I ran into Justin Ross Lee at JFK… it’s time to see him in action!

NOTE: This post covers someone that many will consider to be one of the most offensive people out there. If you’re easily offended stop reading now.

One of the things I love about the travel hobby is the variety of people it attracts. One example is Justin Ross Lee, who… actually, I’ll let his Wikipedia page speak for itself, as it might just be the most epic one ever.

JRL and I have become friends though are completely different types of people, and that’s probably why I like him so much. I mean, this is a guy that has condoms with pictures of his face on the packaging, and who sells pocket squares for a living

The one thing that unites us is our love of travel. Check out his Facebook page and look at the number of international first class products he has flown — this is where we can relate!

So I was rather surprised at JFK last Tuesday when I randomly ended up in the security line behind him. I actually caught him right as he tried to hand the TSA agent his Metrocard and claim it was a valid ID. The most shocking part of that of course was that JRL apparently rides the subway… who knew?

He was heading to Miami and I was heading to Seattle. I asked if I could guest him into the Flagship Lounge (since I was traveling on an international itinerary). He said “nah, I can sneak in there.” Hmmm. Well he had Pre-Check while I didn’t, so I made it up to the lounge about 10 minutes after he did it. I told the agent that if he shows up I’d like him to be my guest, though she said he was already inside. Sure enough as I enter I see him sitting in the back corner with a drink, and he yells “can you f&^$ing believe they’ll let anyone here?”

He proceeded to drink. And drink. And drink. And then he had us take some pictures together with the tarmac in the background. Sounded great, except for the fact that his camera loudly “meows” every time he takes a picture. I know what you’re thinking — what do you mean the camera meows? The camera literally makes a loud “meow” noise every time a picture is taken. We must have taken about 10 pictures, and each time the loud meow went off, along with a corresponding flash. My apologies to anyone else in the Flagship Lounge that day. ;)

But what fascinates me about JRL more than anything are the mechanics of how he does his “thing” while flying. This is a guy that has slept overnight in the Lufthansa First Class Lounge (mind you, it closes after the last departure), that had a passenger misconduct report filed against him on a transatlantic US Airways flight for trying to serve coach passengers champagne (and when confronted by the crew he claimed to be Robin Hood), that nearly had an Asiana 747 diverted due to his hair iron, and that has sat at the bar in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in a bathrobe.

So that’s why I’d like to fly with JRL. I’d like to be a fly on the wall to see how JRL does his thing, how he makes his magic happen.

Which leads me to my question — am I wasting my time, or would you guys enjoy that report?

Or maybe I just need to invite JRL on an Aerolineas Argentinas flight, and I can fax updates the whole way?

Comments

  1. Sean M. says

    While I find JRL’s antics to be quite hilarious sometimes, I think your blog is slightly more upmarket and classy than that. Occasional JRL anecdotes like this, sure. A full JRL trip report? I don’t think I could stand to read it (and I’m probably more tolerant of him than most of your readers will be!).

  2. mrredskin says

    after reading this, i STILL don’t know who the hell he is or why anyone should care about him. and why does he have his own acronym?

  3. Alex says

    youre just feeding the troll. this guy survives off any type of PR. dont give him PR and he will quickly die

    the world has no place for obnoxious self promoters with zero substance

  4. Augiebball says

    No thanks. That would be the first trip report of yours I would have absolutely no interest in reading.

  5. DJ says

    I live 2 blocks away from…would be interested in a full report with a story on exactly how you became friends.

  6. jay says

    you come off like a 12 year old girl. OMG LOLZ JRL!!! how exciting you got to act like a dbag in the lounge!

    why on earth you’d encourage someone like this – who pulls stunts that as you say, nearly get flights diverted (effecting hundreds of people – is beyond me

  7. TheBeerHunter says

    I never heard of this dude before you first mentioned him, and I still don’t understand his schtick, but I’d find one report (a single report!) to be interesting, probably.

  8. Jon says

    …”wasting my time….?” Uh…. It’s the interwebs. Of course you’re wasting all of our time. That’s a blogger’s job. Keep it up.

  9. Heels05 says

    I would love to see a trip report or 2 with him. I have also wondered how he pulls off some of the things he does in the travel world.

  10. JettyBoy says

    He is a tool and you would do well not to give him any additional exposure. He cheated my friend out of a trade on Flyertalk (goes by the name Jewjetter on FT).

