This week we had the opportunity to chat with Leslie, an App in the Air fan who’s been with us for two years. Read on to find out what travel means to him, his favorite travel memories and what his recent flight experiences to Mexico City, Croatia and Cuba were like!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in New York City and I’m a freelance content creator for the hospitality industry. I started my career with Zagat under Google and that’s where I first got introduced to the hospitality industry. I’m an aviation geek — I’m the person who will book a flight and check what aircraft I’ll be in. I was born and raised in Ghana and used to travel between Ghana and the US quite a bit as a kid and became mesmerized by the flying process. From the moment of checking in to takeoff. When I was younger I wanted to be a pilot and even now I love playing Microsoft flight simulator.
As an aviation geek, do you have a favorite aircraft?
Actually my favorite aircraft is an Airbus A350 because it’s spacious, very quiet and comfortable for a long haul flight. I love that you can easily connect your bluetooth headset to the inflight entertainment! I also just love the wing tip. Like I said, I’m an aviation geek! This is also why I love App in the Air: everything from seeing my stats across countries, the different aircraft and airlines I’ve flown.
Tell us about your favorite destination or travel memory?
Recently I took a trip to Mexico City which was fabulous. I loved that city so much, from the architecture, the food, the people — there was so much culture there to see and everyone was very welcoming. I even took a hot air balloon ride while I was there! This was actually a funny story. I was solo traveling and nervous about what the experience would be like and if anyone knows me, they know I don’t really wake up super early but this was an early adventure so I woke up and requested an Uber around 5am to make this happen. Once everything was finished, I realized my phone battery was almost dead and I didn’t have any service. All I can say is that sometimes we forget that people are friendly once you give them a chance. I ended up running into another woman who was also solo traveling and she gave me a ride back so it all worked out!
So then do you have a favorite airport?
I’m an avid shopper so I love the London Heathrow airport because of all the tax free shopping. Not only that but connecting to other European countries is so much easier and cheaper from London.
Have you traveled recently?
Yes, I’ve actually been taking at least one trip a month to see my family in Michigan and then I also took a trip to Croatia in September. I actually went to Dubrovnik; transited through London, then Germany and the entire experience was pretty smooth. Overall it was very quiet as there weren’t many tourists there. One of the memorable things I did was tour the old city in Dubrovnik, take a boat to a private island for lunch, and enjoy the beautiful beaches. It was absolutely amazing.
Croatia required a negative Covid-19 test result before arriving so I did that in New York before I left. At the border it was a pretty easy process: I just shared my results and a locator form to the border agents, told them where I was staying and off I went. I did end up taking two Covid-19 tests to make sure I was in the clear once I returned home.
Do you have any travel hacks you live by?
Number one for me is that I never check-in bags. Also, I can’t travel without my Sony camera and my Chase Sapphire credit card to avoid foreign transaction fees! Whenever I travel with friends I always tell them you have to get that card (along with App in the Air haha). The fees can add up!
I know most people are really nervous about traveling right now (and rightly so) but I just want to add that I was extremely cautious during the entire trip. Everything from wearing masks (sometimes two!), having goggles (like lab glasses), a shield and always keeping sanitizer wipes with me. We touch our hands and eyes more than we think and it’s important to avoid contact! I was literally wiping down everything I touched.
Now let’s play a little game of this or that:
- Window or Aisle: Window of course
- Resort of Airbnb: Resort
- Boeing or Airbus: Airbus, especially since the A350 is my favorite aircraft!
- Fine dining or Street food: Street food hands down. As a foodie I want to try authentic food everywhere I go.
When it’s safe to do so, where would you like to travel next?
I would love to head out to South East Asia, Singapore especially. The world’s longest flight is from New York to Singapore which is roughly 18 hours so I am very thrilled to see how that flight is and it also happens to be on my favorite aircraft.
On average I take around 30 trips a year! So I can’t tell you how much I miss it. I had an entire year planned out and was aiming for two trips a month. In January I went to Rome, February I went to Cuba and then everything went downhill from there. I was actually in Cuba when cases around the world started spiking.
My advice for those who want to travel right now: do it as long as you take the right precautions: always wear a mask, keep hand sanitizer wipes and get some goggles if you can!