Features

Interview: Air Miles with Paul Jebely

16 Jun 2019 by Michael Allen

Paul Jebely is a partner at law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Hong Kong.

Most unusual place you’ve been?

Naypyidaw, Myanmar. There are very few places in the world that don’t resemble what you are used to. It was like visiting another planet.

Any flights in your life that particularly stand out?

There’s one I’ll never forget. I was on a full 747 from Johannesburg to Hong Kong on take off in a thunderstorm and some kind of African pterodactyls hit the plane maybe 20 seconds after takeoff. It was two engines out, and you can’t just do an emergency landing with a full 747, so we had to fly above the storm and dump fuel for two hours.

There were people in front of me freaking out. The lady in the business class cabin didn’t stop wailing for two hours. The pilots were extremely professional, and when we landed they came out and  were just so cool and calm. Aviation is safe — period. However, if you fly enough you are increasing the chance of being in emergency situations, and you just have to rely on the professionalism of the crew.

Emergency situations aside, how do you survive a long flight?

I very rarely eat a meal on a plane, even in business or an upgrade to first. I will drink a tonne of water and buy my own before a flight and drink the supply on the aircraft dry. Staying hydrated is critical. I will have, like, a cheese plate and some wine – and that’s it. It’s also extremely rare for me to check in luggage. I feel the airline should give me a refund, because I’m not that fat, and I don’t eat their food or use the luggage allowance, ever.

If there’s access to a business lounge and it has a shower I will always try to take a long hot shower before a flight.

Top travel tips?

Never, ever, ever use hotel or any other free Wi-Fi. Always use your own hotspot (phone or egg with local sim). LAN is somewhat more secure, but not totally secure.

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Business Traveller July / August 2019 edition
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