  11. Nancy says

    JRL is like a car wreck…..you know you need to keep your eyes looking forward as you drive by but you just can’t help slowing down & taking a look.

    Amusing yet a douche bag at the same time.

  12. robbabroad says

    I’ve never heard of him, but if his gimmick is just to be irritating…well, I find that irritating enough. No need to hear more, thanks.

  13. Gumbo says

    I even went and read the Wikipedia article, and I still don’t understand who he is or why anyone would have heard of him.

  14. mudba says

    I think it’s wrong as well. I’ve always thought of you as an ambassador to flying. JRL will be the reason that they don’t let 1st class award flyers into the LH lunge.

  15. ChrisL says

    I love how 90% of the comments are from people who read the disclaimer, ignored it, read the full post, then felt a need to bitch about it afterwards. Poor you, forced by Lucky at gunpoint to this blog and this post in particular! Give that man his 5 minutes back!

  16. Ron says

    Why encourage someone like this whose behavior, apparently, is occasional atrocious? Who wants to share a plane or a lounge with someone like this?? A legend is his own mind … and, perhaps, yours. A glaring display of a lack of maturity by each of you. Post about it if you wish – it’s your blog after all – but I’m not interested.

  17. lucky says

    Hah, love all the feedback here.

    Respectfully I think some of you are missing the point here. Have you seen the show “Scam City?” You know how the host tries to “hook up” with the scammers and see how they do their thing behind the scenes? He’s not encouraging the behavior, but in a non-judgmental way he watches how they go about doing their thing, and reports back on it.

    While I’m not comparing JRL to anyone on the show, my intentions are similar. Love him or hate him, I think it’s fascinating how he does what he does. Don’t you wonder what he tells the flight attendants, gate agents, FCT waiters, etc.?

    So more than anything else it’s about observing someone that I consider to be a really interesting character.

  18. Alex K says

    And in the meantime he potentially diverts a flight and negatively affects 100′s of others? Still no thanks.

  19. Andy says

    If I had an the slightest inkling that JRL’s actions/antics were some kind of social experiment or performance art, ala Andy Kaufman, I would be interested in a TR featuring him. That said, I’m pretty sure he’s just a society sucking dbag

  20. Gobluetwo says

    Never heard of him and can’t say that he looks like the kind of guy I’d be interested in knowing more about, but I say do the trip report if you ever get an opportunity. I’m sure he’d love it, and you’d obviously enjoy it. As was once said, you can’t please everybody all the time, so just do it if you think it’s a good angle. Some readers will opine with their righteous indignation, while others will love it. Go for it.

  21. Em says

    Just write what is interesting to you. If you try to please everyone your content suffers and your voice becomes indistinguishable from the the rest of the bland travel blogs. I don’t like that you keep asking the masses for editorial approval. I come here to read you.

  22. Dan says

    I get my news from points blogs and washingtonpost.com, so if this group doesn’t cover it, I’ve not heard about it. Translation: I’ve never heard of JRL.

    OTOH, this is actually my kind of humor, so bring it on. If the guy has done what he’s done and managed *not* to get arrested, that’s reasonably impressive.

    Feed the troll!

  23. Cheryl says

    Is JRL an airport code? I would like to see you getting in trouble and/or living more dangerously. Do it!

  24. blueline7 says

    47 comments so far, all purporting disinterst.. Baloney! This guy is fascinating obviously, like a car crash. I definitly want to read it!

  25. william says

    As much as I don’t like this guys personality your right lucky, it would be interesting to see this guys smooth talking ability which we can’t deny he has. I once had a friend that was kind of like this (assuming he was the life of the party) and although he was arrogant a lot of the time he did indeed manage to get us into places we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to because of his smooth-talk.

  26. Alan says

    Never heard of him and sounds like a pretty boring report to me – a bit like this one TBH! Please stick to your normal excellent quality (and interesting!) reports.

  27. Larry says

    Not interested in the guy. Seems repulsive. But, I’m not interested in every single post on One Mile At A Time anyway, and do a pretty good job of figuring out which ones to spend more time with than the others. So, if it’s interesting to you, that’s the point of the blog. I like when you ask questions about which travel products you should try next, but asking our views on whether we’d like to see this kind of stuff on a blog entry seems different. Not to get all serious and stuff about blogging, but that’s like delegating your essential blogging function!

