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: John Clayton
Occupation: Travel Journalist; TV Journalist/Host/Writer/Producer
Hometown: Born in the Royal Borough of Kensington, London, UK
Residence: Los Angeles
College major: English, Geography
Website: travelingboy.com under “John Clayton: Travel with a Difference”
YouTube: Check out my TV shows (as of right now, I’ve hosted, written and produced 56 shows—most in the 8-to-14-minute range) by Googling “Armchair Traveler with John Clayton”
Short bio: Born and grew up in London, UK. In 1966 became an extra-proud American citizen. Spent a few years acting (had an “Honors in Acting” from LAMDA—one of two top drama schools in London. Acting in UK, NYC and Los Angeles. Was Manager of Publicity, Continental Airlines, also same executive position for cruise ship “SS Azure Seas” in San Pedro, CA.
Was on three top LA radio stations—KABC790, KKGO/KMZT and KNX1070—for combined 16 years with “John Clayton’s Travel With A Difference.” French Government invited me as only West Coast radio journalist to 60th Anniversary of D-Day in June 2004 in Normandy. Sat 50 feet from world leaders like President Bush, Putin of Russia and the UK’s Queen Elizabeth.
Appeared on professional public speaking circuit topics including “pride in being an American,” “travel,” “how to take creative photographs,” and “airlines.” Always had (still do!) great love for acting, show biz, public speaking, interviewing people. More info? Email me at email@example.com.
How often do you fly? Not that much anymore, but “back in the day” I was flying (mostly overseas) about once every two or three weeks.
How many countries have you been to? At last count, 51.
How many continents have you been to? Europe, Asia, South Pacific, Australia, NZ, South America.
Earliest travel memory: Too many, but one that stands out is doing what airlines call “touch and gos” at Palmdale Airport in a B-707-320—the hot rod racing car of pilots back then.
Favorite American city: Too hard to say—how about all of Southern California.
Favorite international city: Like Johnny Jet, I’ve been to far too many places to choose just one. So consider these…London, Bergen (Norway), Lucerne (Switzerland), Queenstown (New Zealand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Kuching (Borneo), San Francisco, and (of course!) Los Angeles! (yes, it’s domestic, but still…).
Friendliest people in the world: Without a doubt, New Zealanders.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: How about LEAST HELPFUL? Ok, many in London’s Heathrow.
Favorite airline: In years gone by “The Proud Bird With The Golden Tail.” That is, or was, Continental Airlines. On my few trips with Icelandair I thought they were absolutely delightful, pleasing and marvelous. Loved their uniforms and the fact that they wear a stylish hat(!). Very classy.
Some folks might call me sexist, but I love the fact that female flight attendants on Emirates all wear sexy red lipstick! Great uniforms, too. Must also mention (also back in the day!) a truly magnificent airline called British Caledonian. My wife and I flew on one of their inaugural flights from LAX to London’s Gatwick (probably around 1972-74) and we loved the unique Tartan uniforms the crew wore, the friendly ambience and the top-notch service—mind you, we were in First Class on a B-707. Those were the days. We even had Baked Alaska for dessert!
Also in this category of top-notch were the best days of the classic Pan Am. For our honeymoon my wife and I flew (First Class) to Rio de Janeiro in their B-747, we dined in the upper level cabin—fine china, crystal glasses, top-notch food, and magic there and back. Totally superb in every respect.
Favorite aircraft type: Back in the day, the Vickers Viscount, big windows, extra-quiet ride. Today the amazing A380.
Aisle or window: Prefer window or just behind the wing—especially on the A380 (it lifts up 15 feet on takeoff!)—but when you’re in Business Class, anywhere.
Favorite airport lounge: Heathrow.
Favorite U.S. airport: Los Angeles—as when it comes into view, I know I’m home again.
Favorite international airport: Shanghai pretty nifty, Seoul up there too, Zurich and Heathrow.
Favorite cruise line: NCL hands down.
Favorite travel credit card: Amazon VISA.
Favorite island: OK, how many know this Island, and where it is—Aitutaki. The best!
Favorite beach: Just about (almost) any one on Maui.
Favorite fruit: Nice, really soft and “pliable” peaches.
Favorite food: Really good sushi.
Least favorite food: Octopus!
Favorite travel show(s): Far too many are dull travelogues. That’s why I love doing my TV shows—often off-beat, lively, different, and freewheeling.
Right now I am reading: Just finished “Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot” by Mark Vanhoenacker (riveting!).
What do you like least about travel? Getting to the airport.
Worst travel moment: When you work for an airline (like I did—several times) and have to fly NRSA, and you do not get on a flight. However, when that happened to me (thank goodness, only once!) I consider what I paid. Zero.
What’s your dream destination? Probably a Viking river cruise on Russian rivers.
Best travel tip: Be an adventurous traveler. Look for the off-beat and unique. Don’t stay in so called “regular hotels,” but find one that’s out of the way. Here’s a very good example. We had no reservations when we got to the “end of England” in classic seaport village called Moushole, but pronounced “Mowzle.” We liked the look of The Old Coastguard hotel and it was fantastic. Superb. Unique. Friendly. We enjoyed a fab first dinner of a unique fish called Plaice. Incredible!