Skúli Mogensen, the founder and owner of WOW Air, the Icelandic budget airline that now flies to Reykjavik from Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, spends a lot of time in the air.
“Some say I live on an airplane,” he said. “I fly, on average, once a week.” When he isn’t traveling for work, Mr. Mogensen is based in Iceland and in London, but he tries to explore one new country each year.
“I just got back from a trip to Iran, which was very interesting,” Mr. Mogensen said on the phone from Reykjavik. “I met a lot of smart, open-minded people who as soon as they are given the right opportunities will thrive. I think there is an overwhelming understanding that they will need to continue to open up.”
He added that the capital was one of a few surprises he found in the country. “Tehran was far more developed and built up than I had anticipated,” he said. “One and a half hours away from Tehran you have huge mountains with amazing skiing. Most people think of Iran as a desert, but they actually have some of the best skiing in the world.”
Skiing is a favorite hobby of his. “That’s how I would love to spend all my winters; my favorite places are Verbier and Courchevel,” he said, referring to the Swiss and French ski meccas. “Here in Iceland we have phenomenal heli-skiing. You can ski from the top of the mountain down to the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re going in, say, late May, the sun never really sets and if the snow is still pretty good, you can take off at midnight. It’s spectacular.”
With around 50 flights a year, he has perfected the art of packing.
“I’m a master packer,” he said. “I will always take just a carry-on. To be efficient, you do not want to have lost luggage. I’m running an airline and unfortunately these things happen. I try to travel as light as possible.”
His top packing tip? “You should know in advance what you’re going to wear,” he said. “If I’m traveling with colleagues, or my better half, they might bring three suits or five pairs of shoes for two days. I prefer to decide exactly what I’m going to wear beforehand and only take that.”
Here is what he brings on every trip:
“I bring running shoes and one set of gym clothes. It’s extremely important when you sit on a plane a lot just to go out and get some fresh air during your travels. It’s the best way to counter jet leg and travel tiredness. I also bring goggles and a bathing suit, which don’t take a lot of space.”
“I used to travel with my computer all the time. Now an iPhone or iPad is more than enough unless I’m going to do some heavy work on the plane. Any way you can reduce weight and hassle and keep it simple, I think that’s a good thing. The screen on the iPhone 7 Plus is so good that I can pretty much get anything done. I have very good thumbs.”
“I will always bring a paper book; I’m old-fashioned when it comes to books. I recently reread a fantastic book called ‘Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think,’ by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. I’m a huge optimist, and I couldn’t recommend it more. Now I’m reading ‘Bold,’ the follow-up.”
“I take my Garmin triathlon watch for tracking my running or swimming. I try to stay at a hotel with a 24-hour swimming pool so I can do some laps — sometimes you don’t want to go running outside at 4 a.m.”
“I have a Swiss army backpack that’s very robust. That’s my day bag. I use that a lot and I can use it to go hiking, so it’s multipurpose. Sometimes if I’m flying for a day trip, I’ll just take that.”
Continue reading the main story