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