Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pickin' Up a Guy Named Mike From a Trailer Park in Texas

Owen Benjamin reads books on his Ideapad
They're both tall, they're both good lookin' and they're both frequent flyers. But there's a big difference between Alec Baldwin and Owen Benjamin. When a flight attendant tells Owen to turn off his portable electronic device, Owen right away says, "Yes."

That wasn't always the case. But since Owen accepted an offer from Southwest Airlines and Lenovo to  sponsor his quest to set a record for most airports visited in a month, the stand-up comedian-turned road warrior has a new respect for flight attendants.



"The most important lesson I learned is to be nice to the flight attendant," Owen told me during a skype interview on Monday. "They work really hard." 

For the last 30 days, Owen has been on an airplane all day, every day, flying to every city Southwest serves and a few it doesn't. Or at least that's what the funny man claims.

"Southwest will stop anywhere. I'm like, 'Why are we landing?' They go, 'We're picking up a guy named Mike.' It goes to every city in Texas. Every city. It stops in trailer parks, it goes anywhere."

Thirty days of traveling has given the comedian lots of new material that he's been trying out at the comedy clubs he's visiting as he criss-crosses the country at 38-thousand feet. 

My Lenovo ThinkPad treated me well for more than five years.
He's also equipped with a Lenovo Ideapad Tablet, so he can read, watch videos or write down more jokes and he's tweeting too. Full disclosure: I am writing this post on a new X220 convertible laptop/tablet, after five years of productive traveling with a conventional Lenovo ThinkPad.

Whether it is the books he's downloaded to his tablet, or the famously cheeky airline -  Owen claims he's having fun flying around the country.  That's in contrast to the 39 percent of travelers who told the U.S. Travel Association that given the chance, they'd choose some form of transport other than air.  

Maybe those two out of five travelers need to follow Owen's example and pack light, eat healthy and always carry something to read. "Time seems more joyous if you are looking forward to an hour delay so you can sit and read your book." he told me.

The Funny on the Fly  campaign ends today with a ceremony in Raleigh, North Carolina. Then the 31-year old comedian will hop back on a Southwest airplane for Lake Placid, New York to spend the holidays with family.

Has the whole thing been one great big publicity stunt for Southwest, Lenovo and Owen? Sure it has. That's okay, all three of them are on the right track with a message that says, no matter why you're traveling or where you're going, the most important thing to bring with you is your sense of humor.

"It's all about positivity, it's how you view it," Owen told me. Seriously, I think he's got something there. Alec, you listening?
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