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: Bob Cowen
Occupation: Software sales
Hometown: Born in Washington, DC; grew up in Bloomfield Twp, Michigan
Residence: Farmington Hills, Michigan
College: Michigan State University (Go Green)
College major: Business
Facebook: Bob Cowen
Short bio: Selling hardware/software since 1969; past 30 years focusing on contact centers. Significant air travel required (1.4 million domestic miles on Delta) until job change in 2000. Volunteer for the National Ski Patrol for 50 years.
How often do you fly? Now only 5-10 times per year.
How many countries have you been to? 10
How many continents have you been to? 2
Earliest travel memory: Eastern Airlines DC-7B Golden Falcon from Detroit to Boston.
Favorite American city: Mid-sized, midwest cities such as Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Cincinnati, Des Moines, etc.
Favorite international city: Rio.
Friendliest people in the world: Anywhere you’re friendly, you will find others just as friendly.
Favorite airline: Southwest (clear & consistent product definition and delivery).
Favorite aircraft type: Up front on a 757 (outstanding rate of climb) but want to fly a 787 (I’ve flown 53 different aircraft types, to 126 commercial US airports).
Aisle or window: Aisle if daytime flight, window if a red-eye.
Favorite airport lounge: Delta Detroit.
Favorite U.S. airport: Detroit.
Favorite international airport: Detroit.
Favorite hotel: Hampton Inn.
Favorite cruise line: Only cruise was Holland American Vancouver to Alaska with two generations of family; very nicely done.
Favorite travel credit card: AmEx Costco green (with money back).
Favorite island: Anywhere with my wife.
Favorite beach: Magens Bay (but going to Grace Bay next month).
Favorite fancy restaurant: Anywhere with my wife.
Favorite food: Wife’s chicken w/ sour cream, mushroom soup and bacon; sweet and sour pork.
Least favorite food: Brussels sprouts.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Ice water; 2nd choice is iced chocolate milk at the bar at the bottom of Snowmass at the end of the final day of spring skiing.
Favorite travel movie(s): Up in the Air (I knew the airport codes in the dialogue and recognized the airports from the overhead photos).
Favorite travel show(s): Househunters International.
Right now I am reading: Air & Space Smithsonian but enjoy Clancy, Flynn, Baldacci, etc.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: JoeSentMe, TravelInsider (David Rowell), AVWeb.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! TripIt, OnTheFly, Kayak, TripAdvisor, FlightAware, GasBuddy, AVWeb, the airline that I’m flying.
5 things you bring on a plane: Granola bars, sudoku and a pencil, iPhone.
What do you like least about travel? Inconsiderate passengers (backpack swingers and seat-back pullers when standing-up).
Favorite travel app(s): TripIt, OnTheFly, Kayak, TripAdvisor, FlightAware, GasBuddy, the app of the airline that I’m flying
Worst travel moment(s):
- Aborted landing into St. Louis during a severe thunderstorm on a DC-9 (not fun to go back up into the storm)
- 20 years ago, lost #1 engine on final approach into Cleveland in a Shorts 360 (N386MQ, still flying today)
- Uneventful but scary flight on a Britten Norman Trislander into Chichen Itza (the pilots were not old enough to shave; the plane had more doors than passengers and reminded me of a Checker automobile with wings)
- Five years ago (returning to Ypsilanti from Oshkosh), lost #1 engine on Yankee Air Museum’s C-47 over Lake Michigan; put down in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, rented a car and drove back to YIP the next day; great piloting skills & YAM organization; same trip again in 2014 (made it all the way back this time)
What’s your dream destination? Wherever friends and family are.
Favorite travel charity: Make-A-Wish.
Best travel tip: Be especially nice to gate agents and flight attendants; they never hear good news (and are very powerful).