    I think it’s great you’re looking at ways to have the blog evolve. There Lufthansa F terminal is probably going to be about the same for the next several years, so we have that covered. Whether it’s this or something else, who knows. If your stuff is good it will continue to find an audience. Doesn’t *sound* like my cup of tea. I don’t need more reality-tv style blogging. But who knows? Try it.

  28. Bryan says

    Do it! I’d love to read the report. People who don’t want to read the report can just skip it.

  29. Jay says

    He’s broke anyways. Even the NY POST ran an article on his financial mess. Keep your class Ben; You’re wildly more successful than he is.

  30. George says

    Sounds like the kind of person i don’t want to be seated next to in any cabin and would use points to change my seat even if it is a downgrade.

  31. downhillcrasher says

    I meet may hard working, honest people when traveling. Why not devote a post to one of them instead of this tool? #BlogFail

  32. DavisCalifJr says

    Just wash your hands if you get anywhere near that guy again, Ben…That’s all I’m gonna comment about this situation :(

  33. stephan says

    Lucky, from your comments, it is pretty evident that you will write this TR anyway as you seem to like this person, so I’m not really sure why you are even asking? It seems as though plenty of people here want to hear more about another self-important, vacuous moron. I guess life is boring? Go ahead, it’s your blog after all! I’ll pass.

  34. says

    you seem interested in him so write it up -its your blog – i can choose to read it or not. i don’t watch reality shows (reality shows shouldnt have writers and script supervisors) and have zero interest in the personalities that seek to make that their “job”.

  35. Bill says

    I would love to read it. He seems like an interesting person and I know many people just like him. I think I would get along with him pretty well actually as he may seem like a jerk from everything you read about him, he seems like a pretty nice guy other then the fact that he can sometimes be a little more outgoing then others are used to.

  36. Mike S. says

    “Which leads me to my question — am I wasting my time, or would you guys enjoy that report?”

    NO !

  37. jack says

    Nothing interesting about this stooge. Ignore him and he’ll go back to the hole he crawled out of about 14.9 minutes ago.

  38. Michael T says

    Are posts about this guy really part of the Lucky “brand”? I certainly don’t think so. Think like a business…once any business tarnishes its brand, it can take a while to recover. You’ve got years ahead of you to blog and to expand your influence into all sorts of travel-related areas. I don’t see how this guy helps you do that unless bottom feeding is part of your long-term goal.

  39. wfb says

    I admit I’d never heard of him until now. I like his handing his Metro card to the TSA agent as ID. Cameras were not rolling. There was no audience, except Lucky standing behind him. To me, he’s a provocateur. Think Serge Gainsbourg or Sacha Baron Cohen. All three could be called Jewjetters.

  40. Erik says

    Some of the best times of my life have been with people that I think are hilarious, even if most folks would disagree. Viva l’eccentric.

  41. BothofUs2 says

    Let the tabloids deal with the guy-no need to fuel his ego any more. You’re above that level, by far.

  42. says

    No. Although I am curious as to how he does a lot of his shenanigans, I don’t want it to be a trip report featured on your blog. I think you should go with him sometime if it is something you want to do. He seems to get away with or do a lot of things that cross either a moral or potentially legal boundary. Your blog is extremely popular and the last thing I want is even a handful of others trying to imitate him. In this world of miles and points, the boundaries are often pushed and he takes it to a whole new level. I would hate to see rules put in place because of a handful of “interesting” characters.

  43. cyby says

    Side comment – I don’t think I’ve ever seen the readership of this blog *this* divided over a question!

  44. HoKo says

    +1 on JRL trip report. I think people don’t give him enough credit. I tend to believe he is more of the Colbert style intentionally way over the top

  45. Roland says

    My email reader abbreviated the title of this post to “I ran into Justin…” and I thought you ran into someone else for a second there…

  46. wwk5d says

    Another difference between you and him, Lucky…you’ve never been over $150,000 in debt…well, at least I hope not :D

  47. Coutureguy says

    Ben,

    Go ahead and do it. I actually didn’t become aware of JRL until last year, by means of that same YouTube video that Josh G posted above. While I’m not a fan of obnoxious behavior, I think that part of what he does is just his trying to be a comedian.

    I love psychology and studying what makes people tick. So a trip report of him in action would be quite interesting to me, especially finding out what he says and does to get himself into lounges without the proper passes, etc.

