Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Ford Blakely
Occupation: Entrepreneur, bi-coastal boss of traveler’s best friend Zingle
Hometown: Clearwater, Florida
Residence: Atlanta, San Diego and New York
College: Bachelor of Arts, Furman University, Masters in Accounting, Tennessee
Pinterest: My wife is a Pinterest junkie.
Instagram: I use Path instead
Bio: Ford Blakely is an entrepreneur and founder of Zingle, the text-to-request concierge that travelers use for VIP hotel service. After a career in finance Ford decided to build his fortune on making impatience a virtue and Zingle was born, letting people text their way to faster service and more personal hotel experiences.
How often do you fly? Every week.
How many countries have you been to? I’d say over 25.
How many continents have you been to? All except the South Pole (Antarctica).
Favorite American city: New York City (I appreciate impatient people).
Favorite international city: Nadi (Fijians are the happiest people on the planet).
Least favorite country: Morocco.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Dubai (UAE).
Favorite airline: Air New Zealand (service oriented airline with great kiwi accents).
Favorite aircraft type: A380 (who doesn’t love a double-decker of anything).
Aisle or window: Definitely aisle. I’m 6’4” and the coach seats seem to be shrinking.
Favorite airport lounge: Male airport lounge (equipped with live ukelele entertainment).
Favorite U.S. airport: Tampa (fastest baggage claim turnaround, period).
Favorite international airport: Dubai.
Favorite hotel: That’s a hard one to answer without offending as almost every hotel brand is a Zingle customer! I’ll have to go with my home-town hotel, SandPearl. Great beach resort for family and kids.
Favorite cruise line: I don’t cruise, but I do boat trips: Vaimiti Boat Charter.
Favorite travel credit card: Amex.
Favorite island: Maguhdhuvaa Island, Maldives.
Favorite beach: Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Beauty & Essex (NYC).
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Frenchy’s Salt Water Cafe.
Favorite fruit: Raspberry.
Favorite food: Hard-shell tacos.
Least favorite food: Anything with mayonnaise on it.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Air—Ginger Ale; Ground—Arnold Palmer.
Favorite travel movie(s): Gladiator—I’m sure most visitors to the Colosseum have seen it!
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations—travel through the lens of local cuisine. He has this ability to find the places only the locals know, so you feel like you are being let in on a secret
Favorite travel book(s): Sell or Be Sold.
Right now I am reading: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (my girls love the poems).
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: SkyMall (I love the inventions), Forbes Travel Guide for the reviews and Hotel Chatter for all the industry news.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet, of course! JohnnyJet.com, of course, and TravelBoxe.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: Neck pillow, sleep eye patch, iPhone (air-plane mode of course :)), headphones, shot glass (it case it gets bumpy).
What do you always seem to forget? Usually my toothbrush. I’m that guy Zingle-ing concierge to bring me a replacement every time!
What do you like least about travel? Waiting in line. Time is the biggest luxury of all, especially when traveling.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Tequila.
Favorite travel app(s): Zingle of course! Texting is the most popular app of all time.
Worst travel moment: A guy got violently ill on small commuter plane. Plane had no bathroom & no flight attendant. It was a long, long flight.
What’s your dream destination? Return to the Maldives.
Favorite travel charity: The International Rescue Committee’s GPS device-gifting program. The IRC gives device to communities to help plan facilities close to clean water sources. For most of us, having GPS in our mobile is helpful but for some people it’s a matter of life or death.
Best travel tip: Enjoy every moment because it’s better than being chained to a desk. Also, squirt some Afrin up each nostril; it lessens the risk of getting sick while on a plane.