TAKING THE HIGH ROAD

 

What’s worse than the bumper-to- bumper summer traffic heading north from Toronto on a Friday afternoon? The car is cramped, tempers flare, kids melt down, everyone’s hungry, and we’re not even past the city limits yet. What should be a 90-minute drive turns into a mind-bending, patience- testing three-hour crawl. Well, what if I told you there’s a better way? This May long weekend — the unofficial start to summer and the official start to cottage season — instead of taking to the highway, I boarded a 40-minute flight from downtown to Muskoka. I could get used to this…

11:25 AM After a quick and friendly check-in, I take a seat in the comfortable lounge at Fly GTA Airlines at Billy Bishop Airport. With free WiFi, ample magazines, and complimentary refreshments, I take a few moments to relax before heading out on the tarmac.

11:51 AM Unlike traditional flights, as soon as all the passengers are checked-in, we can board the plane. Staff are eager to assist with luggage, if needed. A brief welcome from the pilot, seat belts buckled, and we’re ready to go!

11:56 AM Time for take-off. Nothing quite like an aerial view of Toronto’s incredible skyline. On board, I meet fellow passengers and cottagers from Lake Rosseau, Michael and Shea. It’s also their first time flying north for the weekend. “This couldn’t be easier,”exclaims Michael. “Better than traffic.” My thoughts exactly.

12:10 PM Soaring just above the clouds now. A signal is spotty at this altitude, but I did manage to get in a few business texts, with pictures, of course. Sitting back, enjoying the scenery, I feel relaxed already. What a start to the long weekend!

12:17 PM There’s no mistaking the enormous, deep blue of Lake Simcoe. I can almost taste cottage country now.

12:26 PM Zipping past the cottage- country traffic starting to build on Highway 11.
12:32 PM The scenery grows ever more familiar, as we enter deeper into cottage country. Lakes dotted with islands and windswept trees: Muskoka’s rugged landscape starts to take shape.

12:36 PM And, in no time at all, we’ve landed at Muskoka Airport. I’m impressed with the service, the ease — what a stress-free way to start the weekend. Back on the ground, I ask Michael and Shea if I might see them again on another flight this summer. “Oh yes, the value of your time and decreased stress level is worth it, it’s a no-brainer,” Michael replies. FlyGTA Airlines (flygta.com) offers flights to Muskoka Thursday through Tuesday throughout the summer months. Check back often for rates and scheduled flight times. Need a ride? FlyGTA can also arrange for airport transfers. I, for one, will be taking this route as often as possible.

Hope to see you on board!

Story by WENDY MCCLUNG

Non-Stop luxury To Asia

Longest flights in the air by Singapore Airlines

Our planet is massive, and there’s no way around it without spending many hours in the air. But  Singapore Airlines is taking some of the sting out of the transcontinental, transoceanic travel experience. It’s called the AIRBUS A350-900 ULTRA LONG RANGE, an airplane specifically designed to bridge
the gap between North America and Asia as quickly as possible.  Of course, the best way to accomplish the briefest possible travel time is to stay in the air and avoid connecting flights. This plane is capable of flying further in commercial service than any other, and Singapore Airlines is the first airline to deploy the aircraft. Singapore Airlines will launch nonstop  services between Singapore and New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco this fall. With a flying time of up to 18 hours and 45 minutes, these will be the world’s longest commercial flights.

Passengers will be treated to an inflight experience that includes an improved air circulation system and cabin pressurization to a lower altitude, as well as higher ceilings, larger windows and 16 million LED lighting options to allow for optimal inflight rest. Passengers will also have access to videos in the inflight
entertainment system that have been created with the participation of award-winning Canyon Ranch, a leading wellness brand. These focus on ways to maintain health and wellness during the flight with described, illustrated exercises.

The inflight menu has also been advised by Canyon Ranch with those same wellness goals in mind. For instance, passengers in business class can look forward to enjoying prawn ceviche and lavosh with orange, cucumber, grapefruit, cilantro, scallions, and bell pepper, as well as braised pork with citrus and white bean cassoulet with spinach The lie-flat seats in business class are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, giving all passengers access to an  aisle. Don’t forget to download the myKrisWorld app before take off, allowing you to create playlists of your favorite movies and music before you board. In addition, the system bookmarks your content, so that a program cut off at the end of a flight can automatically resume at the same spot during the passenger’s    next SIA flight.

Get on board and relax! Book your next trip on Singapore Airlines at singaporeair.com.

Story by Ted Davis