I’ve always wanted to head over to an airport, pick a destination, then fly. Thanks to staff standby travel, I was able to give it a try!
The remote arctic island of Svalbard – or, at least, its main settlement Longyearbyen, is not as inaccessible as you might imagine! Here’s what lured me there, how I managed to visit, and what I got up to whilst I was in town.
Full report on my 2013Q4 project: chasing IHG’s Big Win promotion. I battled the St Jude storm in the UK; discovered CERN and Geneva with Marian Call and fellow fans; flew LCY-EDI-LHR-GVA-LHR-EDI on BA (enjoying the lounges along the way) and, of course, sampled four different IHG properties to meet all my challenges.
A little after 9am this morning found me perched on a bench with four strangers, each of us anonymously dressed in oversized red jumpsuits, further constrained by straps that pull awkwardly at limbs. I’d been temporarily relieved of all my possessions except my clothes, lest I somehow cause harm with them later; permanently relieved of almost $200; breathalysed; swabbed for narcotics; had surrendered my passport; and waived my right to sue over distress, injury or death.
All because I fancied a stroll.