AIR MILES

Business Traveller - - UPFRONT -

ASH­LEY ELLEFSON WORKS FOR

a New York City-based sports league called The Drone Rac­ing League, which stages events all over the world. She flies up to 60 times a year to or­gan­ise races and scout out new venues.

By the end of this year she es­ti­mates she will have clocked up be­tween 150,000 and 200,000 air miles, fly­ing to des­ti­na­tions all over the United States, as well as to France, Ger­many and Saudi Ara­bia. Her air­line loy­alty scheme en­sures she of­ten gets up­grades.

What’s the most un­usual place you’ve ever been?

Saudi Ara­bia. It’s a hugely dif­fer­ent cul­ture from the lo­ca­tions we nor­mally visit. I flew to Jed­dah be­cause we were or­gan­is­ing a drone race in a busi­ness park at the King Ab­dul­lah Eco­nomic City.

Do you have to travel with lots of equip­ment?

We ship all our drones sep­a­rately, but we of­ten travel with ex­tra drones, bat­ter­ies or parts, which can be tricky. It’s not il­le­gal to trans­port a drone, but it’s un­usual for air­port se­cu­rity so we al­ways have busi­ness cards to ex­plain who we are. The most dif­fi­cult things for us are the lithium-poly­mer bat­ter­ies. I al­ways put them in hand lug­gage due to reg­u­la­tions.

How could in­ter­na­tional air­ports im­prove?

I work in events so I ap­pre­ci­ate good di­rec­tional sig­nage. Hav­ing signs in English as well as the lo­cal lan­guage also helps.

How could air­lines im­prove their in-flight ser­vice?

I’m a ve­gan, which can be chal­leng­ing when trav­el­ling. I would love to see more plant-based ve­gan-friendly snacks on the plane. You can of­ten get al­monds or peanuts, but noth­ing more sub­stan­tial. I have to bring my own food in my carry-on lug­gage.

What's your in­dis­pens­able travel gadget?

My mas­sage ball has been a game-changer for me. When you’ve been crunched up on a plane for hours, it gets the kinks out of your neck and shoul­ders.

In-flight read­ing ma­te­rial?

I have a Kin­dle for re­ally long trips. I love nov­els based in cities so that you re­ally get the sense of the city be­ing a char­ac­ter in the story.

Loveli­est sou­venir you’ve ever come back with?

I live to get gifts for peo­ple. For one col­league, I brought a rub­ber duck hold­ing a beer stein and wear­ing leder­ho­sen back from Mu­nich. He’d gone to Ok­to­ber­fest the year be­fore so it was per­fect for him.

Pipe-dream des­ti­na­tion?

I’d love to visit the west coast of Aus­tralia and ex­pe­ri­ence the wild out­back.

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