Travel News

Expert tips for air travel with David Caon

Industrial designer David Caon shares his secrets on how to travel like a pro.

David Caon, industrial designer

Where do you travel regularly for work?

“For business, it’s been Milan, Tokyo, London, Belfast and the US. I love going back to Italy and Japan especially. Belfast has some nice surprises and interesting people.”

How often are you away?

“Internationally, every second month. Domestically, at least once a month.”

Suitcase of choice?

“I travel with a leather overnight bag that a friend gave me from Florence years ago. However, I’m eyeing off an Arlo Skye or Rimowa hard case – the leather case is not always practical on longer trips when it gets heavy and I’m moving around a lot.”

Pre-flight routine?

“I try to exercise on the day I travel to wear myself out. I like to get to the airport early to avoid any unnecessary stress and so I can pick up some reading material for the flight. Then I head straight to the lounge to relax and read emails.”

Essential cabin baggage?

“My sketchbook, my noise-cancelling headphones and something to read, usually a vintage-car magazine or science journal.”

On-board routine?

“I try to adjust to the destination time zone as quickly as possible. I’ve developed a habit of having a Scotch after take-off to settle in. I’ll read for an hour or so into the flight and then watch a movie to keep myself up. I avoid eating too much. Just a snack and generally a vegetarian meal. Then it’s just plenty of water and sleep.”

Roll or fold?

“Fold and layer.”

Which airline do you fly most often for work?

“Qantas. Our studio is currently responsible for designing the interiors of Qantas’s newest aircraft. Even before this project, it was my airline of choice, for its customer service and dedication to creating good environments.”

Aisle or window seat?

“Window, for the view.”

Favourite airline lounge?

“Qantas First Class Sydney for its dining; Neil Perry does a great job creating the perfect pre-flight meal. And Qantas Premium Hong Kong – my studio designed this lounge in 2015, so I like to visit and see how travellers are using the space.”

Favourite hotels for business?

“I avoid classic business hotels. They often seem cold and have no sense of place. My favourite hotels are the Upper House in Hong Kong and the Opposite House in Beijing; Cerulean Tower in Tokyo, mainly for its Shibuya location; and the Peninsula Beverly Hills in LA. My notable weird hotels in weird places list is more interesting.”

How do hotels get it wrong for business travellers?

“When they’re devoid of atmosphere. I like a hotel to be lively and quiet in the right places. Quiet rooms. Relaxed gym and pool. Lively bar and 24-hour in-room dining that tastes fresh and carefully prepared when you arrive at 11.30pm after a 30-hour trip from Sydney.”

David Caon has worked on designs for Qantas, Dom Pérignon and Samsonite.

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