Five of my most memorable/entertaining travel experiences…

Over the years I’ve had some crazy travel experiences, though earlier today I was thinking about what some of the most memorable have been. So while this list is by no means comprehensive, I figured I’d link to five that immediately come to mind.

1. “Excuse me, can I have your sweater?” There are many things I’m known for — flying too much, not having a life, having too many first world problems, overuse of the word “delicious” when describing food, etc. One thing I wasn’t known for — at least until last November — is fashion. That all changed in the club lounge at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, where a “fashion designer” wanted my sweater. And despite my best efforts, I couldn’t manage not to sell it to him. Creepy, pushy, and weird as hell are the only terms that I can come up with that adequately describe the situation.

Sweater

2. “Sir, I’m so sorry, but is it okay if we upgrade you to first class?” Perhaps this shouldn’t actually come as a surprise, since the Japanese are very good at apologizing, regardless of the situation. But apologizing for an upgrade from business to first class does seem a bit over the top…

Japan_Airlines_First_Class

3. The story behind how I ended up in Emirates Airbus 380 first class… When it comes to travel, I have an explanation for just about anything. However, this one was a first for me. I was flying Seattle to London to Dubai on British Airways using a companion certificate, and my Seattle to London flight was delayed. No biggie, I had an all day layover. I was shocked, however, when the British Airways agent in London informed me that I was no longer booked on the flight to Dubai… because I had been rebooked on an earlier flight in Emirates A380 first class instead! Generally I think that travel experiences are most enjoyable when they can be anticipated and you can build up excitement, though I can’t accurately describe how giddy I was on the shuttle from terminal three to terminal five. I’ll never forget the day I lost my (six) mile high shower virginity.

Emirates_First_Class

4. The power of a flight attendant to change your mood… It might sound cheesy, though I don’t think there is anyone that has inspired me more than Janesis, the flight attendant I had from Singapore to Tokyo Narita last year. I’ve experienced some amazing service on airplanes over the years, though nothing quite as “from the heart” as on this flight. Fortunately Janesis is a great friend in the meantime, and it’s always fun to meet up with her!

Singapore_Airlines_First_Class

5. I just got a pat down from a TSA agent with one arm… I’m all for the TSA employing handicapped people, though I can’t help but think a one armed TSA agent could be more fulfilled doing something other than pat downs. It was made a bit surreal by the fact that there was a TSA agent with two arms “overseeing” my pat down.

Comments

  1. Ok, the first one is the best. Creepy, yes! But it is a nice looking sweater. I bet many in this hobby would pay to have one of your clothes items. Charity auction at FTU in Tampa?

  2. I thought the best (most hilarious?!?) part of #1 were the comments that indicated buying clothes off of people isn’t uncommon for people involved with fashion/clothes. IIRC, commenters surmised your buyer/stalker might have been visiting overseas factories so even if he could order the item and have it shipped, it’d take too long and he preferred buying it on the spot so he could show it to his suppliers/factories immediately.

    P.S. Janesis is not #1? No card for you next time, Mr. Lucky! 😛

  3. @Simon said “I still think the guy wanted more than your sweater….”

    Simon, I’m betting Ben wanted to give him more than the sweater!

  4. I had a similar experience to (3) on the weekend. I had booked MUC-BKK-SYD in F on Thai using United miles, however one of my intra-European segments got cancelled and I wound up talking to the LH desk in FRA. After struggling for some time to find me an F seat from anywhere to Bangkok, they eventually asked “would it be okay if we routed you via Singapore?”

    So instead of Thai from MUC-BKK-SYD, I wound up flying in a shiny new Lufthansa A380 first class cabin from FRA to SIN, a definite improvement. It wasn’t until I got my SQ boarding pass at SIN and saw the word “Suites” emblazoned across the top that I realised I’d be in *that* version of F for the SIN-SYD leg though. Impossible to get into SQ suites class using UA miles? Naaah.

    I feel like I’ve reached the end, now. That’s pretty much as good as it gets. There are no more worlds to conquer, for me. And I’ve learned that no matter how good a first-class cabin gets, long-distance travel is still a bit of a bummer. You’re still bored. It’s still noisy. You’re still jetlagged as all hell when you get there. You still wind up flicking through pages of movies you don’t really want to see and eventually watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory. In SQ suites class, you’re no longer in a comfortable seat, you’re just in a really crummy hotel room.

    And so I came to the conclusion that travel really *is* about the destination, not the journey.

  5. The sweater thing is hilarious!

    My wife gets stopped all the time when people ask her “are you famous.” People always think she reminds them of someone famous. I step in when they ask to take a picture. People are weird…

  6. How much for the jeans? 😉

    You can tell you’re a regular here when you remember all those stories from when they were first told.

    Keep ’em coming Ben!

  7. As a relatively new reader, I got to ask – what travel report contains the story about running through Singapore in PJs?

  8. Ben, just read your pajama story. You might not have a life yourself, but you sure provide a ton of entertainment for this community. Of course, none of them have a life either, so it fits. That was a really funny story!

  9. Haha, that story was awesome! I bet, it’d not be as big of deal in a US airport.

    P.S. At least, no one tried to buy those PJs off of you! 😉

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