Say hello to the people of the industry who’ve chosen to work in ‘travel for life’. These are the ultra passionate, much-loved folk that continue to inspire others by going above and beyond in their everyday roles.

This week we catch up with the General Manager for Australia & New Zealand of American Airlines, Simon Dodd, who shared with us what he loves most about the industry, what keeps him in it and the most eye-opening moment he’s ever had.


What do you love most about working in travel?

Simon Dodd American Airlines

It would have to be the people. It’s been amazing to meet so many lifelong friends, mentors, leaders and extremely talented and wonderful individuals.


How has working in travel changed you?


Working in travel has certainly taught me how to be ready to change your travel plans at the last minute!

Recently I explained to my partner that we’d be flying to Honolulu via Tokyo, Dallas and Los Angeles as we were packing the night before.


Tell us about a recent, amazing travel experience

Miami's South Beach

Miami’s South Beach

I was lucky enough to fly Sydney/Los Angeles on our inaugural flight, which was also on my birthday! It was fantastic seeing the aircraft receive a water cannon salute on arrival and then departing an hour or two later.

Another favourite occasion was when I decided to surprise a great friend of mine with a two day trip to London. However, the flights didn’t go quite as planned, so my trip ended up being Sydney/LA/Miami/Dallas Fort Worth/Madrid/London. I did though unexpectedly get to visit a new city (Miami).


What’s the weirdest/most amusing job you’ve ever had?


I worked for a company which involved cold calling to set up appointments to sell knives. On the second day on the job, we had to bring a list of thirty new people to cold call to make appointments. I guess that introduced me to the world of sales.


What’s the most eye-opening thing you’ve ever seen on your travels?



I always try and add somewhere I haven’t been on a trip before.

We recently hosted a famil with Brand USA which included new destinations for me, like Seattle and Portland and two brand new experiences I’d never done before – a seaplane trip over Seattle and then driving RVs to Portland from Seattle. We also took a Segway tour around Portland which was super cool!


How can we as an industry ‘travel to change the world?’

American Airlines Premium Economy

People are typically pretty happy when they board a flight – it’s a new experience, seeing old friends, new friends, family, customers, colleagues.  It’s a privilege to be part of the industry help make that happen for our customers.


What’s your number one in-flight travel tip?

American Airlines

Quite a few bottles of water on a long haul trip and saline eye drops, oh and one or two glasses of your favourite doesn’t hurt. Our inflight WiFi on American Airlines allows you to get some work done or stay in touch with loved ones on the flight across the Pacific.


What’s your favourite travel app?


I travel a lot for work and keeping in touch with friends and family on Facebook and Whatsapp helps me stay connected with them.


What advice would you give an industry newbie?


Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. Find a mentor. Always be true to who you are, authenticity wins every time.


Have you met Simon on your travels?