Friday, October 12, 2012

John DiScala, '92

 You wouldn’t guess that Johnny Jet, a travel expert who racks up at least 150,000 air miles every year, used to be afraid of flying. “I got to the gate for a flight to Australia and turned around,” says John DiScala –as he’s known to family and friends  about his first attempt to fly after a doctor warned against it. “When I was 17 years old the doctor told me I had asthma, gave me way too much medication, and told me that I"might have a problem breathing on a plane because the cabin is pressurized." For 3 ½ years, I was afraid to fly.'" John, a ’92 Marymount alumnus, would eventually overcome his fear and go on to create, a website that offers advice, discounts and stories on all things travel related. It has been named "one of the top best money-saving websites for travel" by Budget Travel Magazine and "one of the top 10 essential travel resources on the internet” by the LA Times. 
These days John, who visits about 20 countries a year, knows how to enjoy first class treatment without breaking the bank. But his travels weren't always so glamorous. “Having conquered my fear of flying I enrolled at Marymount College. I remember when I first started flying, even though I arrived at the airport very early, I still had to stand in a seemingly endless line to check- in, only to sit in a cramped middle seat in the back of the plane, be fed lousy food, and then have my bags come out last,” John says of the trips he’d make back and forth from Los Angeles to Connecticut, his home state.

Everything changed when John started dating a fellow Marymount student whose parents lived in Hong Kong. She invited him to visit Hong Kong with her, except that she was flying business class. Not wanting to sit in coach alone on 14 ½-hour flight, John was able to get a Capri, Italy, Argentina Australia Fiji business class seat for a great pricethrough a consolidator. “Wow! What a difference!” John says, “ nice seat with a leg rest, some ho towels, a little sorbet to clean the palate, non-stop food, beverages and movies. It was so good – I didn't want to leave the plane.”

After graduating from Marymount as student body president andm earning his B.A. at LMU, John returned to Marymount as a college recruiter with a 26-state territory. Constantly on the go, he was able to refine his newly discovered love oftraveling first-class on a budget. John started sharing his secrets with fellow Marymount recruiters and friends. His expertise was in such high-demand that John stated offering travel seminars and eventually, with the help of some talented Marymount students, built the website in 1999.

Now, over 10 years later, John continues his quest for the best hotels, beaches, and flights. “In nine weeks one year, I went to New York, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Malaysia, Taipei, Florida, Cancún, Texas, and Morocco,” John says, “and I once went to Hawaii for dinner.” It’s no wonder why, in the May 2007 issue of Outside Magazine, Johnny Jet was touted for having one of the world's best "dream jobs"!

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