    One question though… You said that he had Pre-Check and you didn’t. Can you explain? I’m sure you have Global Entry. Did you just not get your number into your reservation?

  48. BFrankley says

    I like reading what YOU like writing about. Don’t worry about “protecting” your readers. We’re all growed up – even if JRL isn’t. And yes, I want the scoop on his social engineering tricks!

  49. lucky says

    @ Coutureguy — I was on an international reservation, and international reservations aren’t eligible for Pre-Check.

  50. Mikus33 says

    Robin Hood handing out champagne to passengers in coach? I don’t care who you are, that’s freaking hilarious. I only know what I’ve read about him here, but my vote is do it.

  51. Sean says

    Interesting character or not I don’t see how he’s worth anyone’s attention? I’m sure there are plenty of other travel diva’s that divert or delay flights unintentionally, etc. I can imagine a few Partners at my firm that would fit the bill.

    Either way, this guy sounds extremely obnoxious, self-centered, and full of crap so why even give him the time of day? You are only encouraging his behavior Lucky!

  52. Justin says

    I have too many friends that act like this to really care, but it wouldn’t offend me. Some of my friends are probably much more offensive in person, actually.

    That said, I instantly hate this guy if he did rip somebody off on a mileage trade.

  53. concorde02 says

    I don’t get it Lucky already warned all of you who are easily offended not to read it but you still do anyway??

    From the comment above citing he cheated on the trades on FT, that’s not cool! You don’t have to like him or encourage what he does… but I wanna know how one manage to spend a night at FCT, or how he talks to gate agents, getting in the Lounge and etc. Like as Ben said, like a scam city, I am interested to know. It’s like having a thief in the gym locker room, the thief and other people have to co-exist in the society, so you need to know how the thief works. It’s not a waste of my time to read it.

  54. wwk5d says

    @concorde02

    What is there to know? The guy is over $150,000 in debt, and lies/cheats/scams his way to get past velvet ropes. Isn’t that answer enough?

    The question people need to ask themselves is, is it worth it to all of that just to be a poseur in that kind of lifestyle? For some people, it’s worth it, for others, it isn’t.

  55. BRC says

    Lucky, you can write what you like, but you’ve asked for readership input here. I for one kindly recommend that you not provide (more) free advertising and publicity to someone who can be so inconsiderate and disrespectful of others. I’ve always admired your discretion, and I hope you have some here as well.

  56. Other Ben says

    I think this is a great idea. I hadn’t heard of the guy until this post from you, but it sounds like it’d be a hysterical trip report.

  57. Robert says

    I think everyone is missing the point here that Lucky’s blog is really a business, so if featuring this guy occasionally increases Lucky’s readership, then it is a win win. Just like he plugs Gary at View From The Wing all the time, as Gary does the same for him. Come in people – wise up. These guys are all making money off of their blogging and promoting one another at the same time. Notice the constant not so subtle links to credit card offers and posts about the best credit cards to have in your wallet? Again, this is a business posing as a blog.

  58. Jamie says

    I have NO interest in reading a trip report about him. But I do miss your trip reports. When are more coming?
    I can understand why you might like hanging around with this guy, as a straight and narrow person who lived vicariously through many a wild friend. I don’t want to read more about him, but if you’re going to be friends with him I hope he’s a decent person under all of those shenanigans, because you seem like a pretty good guy yourself.

  59. samOH says

    Wait a minute …Is this the same guy with the PanAm little bag from 2011 frequent traveller university ?

  60. cruisr says

    Please NO…I have never heard of this guy and just reading what you posted I will not give him further attention by googling him or clicking on links.

    As others have said you are free to write whatever and we are free to skip over what we dont want to read.

  61. snic says

    Look at it this way. “Catch Me If You Can” was fascinating because it revealed how a nobody, with no money but lots of gumption, conned a lot of people into letting him live the high life.

    This JRL prick is much less interesting. He’s just another wealthy douchebag who gets away with all kinds of crap. Yes, he has a lot of chutzpah, but it’s easy to have chutzpah when you have money coming out of your ears. Really, it would be difficult for me to care less about him.

  62. John says

    I’d never even heard of the guy, but I’m kind of intrigued. More to the point, though, is that he’s described by Lucky as a friend:

    “JRL and I have become friends though are completely different types of people, and that’s probably why I like him so much.”

