Every week we track down a great travel Instagrammer, and this time, it’s Albert Hsieh’s (@jetalbert) turn. Dedicate whole-heartedly to his readers, self-proclaimed #AvGeek shares all kinds of savvy flight and hotel experiences on both his website and instagram. From Mercat Boqueria to St.Regis, In-n-Out to Lufthansa First Class lounge, JETALBERT might surprise you wherever he goes. Stay tuned and you’ll find more about Albert’s extraordinary reviews on @awardtravel
Occupation: I’m currently the Director, Marketing Airports – West Region at Westfield supporting our Airports division. Previously, I did Marketing at JetBlue, China Airlines, and XOJET, an on-demand private jet company.
City you call home: San Francisco, California and the larger Bay Area.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? My name is Albert and I’m a San Francisco-Bay Area-native. I’m a self-proclaimed #AvGeek with a deep passion for all-things aviation, travel, adventure, and food. I enjoy living a high and low lifestyle and can be found having cocktail at the St. Regis or inhaling an In-n-Out burger.
The best advice you have for becoming a popular Instagrammer? Care about your content and do it because you love it. For me, it’s rewarding to share my passion with my followers and provide tips to fly smarter and more luxurious. I find gratitude in being able to help others fly more comfortably (and affordably).
Tell us your 3 most favorite Instagram accounts and why!
Can you name a few of the most instagrammable places that you have been to?
Tell us what your ideal luxury travel is like:
A First Class flight to the Maldives, preferably on Singapore Airlines, ANA, Cathay Pacific, or Thai Airways. Once there, I’ll stay at the St. Regis in an overwater bungalow with free-flowing drinks, swimming, and delicious seafood.
What’s the first thing you do when arriving a new city?
I seek out the largest morning and night markets. In Barcelona, it’s the Mercat Boqueria. In Paris, it’s Marché Bastille. And, in Taipei, it’s the Shilin Night Market. I love the maze of street vendors – it’s the best way to immerse yourself in the vibrancy of a city center and intake all the culture, food, language, and bartering tactics.
Most embarrassing moments in your traveling?
There’s far too many to count but one of the most embarrassing moments was getting pulled over in Croatia for speeding. Sadly, he let us go after paying him off.
3 travel essentials you can’t live without?
My iPhone, Packing Cubes, and YSL Sunglasses.
The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho – an SPG luxury collection hotel
For design, it’s Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. For shopping, it’s Seoul Incheon Airport. Overall, and this may come as a surprise to many, but I enjoy LAX for the oneworld and American Airlines lounges. It makes me proud to see incremental improvements in the US aviation market.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Best flight experience:
Lufthansa First Class
What is the most finger lickin’ good food you’ve tried on plane?
For me, flying and caviar service go hand-in-hand. It brings you back to the Golden Age of air travel when stewardesses would carve a chateaubriand by your seat. I’ve had the chance to enjoy caviar onboard Thai Airways, Asiana, Korean Air, and Lufthansa, and each bite is divine.
What’s your go-to uniform on plane:
It varies between the destination and departure time but I’m typically in jeans, a button-down shirt, dress shoes, and an overcoat.
What’s the story behind JETALBERT:
It’s been a long-time and personal goal to document my adventures and, hopefully, inspire others to see the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to have flown very comfortably around the world, thanks to a few credit card spend strategies and mileage runs. My goal is to educate my fans and help them realize a First Class flight is not a far-off idea.
Favorite item from the hotel mini-bar?
Probably a bag of chips since I very much enjoy savory food.
How do you deal with jet lag?
For me, it begins with selecting the right flight times. I do my best to avoid red-eye flights at all costs and prefer to arrive in the late-afternoon before dinner time. That way, if I’m not too full from the flight, I have a small bite, see the sunset, and enjoy a full night’s rest.
I also make it a point to stay at a full-service hotel towards the end of my trip, so I can spend a day enjoying the hotel’s amenities. Recently, I ended a two-week trip around Japan with a stay at The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, an SPG luxury collection hotel. From the spa and gym, to the bar and restaurant, pampering myself with five-star service was the perfect way to end the trip.
Your “happy place” to visit?
Growing up, my father worked at United Airlines and each year we would spend 2 weeks in a new destination and, separately, 2 weeks in Taiwan. As a Taiwanese-American, our annual trip to Taiwan quickly became my happy place. Till this day, I love visiting Taiwan for its people, food, humidity, culture, and so much more. The country truly offers something for everyone.
I also find myself “happiest” when I’m perched high on a cliff and surrounded by water. It’s a feeling of being “on top of the world” and feeling so small. Standing atop and overlooking the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, Dubrovnik, and Santorini has been the best feeling.
What’s your pet peeves when staying at a hotel (or taking a flight)?
Inconsistency is my biggest pet peeve, particularly with hotels. I find it disappointing when a hotel’s staff is not familiar with the hotel’s policy and loyalty benefits.
Any packing strategies?
Regardless of travel length and duration, I travel with only a carry-on bag, a backpack, and religiously use packing cubes to stay organized. My favorite packing cubes come from Flight 001, which can be pricey but are so worth it.
Do you use any travel apps?
I use quite a few apps for different purposes but my top apps are Alaska Airlines, SPG, Google Maps, and Lyft.
Travel destinations on your bucket-list?
At the moment, my 2018 travel plans include Bali, Siem Reap, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, Doha, and Singapore. My larger list includes the Maldives, Tahiti, Dubai, and Morocco.
Favorite restaurant (or cafe) in San Francisco:
My favorite restaurant in San Francisco is Gary Danko and LihoLiho Yacht Club.
Three must-do when visiting San Francisco:
All visitors must walk along San Francisco’s beautiful waterfront from the Ferry Building to Pier 39, spend an afternoon at Dolores Park, and explore my favorite neighborhood, Hayes Valley.
I hope to elevate my social media presence and become ambassadors for a few key brands. I’m currently exploring what exactly that means. I’m also keen on collaborating with more Instagram influencers. My vision and strategy for my page is very much still in development and I’m excited to see what JETALBERT can become.
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