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: Maggie Lang
Occupation: Senior Director, Loyalty and Relationship Markteing – Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Short Bio: A seasoned Fortune 500 Marketer, Maggie has enjoyed wearing many hats and roles with market leaders like Walgreens and most recently United Airlines, where she oversaw the airline’s re-branding efforts following its merger with Continental (she won’t say if she was partial to the tulip or globe but she WAS legacy United … ). Having nurtured a love for travel and aviation, Maggie stayed in the industry as she moved over to Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, where she heads up their Loyalty and marketing efforts. Since she travels to at least two or more of their 56 high end boutique hotels every month, she spends more time on an airplane than she did while working for an airline!
How often do you fly: At least twice a month.
How many countries have you been to: Maybe 40? I lost count.
How many continents have you been to: 4
Favorite American city: Oh, this is a tough one. I love so many for different reasons. I have a soft spot for New Orleans because I love the romance and mysticism there. My heart beats strong for NYC; it’s vibrant, alive and its citizens keep it real, which I love. San Diego relaxes me and makes me smile, but I have to say that San Francisco tops my list. It simply has everything; beauty, interesting people, eclectic culture, five star dining (even in food trucks!), mini-weekend destinations around every corner … I’m very, very happy here and love coming home.
Favorite international city: Venice, Italy. No exception.
Least favorite country: I didn’t connect much with Eastern Africa.
Favorite airline: Naturally United by travel and general loyalty, and JetBlue in spirit (they don’t have a lot of West Coast flying). I’ve had some fun Virgin America experiences lately, but not enough to build any loyalty. Besides, Marty (@MartyStG) gets mad at me when I say that. I have too many friends in the airline business!
Favorite aircraft type: 747-400. Always has, always will be. Love the Queen of the Skies (though the 787 might change that!)
Aisle or window: Window all the way. I like the “privacy”.
Favorite airport lounge: United Club at C Terminal in ORD. I love watching the International departures and the 747 nose staring you right in the face at Gate 18 as you enjoy a glass of wine. #Avgeek anyone?
Favorite U.S. airport: Though I don’t really fly there, I really did enjoy Jetblue’s JFK terminal. Otherwise I’d have to say SFO Terminal 2 (sorry, United) is pretty stellar. Any terminal with a yoga room and organic food gets my vote.
Favorite international airport: DXB. It’s an experience.
Favorite hotel: Hmmm. Let’s see… I’ll go with Kimpton Hotels!
Favorite cruise line: I used to work on a cruise ship in Europe in my early days . Have never set foot on one after, though now that I have kids I’m begrudgingly considering Disney Cruises.
Favorite island: Kauai, Hawaii. Magical.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Not so sure it’s “fancy” as much as it is delicious and fun but my current favorite is Scala’s Bistro here in San Francisco. Chef Jen Biesty of former Top Chef fame makes the most amazing Squid (read: black!) Ink Calamari pasta!
Favorite hole in the wall: Hinano on Washington Blvd in Venice Beach/Marina Del Rey. It’s where my husband and I had our first date; I was a cheap date. Venice Beach and Abbott Kinney Blvd is still one of my very favorite places. Some amazing new restaurants there.
Favorite fruit: Watermelon and Pineapple. I could live off of those two.
Favorite food: I’m obsessed with, and love cooking, Asian food. Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese (though I stay away from some of the crazy stuff Andrew Zimmerman enjoys!)
Least favorite food: Boiled meats. I can’t stand stews!
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Gallons and gallons of water. And Ketel One Martinis. I suppose you can say I’m a purist.
Favorite travel show(s): I’m hooked on ‘Hotel Impossible’ on the Travel Channel. Anthony Melchiorri is hysterical!
Right now I am reading: Wild – from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. A true story about a woman who conquered her demons during 1,200 miles in the remote wilderness. Amazing story telling and real life bravery. Will appeal to any traveler; male or female.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines: Sad to say I don’t have time to read newsletters. I get most of my information through Twitter streams and FlipBoard.
Five things you bring on a plane: Hand Sanitizer, a really rich hand lotion, the largest bottle of water I can find, Fast Company or Bon Appetit and my iPad. I’m probably the only hold out AGAINST WiFi on planes. I’m so uber connected all the time and obsessed with being “plugged in” that being on an airplane is the only time I can shut my self-imposed chatter off. I know, it’s a lost cause. Henry (@hharteveldt) keeps trying to convince me we need to have “productive time” on an airplane and that wifi is a necessity, but I’d rather just disconnect for a few hours.
What do you always seem to forget: I hate to say it, but my toothbrush! That’s why I love Kimpton’s “Forgot it, We got it!” program. We stock up on nearly every essential you can think of, and can bring it up in a minute.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Perfume or a local spirit. I love both!
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): Yelp. Yelp has saved me so many times while traveling when in need of a pedicure, dry cleaner or during an intense sushi craving. I’m also a runner so MapMyRun and Pandora are solid favorites.
What’s your dream destination: Fiji!! Didn’t you just go there for your honeymoon, Johnny?
Best travel tip: Pack knits. Knits can be rolled up and don’t wrinkle as easily. Also pack neutral shoes; a pair of nude (or neutral for men) shoes that goes with multiple outfits saves a lot of space! I pack a travel candle and a zip lock bag with Epsom salts with a few drops of lavender oil in them. Creates a soothing experience in any hotel room!