Our family was sitting in Iberia’s Velasquez Premium Lounge at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport during a five-hour layover between our recent Iberia flights from Lyon, France, to Boston. My husband was snoozing in a tall cushy chair, the girls were taking advantage of the WiFi service and I was sipping cappuccino and munching on Marcona almonds.
I was also thinking what a difference it made to spend those hours in well-fed comfort instead of having breakfast in an airport café, keeping tabs on everyone’s carry-on baggage and trying to stay awake perched on a seat under the Departures board as we waited for our gate to be announced.
We’d left Lyon, France, at 7 a.m. and wouldn’t be home until late afternoon — which was after midnight by the clock we’d been living on for the past two weeks. This relaxing respite was just what we all needed.
When we decided to fly Iberia’s business class, we were thinking about those two long trans-Atlantic flights, and how much more comfortable we would be in the wider seats with more leg room. Access to the lounges for the long layovers in each direction hadn’t been our primary concern, but now that I was relaxing there, I realized the five hours of comfort between flights in each direction were just as important.
And as I watched young children laughing at movies and playing with toys in the play area — a separate section, secluded but within easy watch from comfortable adult seating pods in the lounge — I wished I’d chosen business class when our kids were that age and those long layovers seemed even longer. Parents of younger children will find adult-sized seating in the kids’ area as well, and the foods offered throughout the day include many healthy, child-friendly options (and premium ice creams).
The early morning buffet was filled with hot and cold breakfast dishes, including Spanish tortilla (an omelet-like dish with potatoes), and as lunchtime approached, the buffet offered sandwiches and salads. A bowl of fresh whole fruit, cookies and a selection of cold and hot drinks were available all the time. As were packets of almonds, one of Spain’s gifts to the world.
The area is divided into several different spaces: Along with the children’s play area, there was a cocktail lounge with a bar, tables and booths, and the spaces around the buffet had café tables and chairs. Always restless, the girls enjoyed the option of moving around (and no hand luggage to move with them — it was all in a locker in the baggage room). Even as it filled later in the morning, the Velázquez Premium Lounge seemed spacious and was never noisy.
On our way to France we had used Iberia’s Dali Lounge, overlooking the concourse in the main terminal, and it was much the same. The Velázquez Lounge is in the Satellite terminal, close to the gates for international departures.
With cooler weather and fall colors on its way, it’s time to plan your fall family travels. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort PA Wilds in Mansfield is the perfect destination, and with both scary and not-so-scary events, kids and parents alike can celebrate the festive season with trick-or-treating, fall crafts, fun with the Yogi Bear characters and more.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Oktoberfest is not all about beer. Although beer does play a major role, many of these German-themed fall festivals include activities fun for the whole family. You don’t need to travel to Munich to enjoy the oom-pah bands, lively dances, colorful Bavarian dress and traditional German foods; you can find them in almost all regions of the United States this October. Here are some good choices for families:
Rome is a city full of musts for visitors. You must visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps. And the list goes on, all the way down to trying gelato. No trip to Rome would be complete without the obligatory sweet treat, and for good reason. Gelato is delicious, refreshing and it comes in every flavor you can imagine. But while you can find it just about everywhere you turn in the Eternal City, it’s important to know not all gelatos are created equal. The city is brimming with fakes, and once you know how to tell the difference, not only will you see the fake stuff everywhere, but you will also refuse to settle for less than authentic.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Looking for a unique, fun and educational activity for the kids during your next family travels? Well, Kidzania has you covered. Located in Dallas, Texas, this city is not only built for kids but also run by kids. It’s unlike any other entertainment parks; in Kidzania, kids learn useful knowledge, skills and experiences, all while having the chance to be independent.