by Savas Abadsidis on 2012-07-19
Johnny Jet travels around 150,000 miles and visits over 20 countries each year. He and his website JohnnyJet.com have been featured over 2,000 times in major publications, including USA Today, Time, Fortune and The New York Times, and he has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, PBS and recently hosted “Hot Spots 2012” on the Travel Channel. JohnnyJet.com has been named "one of the top best money-saving web sites for travel" by Budget Travel Magazine, while the L.A. Times calls it "one of the top 10 essential travel resources on the internet." Sign up today for Johnny Jet's free weekly travel newsletter at JohnnyJet.com and follow him live on Twitter.
What is your favorite place to escape to when you have an opportunity?
I love warm weather destinations so I usually try to hit one of those places. In the winter I love going to Florida, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. In the summer: Connecticut and Nantucket, Europe and Canada.
What are three essential items you must have when traveling?
Smart phone, laptop, wi-fi.
If you crash landed on a deserted isle, what are 5 things you couldn't live without (Provided you had food and water)?
Sunscreen, hat, shoes, Wilson and Ginger
What's your favorite thing about your job?
I get to travel the world and meet the most interesting people
How did you get started?
I started my newsletter/website for fun. It all began when I e-mailed a few friends who traveled a lot, and wanted to earn as many miles as I did. We competed to see who could accrue more miles, and after kicking their butts (I learned a lot traveling 150,000 miles a year for the past 10 years), I decided to be nice and help my friends out. My first e-mails told them what numbers to call so they could earn double miles or points. Each week I got more creative, adding new features like tips, web cams and helpful travel websites. My list grew and grew. I got e-mails from people I didn't even know, asking to be added to the distribution list. When my list reached 500 I decided to make a website. I felt there were many helpful, cool websites out in cyberspace, but not one of them had everything I needed. I had so many travel bookmarks and favorites that sometimes even I couldn't find what I was looking for. So I laid them all out, organized them, and voila: The Johnny Jet Portal! The website was designed to point travelers to everything the web has to offer. It doesn't matter if you travel five days a week, or once every five years. This site is for everyone! It has become the "first stop" for thousands of travelers. Those who contribute to Johnny Jet share my vision — and I share theirs. Together, all of us get the inside scoop on how to do travel — and how do it economically, comfortably, efficiently and with plenty of style.
When did your love of travel begin?
I became fascinated with air travel at an early age, when I discovered I could leave behind freezing cold, dreary CT in January, and two hours later be in hot, sunny, beautiful Florida. Unfortunately, when I was 17 years old a doctor told me I had asthma, gave me way too much medication, and told me that I “might have a problem breathing on a plane because the cabin is pressurized.” I tried to get on a plane to Australia, but turned around at the gate. It was one of the worst days of my life. For 3 1/2 years I was afraid to fly. Anxiety ridden and 21, I got off the medication, got back on a plane, and now seem to spend more time in airports and inside jets than anywhere else.
Having conquered my fear of flying I enrolled at Marymount College, a great private two-year school in Palos Verdes, CA. I remember that when I first started flying, even though I arrived at the airport very early I still had to stand in a seemingly endless line to check in, only to sit in the back of the plane, in a cramped middle seat, be fed lousy food, and have my bags come out last. I realized there had to be a better way. I had conquered my flying fears; now I had to conquer my dread of being reduced to sub-human level. (On a side note, I can help almost anyone with a fear of flying. I helped one man fly for the first time in 42 years!)
I didn't know just how good flying could be until college, when I started dating a bona fide princess. Her parents lived in Hong Kong and Sydney, and she wouldn't fly in economy because she was accustomed to flying Business Class. I had ONLY flown coach — and I had never been overseas. When she invited me to Hong Kong, I couldn't let the opportunity slip by. Her parents bought her a business class ticket on their favorite airline, and I knew there was no way I could sit on a plane for 14 1/2 hours by myself. I (okay, my dad) bought the seat next to her from a consolidator. It cost $1,500, which was great — full fare was $5,000. I picked the right time to have my first out-of-coach experience. WOW! What a difference! A nice phat seat with a leg rest, some hot towels, a little sorbet to clean the palate, non-stop food, beverages and movies. It was so good — I didn't want to leave the plane