that are similar.
You can expect, for example, to be able to use the airline lounge before you board your flight. In most cases, business and first class passengers are able to use the same lounge. This can make waiting to board less draining, and there will more comfortable chairs and a mix of food and drinks available for you to snack on. Sometimes first class passengers have access to a different, better lounge.
Once you get on the plane, your seats will be much more comfortable than that of a regular coach seat. Coach seating tends to be much more crowded, with less room to stretch your legs. When booking both business and first class tickets, you can also expect great customer service from the flight crew. A flight attendant will welcome you to your seat and offer you a beverage before your journey even begins! No matter what your needs are during the journey, a flight attendant will be willing and able to help.
When booking a business class or first class flight, you can usually take advantage of mileage perks and earn a bonus on the miles you would otherwise earn in economy. If you love to use frequent flier programs, this is a great benefit. You may also be able to bring more luggage on board or check an additional bag, whether flying business or first class.
You should be aware that some airlines are merging the two class options together, so you may not always see both options available.
Each airline may have its own unique offerings that may vary, but overall this is what to expect when booking business and first class seating. Offerings can also vary based on whether you’re flying a domestic or international flight. Always check with each individual airline before booking so that you know what to expect and you’re able to choose the right ticket. Which seating will you choose for your next flight?
What's the first thing you do after boarding a plane? There's locating the right seat, stowing your carry-on as close as possible, putting a bandage strip on the screen in front of you, adjusting the seat...
Yes, putting a bandage strip on the screen facing your seat. Or a piece of masking or duct tape. Something opaque, because some leading airlines have admitted that some of those screens facing seats have a built-in camera.
Seems crazy. But then, the industry often does, whether it's dealing with overbooked flights or the potential of zig-zag seating that would leave you staring at other people during the flight.
BuzzFeed has found that multiple airlines have installed screens for entertainment systems that also include a camera pointed at the passenger. That is, you. So far they've been found on Singapore Airlines, American Airlines, and both United and Delta.
The airlines all say that it just happens to be equipment that comes as part of the entertainment systems they install. Either the feature's been disabled or never was active and, no, they have no plans to use them.
Well, maybe. But if you've been a passenger on an airline in the last five years, having trust in a carrier's keeping your interests at the forefront would seem an exercise in Olympic-level credulity.
According to BuzzFeed, some airlines, like Emirates, do have active cameras on some flights for first-class passengers who want to do teleconferencing at 30,000 feet. But even if you go with the explanations of Singapore and United and American and Delta, you're left with the question of why the cameras aren't covered over. Surely a bit of plastic that would blend nicely with the décor might have been a good idea.
You'd be asking, perhaps, whether the airlines that don't currently have plans to use the devices might decide one day that they do have plans after all. Or if instead it's a matter of having so little concern over consumers' reactions and interests that no one even thought of it.
We live in a world where devices listen in to conversations and let your parrot order all kinds of things from Amazon. Really, people don't trust companies. For good reasons.
That gets us back to the bandage or duct tape or whatever. If you find yourself at a seat with a camera staring at you, slap the strip over the lens, sit back, and congratulate yourself on regaining some of your human dignity.
By the way, did you check for microphones?
The 2019 list of the world’s best airlines is out, and topping the rankings is Asian carrier Singapore Airlines. The much-awaited annual Airline Excellence Awards comes courtesy of AirlineRatings.com, which is an aviation safety- and product-rating site based out of Perth, Australia.
While Air New Zealand has claimed the top spot for the past five years, change is afoot for 2019. Singapore Airlines, last year’s third-place carrier, unseated the reigning champion as well as other list stalwarts like Qantas. Doha-based Qatar Airways, which did not make last year’s top 10, earned the number four spot thanks to its catering and the introduction of its industry-leading business-class QSuites.
How does AirlineRatings.com go about determining the rankings? Seven editors at the agency consider a dozen key factors including operational safety, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, fleet age, product offerings such as premium economy on long-haul flights and seating options in other classes.
No wonder, then, that Singapore jumped to the top spot in the rankings. The airline is in the midst of a dramatic fleet revitalization, with the introduction of Airbus A350s and Boeing 787-10s and the launch of major new long-haul routes such as Singapore to Newark and Los Angeles, both of which took place within the last month or so. The airline is also in the midst of delivery of its order of new Airbus A380s, on which passengers will find its latest business-class seats and its much-lauded new first-class suites.
AirlineRatings.com editor-in-chief, Geoffrey Thomas said, “One of the standouts in the industry for decades, [Singapore Airlines] has returned to its best with a new product, new aircraft and new innovative flights such as the Singapore-New York non-stop. Quite simply, the airline is the gold standard.”
You can find all the rankings here, but this is the complete list of AirlineRatings.com’s top 10 airlines in the world for 2019.
Among the new entrants on this year’s list are Dubai-based Emirates and EVA Air from Taiwan. Airlines that appeared on last year’s list but did not make this one include Virgin Atlantic, Etihad and Korean Air.
As was the case last year, not a single airline from Europe or the Americas made the overall top 10 list. That is something of a surprise considering Delta, like Qatar Airways, introduced a new all-suites business class last year. Also like previous years, the rankings are significantly skewed toward the Asia-Pacific region. This should not be a surprise considering the massive growth of aviation in that part of the world, which is only projected to continue increasing in the coming decades.
AirlineRatings.com also picks winners in over a dozen specific categories. Here are those results:
Best First Class: Singapore Airlines thanks to the new first class suites Singapore Airlines unveiled last year.
Best Business Class: Qatar Airways. “The airline’s QSuite is a first-class experience in business class,” said Thomas. “It sets a standard to which some airlines can only aspire.”
Best Premium Economy: Air New Zealand won this thanks to its spacious seats, premium touches and expanding route network.
Best Economy: Korean Air took the top award in this category again this year thanks to seats that are among the roomiest in the industry.
Best Cabin Crew: Virgin Australia beat out Singapore Airlines this year.
Best Catering: Qatar Airways unseated Qantas for this accolade in 2019.
Best Lounges: Qantas Airways remains the champ in this category. “The judges were unanimous on the airline’s lounges, which are exceptional,” said Thomas.
Best In-Flight Entertainment: Emirates won this category again as one of the pioneers of in-flight entertainment.
Regional Airline of the Year: QantasLink picked up this award thanks to its services to remote and challenging operating environments.
Most Improved Airline: Philippine Airlines won, explained Thomas, thanks to, “A move to expand its global footprint using a new generation of fuel-efficient aircraft equipped with the latest cabins.”
Best Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier: Quickly growing VietJet out of Vietnam earned this prize for the second year in a row.
Best Long-Haul Airline: AirlineRatings.com breaks this category down by region in the following way: Emirates (Middle East), EVA Air (Asia-Pacific), Lufthansa (Europe) and Delta (Americas).
Best Low-Cost Airline: Also ranked by region, the winners here were: Westjet (Americas), AirAsia/AirAsia X (Asia-Pacific) and Wizz (Europe).
As with any rankings system, the importance of this one to most fliers will depend more on the carriers operating in their home region and their own flying habits. For a more general overview of the aviation industry and the top players, check out rankings from other major publications, including Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and SkyTrax.
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
India’s most luxurious train ride, The Golden Chariot and perhaps one of the most luxurious in all the world. Join me in this epic experience as we travel across Karnataka for 7 days on the Golden Chariot Train Odyssey, it’s an unforgettable experience.