Would you visit 1000 airports across the world?



Jack's Flight Club ✈️ Travel News & Inspiration

Wotcher, wonderful JFC-ers,

So the big news this week has been from budget airline Jetstar (run by Qantas), which unexpectedly cancelled eight return flights from Bali - effectively leaving 4,000 passengers without an easy way to get home.

Why all of the cancellations? In Jetstar’s own words, the airline has suffered a string of extremely bad luck affecting its aircraft, including “a lightning strike, a bird strike, damage from an item on the runway and delays sourcing a specific spare part for one of our aircraft due to global supply chain challenges.”

The numbers still don't quite add up unless the bird managed to take out five planes at once - but it sounds like they're having a rough time, so we'll let that one slide.

The vast majority of the travellers have now made their way back home via alternative means, we understand, although media reports found that perhaps 180 were still stuck in Bali as of Tuesday afternoon.

Hopefully everyone involved gets home safe!

Thanks for reading,

Jack x


Wanderer's Corner: 1000 airports

A few weeks back, we were thrilled to hear from Alan and Agnieska - a couple of JFC members who've made it their mission to travel to 1000 airports across the world.

We spoke to Alan to find out more about this remarkable quest - and to get the lowdown on some of the incredible places they've both visited.

Welcome, Alan! So - how did you first decide you wanted to visit 1000 airports?

I joined an airline (Dan Air) from school in 1978. This opened up the world of free travel to me, which I enjoyed immensely, naturally, for 14 years. Back then, a free ticket was a free ticket (no tax)!

During one night shift, around 1980, a colleague asked me a throwaway question, which quite literally shaped the next 40 years of travel for me: “Did you go to football today? Was it a new ground? I bet you’ve been to more airports?”

I had a quick count up from memory and, although I had only been to 57 airports (versus 72 football grounds), that was it. I started on a quest to land or take off from as many airports as I could.

My wife Agnieszka and I met at a function and started courting 10 years ago. Luckily for me, Agnieszka fully embraced the airport-collecting and the lengths I would go to to visit new ones.

We never go just for the airport! Even if the destination itself may not be that interesting, there’s always the land/sea journey in between.

We both have that constant desire to see what’s round the next corner, but adding a new airport adds that extra incentive for us.

Amazing! And how did you settle on 1000 airports as the target?

I never had a total in mind at first. We have 3 other collections on the go which are finite: football league grounds (mine), all the Wetherspoon pubs (Agnieszka’s choice to start this one, and actually a great way to go to places in this country that you would not necessarily choose to otherwise!) and the 15 completed UK National Trails - again, another fantastic way to appreciate what UK has to offer.

As you know, there’s literally 1000s of airports so there has to be a limit to the madness, doesn’t there?

I reached the milestone of 700 in 2016, that coincidentally being Agnieszka’s 100th. We gave up work to travel full time in March 2019. Shortly afterwards, I came to the conclusion that I needed a final target. 1000 seemed achievable and a logical milestone.

We are trying to work it out so that we reach 1000/500 together on the same flight (currently 955/442). We will certainly carry on travelling after that, all being well, but maybe a lot more land based - we love long train journeys. We hope to achieve this by the end of next year!

Alan and Agnieska's favourite airports:

Mestia, Georgia. "An unbelievably scenic mountain location and a weird-as-anything terminal design."

Papa Westray, Orkney Islands. "Again, beautiful scenery - but also the shortest commercial flight in the world from Westray. The flight takes under 2 minutes and is shorter than the runway at Heathrow! Loganair give you a certificate once you’ve done it."

Potosi, Bolivia. "I was in the terminal there in 1992 when the flight was cancelled, so had to travel by road to La Paz. 27 years later, I finally made it, coincidentally as my 800th airport. It was also the highest commercial airport in the world for a time!"

Svolvaer, Lofoten Islands, Norway. "Just a stunning location."

Kastellorizo, Greece. "A crazy little runway up in the hills on one of the most beautiful and remote of Greek islands. Flights regularly cancelled due to winds!"

