Perhaps it’s the voodoo doll I keep in my carry on or the lucky pre flight meal but for whatever reason, I have an extremely lucky track record with travel. At our first ever reader meet up, one common question that many people seemed curious to learn about was any memorable flights I’ve experienced for better or worse. As it’s Christmas, I thought it might be fun to go through a few of my most interesting happy experiences…

the cockpit of an airplane

Air New Zealand Los Angeles To Auckland 1999

I used to play quite a bit of tennis. In 1999 at the age of 12, yes I’m 28, I headed down to Australia and New Zealand for some tournaments. We flew on a gorgeous Boeing 747 and as someone who’s been into planes since they could walk, it was a thrill, even on the fourteen hour flight in economy. And yes, I was already collecting miles. What made this flight memorable was that I was invited to the cockpit and allowed to stay up there while in flight for almost a half an hour, watching the flight crew perform their duties as we flew over Fiji. It’s so sad to me that no children will ever get to experience this sort of thrill again post 9/11. A memorable experience.

a woman sitting at a bar

Virgin Atlantic London to New York NYE 2014

Last year, we cashed in most of our declining Delta Skymiles for a great Upper Class flight on Virgin Atlantic. I thought it could be very strange flying on New Years Eve. Would the lounge be open? Would anyone be there? Would the crews be almost entirely turned off? Well, it made for my most memorable flight. The Upper Class cabin has an on board bar, and at the bar, every hour the phone would ring from the flight deck, and the captain would inform the crew that we were 30 seconds from a new midnight in a new timezone. Each time we would count down from 10, say happy new year, and I would have champagne while the crew had apple juice. It was so festive and so much fun. 

a view of the sky from the cockpit of an airplane

Bahamasair Miami To Marsh Harbour 2002

I went on vacation with my family to a lovely place in the Abaco chain of islands in the Bahamas, the only catch was that the airport could only take small propellor planes. As we began our final approach, my excitement mounted, until of course I noticed the three our four crashed planes directly in the approach path! The airport is famous for missed approaches and apparently, also for never bothering to clean them up. To add even more memory to the flight, they collected our luggage in wheel barrows and delivered them to the “terminal”. It was fun. 

a plane flying over water

Delta Airlines New York to Sao Paulo 2013

After a couple years of constant flying, dating long distance, Laura and I were finally settled in New York. Time to spend some hard earned miles! We flew to Rio (via Sao Paulo) for a trip to remember, flying down in economy and flying back in business. After a quick stint in the lounge we excitedly boarded, the captain pulled an amazing rolling takeoff, where they accelerate into the turn onto the runway and continue on, and then we passed out for nine full uninterrupted hours of sleep. Yes, I slept nine blissful hours in an economy seat, a feat I never manage and coincidentally, I slept much worse in business coming back! 

a woman sitting in a chair

There are other memories, but as I do hope to maintain some very minor integrity and respect, some stories are best suited for our reader meet ups, offline, spoken word, where full deniability is possible. I love flying because every time, no matter how many times you’e done it, it’s different. It’s wonderful.

As Always, Get In Touch:

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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