    To be honest, I’d love to see more trip reports that include (not just by mention) your friends, whoever they are. It makes it more interesting for those of us who rarely travel alone…especially if you’re “completely different types of people”.

  63. larry says

    Sounds like a first class a-hole. Please do not encourage the idiot, if he screwed up my flight I sue the twerp.

  64. Robert Hanson says

    He “sells pocket squares for a living” Factually incorrect, as your link to Wiki makes clear. Unless you consider a total {he claims} sales {not profit, sales} of $12,500, and being “flat broke” and bankrupt to be a living. Anyone know a way to get him on the “no-fly” list? Please, please, do not invite him into the Flagship Lounge when I’m there.

  65. WhatWdJamesDo says

    This is exactly the genius of JRL. 120+ responses just for mentioning him on a blog post. Like him or hate him, he elicits a response – which is his goal. He’s a parody and a very funny one at that. Loosen up people.

  66. Jason says

    JLR buddies are now commenting, he posted this on FB. Notice JLR is never taken a pic on a private jet lol

  67. zonker says

    Never heard of him, sounds like a real asshat, could not care less about him.

    There are already way too many self-important jerks in the world – why do you encourage this one and inspire countless more by helping to promote and glorify him?

    The next time you have a crappy experience because of some idiot, stop to consider your karmic returns.

    Shame on you.

  68. Claire says

    Definitely! Those too uptight to appreciate the entertainment value of it…couldn’t they just not read the post?

  69. Carl P says

    First time I’ve seen a subject induce attacks against other posters (“too uptight”, “old people”, etc.). I guess that tells you something about JRL fans, and the overall topic.

  70. dhammer53 says

    Coins, thanks so much for the humorous read. On my next trip to the AA Lounge at JFK, I’m going to wear my first class pj’s.

  71. Christy says

    I had the pleasure of hanging out with JRL at the LH FCT last January. I had no idea who he was when we started talking. He had me laughing right away. He was quite entertaining.

    In fact, he asked me to snap pics of him while he was wandering around the FCT in his bathrobe. I recognize the staff in the picture, so it very could have been one of the ones I took.

  72. Samuel M says

    I believe the bankrupcy was a NY Post article more than likely dramatized. He probably pulled a Donald Trump on a past business venture.

    JRL is his online persona promoted because of his work in the entertainment industry; vh1 and the E! to name a few. I have mixed feelings on his true character. He posts videos degrading a rabbis daughter “aka a girlfriend” then does a charity event against domestic violence.

  73. wwk5d says

    @ Claire

    Well, Lucky did ask us “Which leads me to my question — am I wasting my time, or would you guys enjoy that report?” so people giving their opinion is still valid…

  74. says

    There are 133 comments on here as I write this…You all just had a “JRL experience” whether you wanted to or not.

    JRL or Justin Ross Lee is the JEWISH ROBINHOOD!

    He takes stories and experiences that most plebeians will never EVER have and publishes them freely. He steals (stories) from the rich and gives them available to the poor. He lives quite comfortably.

    Sorry guys but he is a PR mastermind.

    He didn’t even have to pay me to post this…although he did invite me to some pretty sick parties ;-)

  75. Scott says

    NO!!! im not easily offended and I’ve never heard of this guy before, but after reading the post, this guys looks like a huge douchebag. don’t associate this fine blog with his fake taste.

  76. Claire says

    @wwk5d – True! I was just trying to convey that I find Lucky’s “off-topic” subjects entertaining. Didn’t mean to judge differing opinions, but in re-reading my earlier comment I can see it came off that way. My bad.

    I do hope he writes the post, though. :)

  77. David says

    I’d love to hear more about any adventures you have with JRL. Obviously he’s interesting and provocative, based on the number of responses you’ve received to this blog entry. Just don’t over-do it.

  78. ScammedatEmmys says

    The guy is a complete scam artist and fraud. I have numerous agencies looking into his dealings and will not stop until he has paid me the money that he owes. He’s a deadbeat and not a man of his word. I’ll get the last laugh against this stubborn con artist.

  79. vish says

    Go for it . People hate him because he is an “obnoxious self promoter” . Even though Im nothing like him I think whats wrong with that . If you don’t sell yourself no one else will. His obnoxious self promoting got him where he is today.

  80. says

    It sounds like you are wasting your time following this guy and kissing his ass for some reason. I would stay away from him he’s the next flight risk!

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