December 1, 2023

Frequent Flier: A Succession of Items, Lost in Transit

I put military-grade mosquito nets around my bed and refused to leave my room. Two days later, I felt fine. I realized I didn’t have malaria, just an acute case of hypochondria. Since then, I take travel, especially business travel, as it comes.

I like business travel, particularly the longer flights. I actually get to think, or not. My company manages 13 hotels in the United States and two properties in London. We have another eight properties under development overseas. So a lot of my work involves not only overseeing these new projects, but visiting existing properties, and, of course, trying to find new deals.

By the time I get to where I’m going, I’m tired. I’m not one of those lucky people who can sleep on planes.

Since I’m wide-awake, it’s amazing that I can be a bit forgetful when I fly. I’ve probably lost about half of all the books I’ve ever brought on board. Now, I have an iPad. The digital thing hasn’t helped too much.

I was in Tel Aviv, and I was walking out of the airport when I realized my iPad was still on board. I was freaking out. Even though my dad is Israeli, I don’t speak any Hebrew.

Almost everyone at the airport had some English, but I was having a tough time. Thankfully, I had a driver who came to my rescue. I had already tried to get my iPad back but you can imagine the hoops I was jumping through. My driver got me in front of the right person in about five minutes.

I swear he was ex-Mossad. He did practically all the talking. I just kind of stood there. But the next thing I know, I got to go back on the plane for my iPad. I swear, I’ve talked to my wife about inventing some kind of device that I could wrap around myself so I don’t forget to take my stuff with me.

My wife is really understanding when it comes to my travels, and some of my travel issues.

I was flying to Moscow for the first time for meetings regarding our new Delano property, and I guess it was cold in the cabin. When I got up to use the restroom, my wedding ring must have slipped off my finger. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s the only thing I can think of. It’s not like I got on the flight and took off my ring and put it on the tray or something.

Anyway, I realized my ring was not on my finger and I panicked. Really, think of explaining to your spouse how your wedding ring just happened to fall off. It wasn’t going to be pretty.

I figured the ring got wedged between the seats or something. The flight attendants were great, making every attempt to help me find my ring, including fashioning a little tool so I could fish around between the seats. We admitted defeat after about an hour.

After landing, I actually worked with a maintenance guy for about 20 minutes taking the seat apart. No ring.

I waited until I got home to tell my wife. O.K., there was a little tension. Not much.

I do have a new wedding ring. It’s a little tight, and I think that’s really smart on my part.

By Michael Gross, as told to Joan Raymond. E-mail:

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