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: Jeffrey Sirota
Occupation: Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Americas Region for Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Hometown: Monroe, Connecticut
Residence: Manhattan, NY
College: University of San Diego
College major: Business with Psychology and French Minors
Facebook: Jeff Sirota
YouTube: Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Short bio: Jeff Sirota is Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Americas Region for Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Having spent nearly seven years working his way up through various sales roles within the company, Jeff now oversees the global sales team and strategy for Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In addition, he is the Americas Regional Vice President, heading up the New York office for SLH. Prior to Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Jeff worked on property at a boutique hotel in Los Angeles in sales and events. Additionally, he spent several years as a luxury travel agent with a top producing Virtuoso agency in LA.
How often do you fly? 2x/month or more. Over 100k this year.
How many countries have you been to? 25-ish.
How many continents have you been to? Just missing Africa and Antarctica!
Earliest travel memory: Lots of Delta wide-body flights down to Florida from LGA back in the day.
Favorite American city: My home: NYC!
Favorite international city: I feel as though Sydney is pretty near perfect.
Least favorite country: I have found something worth appreciating in each I have been to.
I have no desire to go to: Syria is up there right now.
Friendliest people in the world: Brazilians!
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Probably USA!
Favorite World Heritage Site: Several of our SLH hotels are exclusively in UNESCO sites and they’re absolutely breathtaking. You can find them here.
Favorite airline: Airline of choice? United. Favorite: Lufthansa.
Favorite aircraft type: A380: She’s a beast, but love all that space! 747 will always be the most elegant.
Aisle or window: Aisle during the day, window for overnight flights. Love new business/first class configurations where you get a window AND an aisle in the same seat: perfection!
Favorite airport lounge: Lufthansa First Class in FRA.
Favorite U.S. airport: Denver.
Favorite international airport: Hong Kong.
Favorite hotel: Any SLH property—we have 520 in 80 countries!
Favorite cruise line: Just went on Regent: amazing.
Favorite travel credit card: United Mileage Plus Select (can’t get it anymore!).
Favorite island: Mallorca: beautiful Mediterranean beaches mixed with fantastic Spanish culture and food.
Favorite beach: Ipanema.
Favorite National Park: Glacier National Park in Alaska.
Favorite fancy restaurant: I’m so spoiled living in NYC…Le Bernardin is up there.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Hill Country Chicken in NYC.
Favorite bar: Boom boom Room at The Standard Highline, NYC: Views of all Manhattan (even in the bathroom), craft cocktails, and retro chic.
Favorite fruit: Mango.
Favorite food: Chocolate.
Least favorite food: Sardines.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Champagne.
Favorite travel movie(s): Airplane!
Right now I am reading: The questions on this survey.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Conde Nast Traveler.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! FlyerTalk.
5 things you bring on a plane: Magazines, headphones, big bottle of water, protein bars, hand cream.
What do you always seem to forget? Headphones…I leave them everywhere!
What do you like least about travel? Economy class.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing. Buy me something unique from the location instead.
Favorite travel app(s): United app because I use it all the time (upgrade list!!), Flight Track, iTrans NYC.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I’ll tell you my second most embarrassing one ;) the day United/Continental merged their systems, there were issues with the app, etc (which I didn’t realize). I was connecting through IAH and waiting for my delayed flight in the United Club. Gate was right across from the club. I kept checking on the app to see where the plane was coming from and it kept on saying it was delayed and hadn’t left, yet my flight departure time had been moved to a specific time. I kept seeing that the plane hadn’t left its origin on the app, so I chose to ignore departure time and the monitors…finally, as it was departure time I thought I’d look at the board: the flight was gone! I ran across to the gate to see the plane pulling back! Oops. I ended up running across the huge airport bags in hand to catch a later one and just barely made it (but my upgrade cleared!!).
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Greece!
Worst travel moment: I was 13, headed to see family in New Orleans. My dad and I both had morning flights from LGA, so I went along with him. His business flight left, mine was delayed. Ended up being put on a new connecting flight, then told original flight was going. Got on original flight, delayed again. Put on a new flight, then told non-stop was going so I went back to it, they cancelled it. After back and forth on four different flights, finally left and connected through DCA. Took me 12 hours to get to New Orleans: best part was my dad had gotten me into the US Air Club and they took great care of me…I think that was the official start of me being an independent traveler…a little traumatic for a young teenager, though.
What’s your dream destination? It’s secluded and includes an overwater bungalow.
Favorite travel charity: My MileagePlus account.
Best travel tip: Be proactive and fend for yourself, because nobody else will do it for you (especially in airports)!!