Welcome Onboard – An Introduction

“Vรคlkommen ombord” as we say in Sweden.

Thank you for joining us. This is my humble little blog. I know, I know there are many other blogs out there that cover travel and we are at this moment, the youngest. That is why I hope to take this blog in a different direction from the masses. There are just so many wonderful aspects of aviation and travel which I would like to share with the world & I hope my perspectives will become part of a fresh new voice for the aviation community. I look forward to sharing my stories, insider tips, and other interesting articles with you. Soon you will be on a path to becoming a travel guru as well!

A Brief Bio:

Hello, my name is William – but for all intents and purposes I go by my screen name “The Flying Swede” Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, it’s our little secret OK? ๐Ÿ˜‰ … So where to start?

I am currently a university student studying a B.Sc in Economic Development at Lund University in southern Sweden. ๐ŸŽ“  Despite what the ‘The Flying Swede’ moniker suggests, I actually grew up in the Washington D.C. metro area in the US! Recently, I’ve been living in Yokohama, Japan โ›ฉ  for work, study, and for the sheer experience! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ  Quite the contrast & I’m loving life from so many different perspectives!!

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Passing Mt. Fuji Cathay Pacific HND-HKG

The reason for my love of flying is hugely owed to my parents exposing me to travel at a young age. โœˆ  I would often “commute” between the US and Sweden for my summer & winter holiday as a child & I quickly became accustomed addicted to sitting in the window seat.๐Ÿ’บ Unlike most of my classmates, I was already a huge fan of airlines, airplanes, and the destinations they visited, with a discerning attitude toward travel. In a time before on-demand entertainment, I would just stare out the window admiring the wings gracefully flying through the clouds. When I wasn’t in the air, my hobbies ‘on the ground‘ were also vastly different… ๐Ÿ˜„

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The wing view of an ANA 787-8 cruising over Japan!

“Hey man, wanna play some football?” “No, I’m going flying today!”๐Ÿ›ฉ  At age 9, I started taking flying lessons. I currently have about 40 hours logged as PIC (Pilot in Command) with small Cessna and Diamond aircraft. At age 14, I founded my own DJ/Entertainment business ‘Scandia DJs’. ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿป๐Ÿป๐Ÿป I worked late on the weekends & kept the beats flowing while on weekdays I attended school. Outside of school hours, I spent approximately 15 years training in various styles of dance including ballet, ballroom, freestyle, and more. I love music & dancing so I made a great gig out of it!! Why not, right?

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My DJ setup at an event

I graduated High School with good grades but with an abysmal sentiment towards Algebra, to be honest, I almost failed the course out of utter frustration! WHY? Let’s be honest, how many people actually utilize Algebra out of school?!? (Ironically my father’s father was, in fact, an Algebra teacher and a skilled air force pilot!)  In real-world applications, I excel at math and I’ll explain that later in the blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back to the flying part…

‘Fresh Outta High School’, I came across a blog, not unlike this one explaining how to ‘travel like a pro’… of course at first I totally took it with a grain of salt. Like most teens, I already assumed I knew everything…๐Ÿ˜‡  turns out my knowledge was elementary at best. NOTE: This information is now a little dated, but at the time I found out that I could credit my flights every time I traveled across the Atlantic to an amazing frequent flyer program. ๐Ÿค”  I was already a member of Scandinavia’s premier airline, SAS and their EuroBonus FFP… but I wasn’t getting a significant return for my efforts.

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SAS A330-300 at CPH

Turns out Aegean Airlines which was also part of Star Alliance๐ŸŒŸ – the world’s largest alliance of airlines – was offering the highest elite status (Gold) for 20,000 miles travelled with their Miles & Bonus program. Best of all the status was good as long as you credited at least one flight every 3 years!! Long gone are those days unfortunately but it still is a great program which allows you to pool miles together among 5 family members/friends. Their redemption rates are pretty sweet too. ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘

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20,000 miles seemed like a lot… but I had plenty of time to figure it out. I could have flown across the US a few times on heavily discounted “P” fares with United but fortunately, I was heading to Singapore to begin studying Mandarin! ๐ŸŒ  I carefully selected my flights and took a high mileage yielding route that was still very cost effective. After all, one should never break the bank ๐Ÿ’ฐ over earning miles or spending more money than one has! But, I was able to do it affordably with sufficient research and dedication.

Before I knew it, I was rocking my elite status at 19 years old.  I got lounge access, priority luggage, and best of all, lots of upgrade opportunities. Think of it as holding the keys to the kingdom! ๐Ÿ”‘  I became an anomaly in the system so to speak. I found ways to fly in First & Business Class for a fraction of the price; often times literally cheaper or the same price as an economy ticket (but with a flatbed, amazing food / wine,๐Ÿพ, and the best service in the sky!!) However, I assure you that I still fly a great deal in Economy & Premium Economy.๐Ÿ˜Š It is essential to review all travel classes to offer a broad spectrum of trip reports and the majority of tickets I buy (the good old fashioned way) with cash are in eco.

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Thai Airways 747-400 Aft Economy Cabin

Now let me just make this really clear – NOTHING is 100% free. I’m not trying to sell false hope here! The point is that with the proper skill set, you CAN travel like a rockstar while paying the same or less than you were expecting for your next holiday! ๐ŸŒ…  Let me tell you, once you sit ‘up-front’ you won’t want to go back! The good news is that there are many ways to play the ‘travel hacking game’. When one door closes, another opens! ๐Ÿ˜‰  So as long as you’re interested, you can fly in premium cabins and stay in 4 & 5-star accommodations at your destination for rates way below you could get by paying cash!

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Qatar Airways A380 First Class DOH-BKK

In fact, many of the tricks I use don’t require any elite status or prior flying time… just a little bit of magic from my end. ๐Ÿ˜Ž  There are so many ways to get flying to where you want to go… in style! So please ask away. I’m at your service!

Closing:

It is in fact, still my dream to be a commercial pilot… who knows it may happen or perhaps I’ll go on to start my own airline!

Until then, I enjoy being in the passenger cabin & helping my friends, colleagues, & esteemed blog followers achieve their travel goals through travel advice, consultation, and trip reports. I hope you enjoy reading the blog & feel free to post any questions or comments you may have. See you onboard!

Warmest Regards from 35,000 feet,

โœˆ The Flying Swede โœˆ

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