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EXECUTIVE CLASS: DENIS SIMIONI, PRESIDENT, OJON CORPORATION Add to ...

Denis Simioni is the founder of Ojon, which markets a line of beauty products made from Central American plants. He is also the face of Ojon on the Shopping Channel in Canada.

How frequently do you travel?

This year, I flew within North and South America about 40 times and to overseas destinations about 15 times.

Is it always business class?

I fly economy for shorter flights when I am on vacation, but always fly business for work. Often I have to be in front of the television cameras just hours after I land, so I need to be clearheaded, unstressed and well rested. International flights are often my best chance to get a good seven hours of sleep.

What is your favourite airline?

I am a passionate Canadian, but my favourite airline is Air Canada for purely practical reasons. I find the people friendly and easy to deal with, service is good, flights are seldom late or delayed, and in 20 years of flying, Air Canada has never lost my luggage. Their business class is consistently excellent. I love their new 777s. I flew the return leg of their inaugural flight from Heathrow and it was as comfortable as a hotel room.

Do you have a favourite airport?

My background is Italian, so for me, if the food is good, life is good. At the airport in Venice, there is a fast food place that serves great veal loin steak, pasta and pizza like your mom might make at home. I like the business lounge in Terminal One at Pearson, the business lounge in the main terminal in Japan's Narita airport, and the SAS lounge in Heathrow.

Your best flight experience?

Probably my most memorable flight experience was the now defunct Concorde. I had to be at a photo shoot in San Francisco, but a client wanted a one-hour meeting in Germany. I flew from Germany to Heathrow, boarded the Concorde and was in New York in four hours. Another quick hop got me to San Francisco just in time for the shoot. I remember sitting on the Concorde, eating lobster, drinking Dom Pérignon and inhaling jet fuel. It wasn't a comfortable flight - more like the experience of driving in a vintage sports car, but I loved it.

Worst?

I was on a single-prop plane flying over the rain forest when a storm blew up. The plane was struck by lightning, lost power and dropped precipitously before the pilot was able to regain control. Real white-knuckle flying.

Packing tips?

I have learned to pack light - I can pack for a week in fifteen minutes. Because I have to look tidy for the cameras, I have become a folding expert. My shirts are folded and placed into large Ziploc bags and I press out the air. The air pressure during the flight vacuums it even more, and the shirts are perfect.

How do you deal with jet lag?

Ever since I quit wearing a watch, I stopped having jet lag. Once you arrive in a country, you need to become one of the locals - live on their schedule. If you are constantly reminding yourself that it is the middle of the night back home, it is harder to adjust.

Travel is becoming more and more of a challenge. How do you make the experience liveable?

You need to reduce as many irritations as you can. I wear slip-on shoes, avoid wearing a belt or sunglasses. The best thing you can do is to remain patient. I've seen people lose it many times in airports. That doesn't help anything, and I feel sorry for the staff. There's little you can do to change things anyway and the only person getting high blood pressure is you.

 

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