Elena: “Travel light, go farther.”

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with community member, Elena Abusabe, who has been an App in the Air user since 2019. Read on to hear about Elena’s experience in the airline industry, and some of her personal travel tips.

Let’s kick things off by having you tell us about yourself.

I was born in Brooklyn, and spent some time in San Diego, but now live in Texas, where I’ve now been for the past twelve years. Although I left New York 25 years ago, I haven’t lost the accent yet! The beauty of my life is that it’s easy for me to get up and go. If I wasn’t happy someplace, I would go someplace that would make me happy, or at least for a chance to see if it could make me happy. I work at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport for American Airlines as a ramp agent. I met my husband of six years at the airport, and he’s now retired. We love traveling, and we love sporting events (oftentimes we’ll even travel to attend them!). We work hard, and we enjoy life. That’s what life is about. It’s a daily adventure!

We definitely agree. What are your favorite travels that you’ve had?

My husband and I visited the Maldives in December 2020, and we had an amazing time. It should be on everyone’s bucket list! I also took a solo trip to Amsterdam, and that was absolutely one of the best and most amazing trips of my life. At the time, my dad had just passed, and I went there to grieve. I think I just really took that trip in because my dad knew how much I loved to travel. I loved the old country feel of Amsterdam. I went out to see the windmills, which are a few hundred years old. And I loved all the cheese stores and the milk jugs. Amsterdam really is just one of nature’s finest.

That sounds wonderful. What is it like working for the airlines?

I’ve been with American Airlines for seven years now. Prior to that, my work-related history had always been in the food & beverage and hospitality industries. I had always wanted to be a part of the airline industry, but it was the best kept secret for 20+ years, meaning nobody was hiring at the time; airlines weren’t as busy as they are today. When I finally did secure my airline job, it was a challenge to transition because the industry is seniority-based, but I absolutely love my job and wouldn’t trade it for the world. As a ramp agent, I work with the cargo, the freight, the mail, the luggage — all of the good stuff. We do everything under the wing. More specifically, I’m a clerk and a crew chief. The crew chief is somebody who delegates the crew and makes sure that we get our flights out on time.

To wrap things up, what tips do you have for those just starting out in their travel journeys?

  1. I live by the motto: “Travel light, go farther.” Do not check luggage! I know I’m a ramp agent, but I promise just traveling with a backpack and a carry-on does wonders. If there’s anything you desperately need, you can get it where you go.
  2. Take paper copies of your documents, including your passport.
  3. Make sure you have a good phone plan for international travel. It will come in handy when you need GPS to get situated.
  4. Freeze your water bottle (I’ve done it myself more than once). Just make sure to leave it out so that TSA doesn’t have to dig through your bag, and potentially put you through extra screening.
Elena’s amazing 2021 travel year, captured via App in the Air.

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