a man sitting in an airplane

Catch me, if you can?

A couple days ago, it was a thrill to announce the return of my upgrade amusement show coming to a city near you. Basically: if you find me in an airport, or follow my clues to find me in a city, I’ve got first and business class seats, and hotel suites all up for grabs – all yours for the taking. After all, travel should be fun. The Daily Mail said “remember this face”, and I’d say if you want an upgrade or a free hotel suite for the night in the next coming weeks, that’s pretty good advice.

Remember that room Kevin McCallister stayed at in Home Alone 2 at the Plaza in New York? Yeah, that’s up for grabs, amongst many others…

One thing I didn’t do in the initial launch announcement was go into where I’ll be travelling, when and what kinda things are out there for people to enjoy. The answer is, quite a lot, thanks to Capital One jumping into the mix, so I’ll share those now.

And before you ask, of course this is a promotional stunt for me, but who in their right mind would fly around the world in like 5 days, if they didn’t also want to bring some fun and amusement with it?..

a collage of a man holding a sign
Moustache sold separately.

Where I’m Going With “Where’s Gilbert”

This time around, I’m focusing on the places and the people who have been so kind to support me over the years, and allow me to live the dream of writing about travel for a living. It’s pretty fun, no lie. I’ll be travelling extensively throughout Europe and the USA, with a brief stint in the Middle East and Asia.

I’m sorry Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and Colombia, who embraced the “catch me if you can” challenge last time, but I’ve gotta get home in time for the holidays.

a map of the world with red lines
2019 “Where’s Gilbert?” Road Map…

With that in mind, I’m excited to share a map of my travels from November 29th-December 10th. If you find me after that, I’ll still probably switch seats with you, but during this time period, what’s mine is yours – if you find me.

Why This Time Is Fun And Different

Has there ever been a good movie remake? I dunno, probably. I wanted to bring this amusing side show back because last time, it seemed to make people really happy. Even if they knew it was unlikely they would personally find me, it was a fun thing to think about during holiday travel.

To make this go around different, I asked Capital One if they’d like to take part, since I’ve become a big Capital One Venture fan. I asked if they’d help find other cool things we could help bring to people even if they weren’t going to be travelling. They came through, big time.

I’m not just swapping seats with people on planes, I’m now armed with hotel suites in major cities around the USA, where I’ll be handing over the keys to anyone who finds me. I’ll be dropping clues about where I’ll be loitering in each city, and the first person to find me will have a mega hotel suite to enjoy for the night. During the “Where’s Gilbert” dates, I’ll have suites to giveaway in…

Hotel Suite Giveaways: New York, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington DC.

Business or First Class Flight Upgrades: Warsaw, Dubai, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Lisbon, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC and Chicago.

About Those Flight Upgrades…

I’ll be flying quite a few nifty airline cabins over the “Where’s Gilbert” catch me if you can style challenge, and if you happen to find me, it’ll actually be you enjoying them, and me in the back. Here are a few key cabins up for grabs…

a food on the counter in an airplaneEmirates Business Class

Emirates has a nice business class on their Boeing 777 aircraft, with seats that convert into fully flat beds, excellent wine and the usual food extravagance. I’ll be flying this between a European city and Dubai, yours for the taking!

a desk in a planeBritish Airways Club Suite

British Airways new “Club Suite” business class is lovely. There’s a privacy door, brand new screens and each seat has direct aisle access. I’ll be flying this from the US to Europe, and word has it, I may have more than one seat for you to come join me.

a bed in an airplaneEmirates A380 First Class

I’m scheduled on a 14 hour flight in the next 11 days with dreams of enjoying a shower at 33,000 feet on board Emirates A380 first class. It’s a fully private suite, they serve Dom Perignon and there’s caviar. If that’s not reason enough to start stalking someones social media, I don’t know what is…

American Airlines Business Class Seat 787-8American Flagship Business

Long flights within the USA can be… long, but doing it in a bed can make it no big deal at all. On one of the longest flights within the USA, I’ve got a comfy bed all lined up, but if luck has it your way, it’s yours for the flight, and I’ll take whatever you’ve got. Fair trade.

Cathay Pacific First Class TeaCathay Pacific First Class

This is absolutely one of the greatest ways to fly, and easily one of the most exciting opportunities to turn a long trip into one you hope never ends. I’ll be flying Cathay between Europe and Hong Kong, and on a flight this long, an upgrade to a bed that’s plenty of room for two is tough to beat, and I promise I won’t make you share.

a woman eating food in an airplaneJetBlue Mint Business Class

There’s a minty fresh contender in the business class game, and JetBlue is it. The airline has lovely cabins with flat beds and tons of privacy, not to mention aptly titled cocktails and food. I’m crossing the USA in one of these beds from a city that sparked Grunge, so look for a guy in a flannel shirt, and you may have a new seat…

a man taking a selfieAnd Even If You Don’t Find Me First

I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve, armed with goodies to bring holiday cheer, even if someone has already claimed my seat. Just like last time, I’ll be dropping clues about where I’ll be and when on my Twitter and Instagram, so if you follow the clues, you should be able to figure out my next move, and beat someone to the punch.

If you’ve got any ideas for how I can make this more fun for you, or for me, or anything at all, let me know in the comments below. I’m all ears, and want to bring as much amusement and happiness to the travel world as possible this time around! Let’s do this…

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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  1. Awesome! I live in Texas but will be going home for Thanksgiving to DC Nov 23-30. Then on to Kenya for work from DC. I doubt I will see you but will look closely just in case we cross paths!

      1. ah cool… err and with London stopover give aways?!? You should totally work behind one of the checkin counters for one of the giveaways..

  2. I thought this was a great idea when you did this the first time. Wonderful PR. Doing it again likewise should generate a lot of buzz. I’m not sure that the Capitol One part was a good idea, though. In part, it removes the little guy travel blogger feel. Also, it potentially makes you look beholden to the company. Finally, having someone find you where and when your window is for giving your hotel room away, having them be traveling but not have a hotel that can be cancelled on little to no notice, and hopefully not trash your room (party suite, anyone?) so you end up with a huge cleaning bill seems a bit ambitious. Either way, it should be a hell of a ride. Best of luck, bud!

  3. How fun! An idea: as a clue, state something that you will be wearing… an obscure team hat, a specific band T-shirt or lapel pin, colorful mismatched socks, etc.

  4. This is such an amazing idea! You are certainly experiencing the truth of the saying that ‘there is more joy in giving than in receiving’.
    Happy travels to you and those you encounter.

  5. travelling to Texas San Antonio 21st dec from manchester hopeing to see my son for christmas coming back dec 31st should be an amazing time!

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