Name: Samantha Cardone
Position title: Plane PalTM Owner & Creator
Company name: Plane PalTM
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the industry in 2016.
From a young age I was raised as a truly global citizen; living on 3 continents by age 7, and having visited over 20 countries!
I wanted the same for my three children, but found travel with them to be tor-turous.
It was then I decided I had to find a way to enjoy the journey not just the destina-tion – and the answer seemed to be in sleep! If children could sleep on planes, then anything was possible.
6 months later I launched Plane PalTM and three years later we are now sold in over 100 stores in Australia and across 17 different countries.
What do you like most about your job?
Inspiring families to find the courage to see the world together.
It’s really daunting travelling as a family. The feedback and reviews from parents put me on top of the world! (Pardon the pun!)
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Receiving official endorsement from a wide range of airlines – despite many say-ing it couldn’t be done.
Attending the IATA cabin safety conferences in Thailand and Istanbul and work-ing side-by-side with the safety teams has been incredible!
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
I am often told can you “tell your boss” or “ask your boss,”.
People assume I couldn’t possibly BE THE BOSS!
I have been asked hundreds of times at industry events if I am with the airline crew? The assumption being it’s the only place I could possibly ‘fit’ in the industry – which is sometimes confronting.
The best advice I was given about this:
From my mother, ‘Being underestimated is never a bad thing. It makes it much easier to blow them away.’
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
‘Whole Kids’ founder, Monica Meldrum.
She has shown that an entrepreneurial mum can partner with major airlines and have a positive impact on family travel (and nutrition).
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
Our focus is on our most important core values. Impact, Adventure, Family and Enjoyment.
Family travel (including a little adversity) breeds resilient yet empathetic children.
We want to encourage families to have a positive impact on the places they visit and vice versa. We truly believe that many of the world’s problems can be solved by more people travelling. Nothing teaches a child about concepts like privilege, poverty, culture and climate change better than travel.
If we can continue to find ways to make family travel easier and less stressful, then more families will travel further and wider!
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
The Greek Islands, India and Spain.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
In 2018 we took four generations of family to my birthplace, South Africa. To-gether we spent a week on safari. It was an amazing experience for young and old; and one we reminisce about regularly.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
1. Packing cubes: I detest a chaotic case.
2. Laptop: As a business owner I have the luxury of never “having” to be at the office.
3. Madura Teabags: As a tea drinker my morning cup sets me on track for the day. It’s a little piece of home I take with me everywhere.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Former US President Barack Obama – to Kenya.
I always say, try to visit with someone with local connections.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
Particularly in family travel, I see the raise of the savvy customer.
They want more for their dollar. They have researched every option, read every review and blog.
These customers are not an easy sell, they are highly motivated and know the market. They are more likely to book independently and are very fond of share economy products like Airbnb and Uber.
Designing experiences for these customers instead of ‘sales pitches’ and pack-ages will garner their attention, respect and investment.
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