Kasper Rasmussen: "To Travel is to Live"
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This is a new series lifting the lid on the people that make AirHelp tick, through questions that touch on their work, travel knowledge and the wider world. First up is Kasper Rasmussen, our VP of Strategic Partnerships.
1. What is the travel destination that you most recommend to other people and why? Or, what are the places in the world that have greatly influenced your life?
When asked about recommendable travel destinations, most people jump for exotic places like Thailand, Singapore, Bali or the Caribbean. However, as Europeans, we’re blessed with a lot of incredible destinations in our own backyard. London is an amazing city to go to; especially after the pound has dropped against the euro following Brexit, it’s become an extremely affordable destination with great restaurants, beautiful architecture, friendly locals (who speak English!) and shopping. Apart from London, I recommend visiting Paris (stay near Montmartre if you get a chance) or Amsterdam, where you can rent bikes and visit some of the great sites in and around the city.
2. What gadget or accessory has most improved your travel experience?
Can I answer AirHelp? Guess not, so I’d have to say the miniature-size liquids bottles, for airport security. I’ve thrown out a lot of good shower gels before getting these.
3. How has a travel disruption or unexpected event while traveling resulted in a memorable experience?
I remember back when we launched AirHelp Pro. It was a brand new AirHelp product, where you received a rebooking service, lounge access and €100 to spend in the airport, whenever your flights were delayed. I had the honor of being only the second person who needed to exercise this (the first person was Henrik, our CEO, of course). Heading towards our office in Gdansk, I had a flight that flew via Warsaw. The flight was one hour delayed, so I missed my connecting flight.
Arriving in Warsaw, all the other passengers ran towards the LOT service desk to get rebooked to another flight. I had AirHelp Pro, so got to be a “mystery shopper” and I could just call my colleagues, who then rebooked me, gave me lounge access, and the €100 was spent on a great meal. Sitting in the lounge, it dawned on me that there must be an enormous need for the service AirHelp offers: the horrible waiting lines that other passengers had to stand in were completely avoided. Of course, I’m biased, but I must admit I was proud that it was people I work with, that were taking active measure to make it right.
4. If you could put an inspirational travel quote on the back of every airplane seat, what would it say and why?
“At rejse er at leve” (Danish for ‘To travel is to live’). ~ H.C. Andersen
5. What is an unusual meal, delicacy or snack that you love? Where did you first try it?
Caramelised figs (in a can). Eat with vanilla ice cream. The first time was when I was a child at my grandmom’s place.
6. In the last five years, what is a new place you’ve visited that has most affected your view of the world?
U.S. Border patrol changes. We don’t need to be Orwell’ed into the future.
7. What advice would you give a young student about to set off on a trip around the world? And what’s bad advice – what shouldn’t they do?
First of all: Congratulations on getting such an awesome opportunity, as a young student! When you’re young, most people tend to be reserved towards new impressions and will tend to stick to what they know. When traveling to new and exotic places, make it a rule to question your initial instinct: If you’re hungry and on a beach somewhere in Thailand, should you really be looking for the nearest McDonalds? Isn’t there a street kitchen, with Thai pancakes somewhere instead? You only live once… so remember to buy good travel insurance! Of course; don’t go all-in with neck-breaking stunts, but don’t be too reserved either. Trust me: You will just end up being a 37-year old man who never got his PADI course.
8. When you feel stressed at work, what’s the first thing you do or the first place you think of?
I make sure to balance it. If too stressed, it’s because you need a counterweight. You may need to get some more personal time, so the first thing I do is tell my boss I need to hit the clutch and take a breather (with some more family time). Burning out doesn’t help anybody, so it’s important to listen to your inner voice, and not exceed your boundaries. It’s not a sign of weakness to feel stressed: You need to slow down, and you will soon find out that your surroundings are behind you! You just need to say it out loud, and it immediately relieves some of the stress.
Flight delays happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You may be entitled to as much as $700 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, canceled or overbooked within the last three years.
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