A couple of days back I wrote about the NY Times Travel Show and how Etihad’s The Residence would be there and yesterday I attended the show’s Trade Day.
I had an overall, very positive experience but noticed some differences this year. The booths didn’t seem to be as extravagant as in years past. It also seemed like the small handful of cities/ states/ countries that I wanted to chat with weren’t present!
I started off by listening to the last half of the Spotlight Panel: Forecasting the Future of Travel – Where Will We Be in the Next 10 Years. The most interesting thing I took away from the discussion was some recommended, hot destinations. Places mentioned were Myanmar, Chile, Cuba and Nicaragua (which one of the speakers compared to Costa Rica 30-40 years ago.)
Once the ribbon cutting ceremony was completed I headed in to the exhibition hall and went straight over to the Etihad booth and boy was it impressive!
Etihad had a mock version of The Residence to check out along with business class seats and 5-6 flight attendants stationed around the booth. If I had to guess, it was the busiest and most talked about booth at the show.
Since I don’t think that I will ever be booking a seat in The Residence I had to check it out and was definitely blown away.
When you first walk into your in-air residence, there is an area that is much like a small living room. It could probably seat 3-4 people plus there is the table to enjoy fine dining along with a large 32-inch TV.
Next up is a small, private half-bathroom. Considering this is your private bathroom, it would be considered quite large for an airplane. Along with the usual shower, sink, large mirror and exclusive toiletries, you have your own shower! I could only imagine having the luxury to shower in the sky after taking in a movie or waking up from a nap!
Along with The Residence being the only three room suite in the sky, it also comes with the services of The Etihad Butler and Inflight Chef.
Overall, The Residence is probably around the size of a small New York City apartment!
However, at around $21,000 one- way it is an insane price to pay for such luxury and comfort but I guess if you could afford it, then enjoy!
When I was finished with my visit from The Residence, I was given a very special gift, a First Class amenity Kit. This was definitely an awesome surprise and great way to end my visit.
I then took a quick look at Etihad’s Business Class seats which were on display. While the seats looked nice and felt comfortable when I saw down, it didn’t stand out much from some of the business class seats that I’ve flown in previously.
I highly doubt it but maybe Etihad would like to upgrade me and let me give it a try during my flight with them in August.
I did hear from one of the flight attendants that their economy class was still very good (she is actually an economy class FA) although I wouldn’t expect to hear her speak badly of it. We also chatted about visiting the Emirates (I’ve only previously been to Dubai) and the rest of the Gulf region. Definitely good stuff in preparation for my future trip.
Besides large booths from China and Turkey that didn’t really impress me, the two most interesting booths were from Japan and Taiwan.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of the city, I’d love to go for this event but probably won’t have the time.
The USA Pavilion for Expo Milan had a booth set up and I chatted with one of the reps for a while. One of the cooler things is that the US will have an “edible exhibit” called Food Truck Nation on the grounds. The trucks will serve up a variety of street foods like burgers, bbq, lobster rolls and more.
What amazed me most was something that I had already read a little about- top chefs from the US will be featured at the Expo, I believe something like 2 per week. We’re talking Tom Colicchio, Rick Bayless and more. They will be cooking at a restaurant in downtown Milan called James Beard American Restaurant.
One of the last things I attended was a press conference for DO AC- Atlantic City.
Prior to the short presentation, I got to meet and chat a bit with the current Miss America, Kira Kazanstev. It was very cool that she won the title representing New York.
Not only is Kira beautiful, she is also very friendly and knows how to deal with a crowd. (Yes I did see some odd encounters occur.) I asked her if she currently lives in NYC and she jokingly replied that she lives everywhere as she seems to be traveling every 48 hours.
While talking about her Russian heritage, I mentioned that she should be living in our section of Brooklyn and she impressed me by knowing some parts of the area.
Atlantic City wanted to spread the word that they aren’t just a gambling town.
There are great restaurants, shopping, entertainment, the boardwalk along with some fun local sites. (I’d recommend visiting Lucy the Elephant, just a short drive away.) I’m most looking forward to checking out the observation wheel which should be opening this year on the Steel Pier.
In year’s past, booths gave out all sorts of little souvenirs and swag.
This time it seemed like much less was given out (or maybe I’ve gotten better at avoiding picking up junk these days).
I would’ve been happy leaving with just the Etihad amenity kit. Talk about an awesome and unexpected gift!
DO AC gave a great looking swag bag to media members attending their press conference. This was almost as good at the amenity kit since it had goodies inside for everyone. Kim will get the bag to use for the beach and Lucas can have the large foam dice and sunglasses! We can all use the large beach towel and then there were a few other little things.
I also got:
I don’t know about you, but you can never have enough luggage tags. Mine seem to always break so I was happy to get a few more from REI.
And how could I turn down this cute little panda from China Southern Airlines. It even has a picture of their logo on the tag! I’m not sure yet if I’ll give this to Lucas! (Currently he is sitting next to my Lufthansa Duck!)
If you make it to the New York Times Travel Show this weekend, let me know what the highlights were for you. I know there will be some great speakers and presentations but visiting for one day is all I can manage this year.