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Grand Canyon USA

Nancy Douglas-Irving OAM - Owner/Manager

Business or Economy?
What happened to First Class? I’ve never experienced First Class (well, not yet anyway), but it’s definitely on that bucket list. Business Class is preferred but not always available to me, so I make myself as comfortable as I can in Economy Class. I do have a recently acquired strategy when the need arises to travel in economy but that’s on a need to know basis. Of course, I prefer to spread out, relax and absorb the pleasures that Business Class offer when I can.

Most frequented destination?
My passion for Italy draws me back to this wonderfully diverse country time and time again. So much so that I want to share it with everyone I meet. I love it so much that people say that I should have been born Italian! It was my business partner Enzo Scipioni who introduced me to “La Dolce Vita” some years back and since then it has always remained in my heart. I’m drawn to anything Italian, and I'm trying to learn the language and I take groups there to experience the same joy. 

Favourite airport?
Having recently travelled to Doha in Qatar, I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed by what I was privileged to experience on a recent travel agent educational trip. Comfort, convenience and choice are what matters most to today’s traveller and I believe you will find them all at Hamad International Airport, home of Qatar Airways. Designed for both regional and international passengers, the airport offers facilities that are efficient, modern and user-friendly. Wide check-in aisles, an abundance of service desks and speedy security clearance made my pre-flight experience quick and easy. 

If I ran my own airline I would...?
I don’t think I would stop travelling for a start, and would extend the opportunity to travel like I have with my family and friends. There would be state of the art coffee machines in every section of the plane for all to enjoy at their leisure and larger bathrooms. I’m a dog lover, so on specific flights, I would introduce 'Bring Your Dog Fares' so that passengers could travel with their best friends. I’m sure people hate leaving their fur babies behind. 

Where would you go with a million air miles?
Place a dollar value on a million air miles! I would travel in First Class following my ideal round world itinerary: Adelaide – Tokyo – Delhi – Maldives – Muscat (Oman) – Athens – Rome – Dublin – New York – Toronto – Churchill (to see the Polar Bears) – Calgary (catch the Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver) – San Francisco – Auckland – Adelaide. This itinerary captures places that I would love to revisit but also destinations that I’ve longed to visit for many years. 

Worst place you’ve been lost?
A friend and I walked around the same block twice in Kyoto, Japan one evening looking for the coffee shop that I had visited and loved the previous day. The coffee shop had provided me with such a great experience that I wanted to share it with my friend. I was convinced and adamant that I was walking in the right direction and that I knew where it was. After two trips around the same block I realised that it was some several streets away. Japan can be like that sometimes! At night, things often don't look the same! 

Best trip ever?
Without fail, my best trip ever was my first journey to Italy in 2007. It was my first trip to Europe and I just couldn’t believe that I was on the other side of the world! I had to keep pinching myself throughout my time away as my eyes were opened to new experiences, people, attractions and cuisines. I couldn’t get over what an amazing experience I was privilege to and how lucky I was. To now be able to share this with others really is a dream come true. 

Most memorable overseas dining?
I’ve eaten at so many wonderful restaurants and bistros around the world and it’s really difficult to single one out, but I would have to hand the award to La Terrazza in the Hotel Eden, found in the 'Eternal City' of Rome. Centrally located, the stunning roof top Michelin-star restaurant overlooks the entire city affording views of Piazza Venezia, St Peters and Trinita del Monte whilst savouring their creative and innovative seasonal menus. It would be remiss of me not to mention Il Clandestino Restaurant in Ancona, one of Enzo’s favourite dining experiences. I could write a whole page on memorable dining experiences given the time and space. 

In the suitcase? 
At the top of the list would be a spare iPhone charger and at least two universal power adaptors! I just can’t go without these items as my phone and laptop travel everywhere that I do! I always make room for one book as travelling is the only time that I actually find time to read. I have learnt to pack light when travelling on the outbound journey, but the trip home is always a different matter and my luggage seems to weigh twice as much. It goes without saying that two pair of shoes and a hair straightener are always included as essential items in my suitcase. 

The first thing you do in a new city?
The first thing I do in a new city is to explore the surrounds of my hotel and find the best place to sit and watch the locals whilst enjoying a good coffee first thing in the morning. I like to build a relationship with the local café owners, enjoy absorbing the local culture and try and learn a new language. 

Best overseas purchase?
Where do I start? My favourite brand of handbags and accessories is an Italian brand called Furla and I can’t seem to go without making at least one purchase on any trip.

Best things about travelling?
Meeting new people and making friends with people from all over the world is at the top of my list. I’m a people person at the best of times and love to learn about the differences between their country and Australia. For those who know me, you’ll know that I’ll take any opportunity to have a chat and am often found to be engaged in conversation with the passenger sitting next to me or someone waiting for their flight at the airport. 

Top travel gripe?
It has to be watching passengers get on the plane with multiple carry-on bags which take up all of the overhead luggage storage space and encroaches on other passengers’ allocated space. Some of the items I’ve seen passengers get on board with are astounding and clearly don’t fit the guidelines and measurements for carry-on luggage. I really don’t know how they get away with it. I’m sure that if I tried it, I’d be the one who would get thrown off to repack!


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