Queen Tamar Airport, in Mestia, Georgia, is one of Alan's top picks for the strangest-looking terminal building in the world. The distinctive clown-shoe shape is actually meant to be in tribute to the region's old medieval defence towers.

But Mestia isn't alone. Check out Newsweek's recommendations for the world's weirdest airports.

And do you know where your 1000th (and final) airport will be?

We don’t plan ahead much, if at all, so, no idea at the moment. We are considering renting a Piper Cherokee, which we did for our wedding in Isle of Wight last year and combining flying to the last Wetherspoon on our list. We very much travel on a budget, but it’s actually not that expensive, if you’re lucky enough to have a friend fly you and only pay fuel and landing fees, as we are.

Otherwise, we’ll give it more thought when we get into the nervous 990s/490s!

A huge thank you to Alan and Agnieska for sharing their story with us!

If you've got a travel experience (funny, unique, or just plain odd) that you'd like to see in The Detour, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a note at [email protected] and let us know!

And as ever, if you've got an idea or a request for an article, please do share it with us!

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Our Pick Of The Clicks

All the important (or silly, or strange) travel news from across the web this week.

Street smarts: Time Out has been giving their rankings of the world's coolest streets. (Rue Wellington in Montreal took the top spot.)

Gimme gimme gimme: After intense pressure from the Biden administration, US airlines have updated their guidance to offer more passenger compensation and benefits when a flight is delayed or cancelled. Nice!

Talk about oversharing: And in the latest 'bad flier behaviour' story, a Southwest pilot was forced to threaten to turn his plane around after someone started Airdropping nude photos to their fellow fliers.

Shiver me tannins: The thinnest of silver linings here from the BBC - the escalating climate crisis means that we may all soon be drinking Arctic wine.

Gelato money to burn: And finally, commiserations to the American tourist who sat down on a Roman fountain's steps at 1am with an ice-cream and a beer and found himself fined £385.

(Yes, the city has strifct 'urban decorum' laws in place around its world-famous monuments and has done since 2019, so please remember, folks. No bevvies in the Trevi, no suitcases on the Spanish steps, and only decorum in the Forum.)


Flying Felines & Plane Pooches

Planning to take a beloved pet on a flight any time soon (or just curious about how it all works)?

Kamil from our Flight Finders team has worked up a handy travel guide - by pets, for pets. Pass the article to your four-legged pal now or have a sneak peek below:

First things first, you’ll have to go through a security check, just like your two-legged pal.

This may seem daunting at first, especially since it involves being taken out of the kennel or container you arrived in.

A good owner should hold you and shield you from all the lights and noise - it can be stressful, and airports can be more than enough to drive you barking mad.

Despite the added stress, there’s something important to remember - do not allow your owner to give you tranquillizers. Your owner might think it’s harmless, but really, it just opens up a whole other can of worms.

For one thing, airlines often won’t allow it in case you get injured during turbulence - you need to be able to balance yourself.

For another, tranquillizers affect your breathing, and this could put you at risk, especially in a closed environment where air circulation isn’t the best.

Now that you’ve made it through security, your human’s going to have to put you back in your temporary home, and it’s off to the gate!

Depending on how early you arrive at your airport (it’s better to be an early bird if pets are flying), you might have to wait a looong time before it’s time to board.

This leaves us with the elephant in the room - what if you need to use the bathroom?

Don’t worry - modern airports are designed with you in mind. In fact, it’s a legal requirement in the US to have a so-called ‘pet relief’ area for airports handling more than 10,000 passengers a year.

JFK is a good example. They’ve got these areas called ‘Wooftops’ - managed by the Dept. of Barks & Recreation - that function as a little pet park for you to play around in.

It’s a similar story with airports in Europe. Some even take it further, with Frankfurt hosting their famous ‘Animal Lounge’, where special employees look after you and provide vet care if necessary.

Have we piqued your app-pet-tite? Read the rest of the article over on the JFC website.