Business Traveler Interview: Gailen David
This is part of a new series here at WhyGo Business Travel featuring brief interviews with people who travel for work, asking them about what they do and some of their favorite travel tips. This way, if you’re looking for a career that will require travel, you’ll get to read about people doing some of the jobs you might consider – and you’ll also learn a few great travel tips from the travel pros!
What do you do?
I have been a Purser with American Airlines for 24 years and also created many of their training programs and videos through the years. I’ve also created my own online travel magazine, Dear Sky Steward, and trademarked the term, Jetiquette®, which refers to air travel manners. Most of what I do today revolves around the operation of my website and my appearances on television programs providing tips to make travel a more enjoyable experience.
What kind of travel do you get to do for work? Do you get to choose where you go?
Since I promote Jetiquette, which refers to air-travel etiquette, I travel constantly to cities all over the US and internationally to discuss the topic. It is such a popular one since most people have issues with those who are messy in the airplane lavatories or insist on clipping their toenails in flight!
How often do you get to travel for work?
I normally travel 10-14 days per month, but on 2 to 3 long trips that take me to multiple cities. I am normally appearing on morning TV shows and visiting hotels and restaurants I will be reviewing for my website.
Did you choose your job at least in part because you love to travel? Would you make the same job choice again, knowing what you know now?
I chose to be a flight attendant for American Airlines because I loved to travel and wanted to be able to go all over the place on someone else’s dime. Now I do it as a passenger, which I enjoy much more, but I am paying the majority of my travel expenses—but I have the ability to control where I go, where I stay and how long I am there! It’s worth it to have the freedom!
What are some of your favorite travel tips that you’ve picked up?
Do anything you have to do to be treated as a VIP! Don’t be a number! Creating “Upgrade Bags” is my specialty. These are little goody gift bags I present to the gate agent and/or crew when I travel. It makes them feel appreciated and gets me treated like a celebrity. Although I normally get a first class seat, there are times when I am stuck in coach and the “Upgrade Bag” makes it a painless experience completely. Try it and let me know how it works for you. You’ll make the day of a lot of airline people.
What advice do you have for someone who’s interested in doing what you do?
If being a flight attendant is what interests you, I say go for it. But remember you are there to be a host/hostess first. So let the airline interviewer know that you are all about creating an “experience” for the customer…making the customer feel important, valued and understood! If you want to create a travel website…..you better love to travel and enjoy telling stories even if they are 20 years old! Dust them off and polish them off and open the vault on each and every experience you have and share, share, share!
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