MADE BY MEMBERS • March 2021
A self-confessed AV geek, global banker and Gold for Life Member of the Executive Club, Greg Edwards flew first class at the tender age of nine months and has been a fan of British Airways ever since. Having travelled to 57 cities and 30 countries with BA so far, he talks about the thrill of achieving top tier status and how to retain it…
Tell us a little about your background?
I’ve worked for more than 20 years in financial services in Montreal, Toronto and London, delivering foreign exchange and international payments solutions to clients ranging from SMEs to global brands. I also serve as a trustee of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) focused on the protection of wild lands and conservation of iconic African species, and co-founded a giraffe conservation NGO to help reverse the species’ decline. I was awarded the Freedom of the City of London for my charitable work. Besides that, I’m a self-confessed AV geek, history buff, amateur baker and a stressed Crystal Palace supporter!
What does you average workday look like?
My workdays typically involve a mix of meetings and presentations to teams around the world, starting with Asia Pacific in the morning, followed by Europe and ending with my North American colleagues. I love solving foreign exchange challenges, looking for ways financial technology can increase automation, reduce risk and ultimately make life easier for our clients. I’m also passionate about diversity and inclusion at work. I speak on the topic regularly and arrange internal panel discussions to make the business case for an inclusive and progressive workplace.
How did you get into flying?
I grew up in a big airline family. My mum worked for BOAC in Jamaica as ground staff, then for Air Canada in Montreal (pictured above), working in logistics and load management. I was lucky enough to take my first flight at nine months old to visit grandparents in Jamaica. I was apparently so cute (and well-behaved) that we were upgraded to first class – not a bad way to start flying!
And the Executive Club?
When I moved to London, one of the first things I did was join the Executive Club. British Airways has taken me to more than 57 cities and 30 countries and, today, I have around 946,000 miles under my belt. When I first started out, being in a sales role meant I got to visit clients regularly. I started modestly, flying 14 flights in my first year, the majority around Europe. Slowly, my travel became more frequent and I’ll always remember receiving that first letter saying I had progressed to Gold.
What’s the best bit of the Club?
Being a Gold member, there’s a real sense of partnership between you and BA. If my travel plans are disrupted, being Gold for Life means that things are often magically sorted out, and stress is significantly reduced knowing I am in good hands. I also love relaxing in the lounges – a glass of wine or cup of tea are always a delight to a weary traveller.
Any memorable moments?
The cabin crew service on board is what makes all the difference in the world for me. A few years ago, I flew my family in Club Europe to Zurich (pictured above) to visit my aunt to celebrate her 100th birthday. The crew made such a fuss over the kids and my father to make sure they had the best flight. The crew kept finding new things that kept the kids busy and my dad never had an empty glass. Even the Captain popped by to say hello and wish us well on our journey. We all felt like royalty on that flight. It was a great start to our family celebrations.
How do you make the most out of your miles?
I’m always thinking of ways to maximise my use of the oneworld alliance. Consider an open-jaw routing if both destinations are serviced by BA. For example, if I fly into Hong Kong and back from Shanghai, I find a short flight with Cathay Pacific (or American Airlines if I’m in the USA) on intra-regional trips helps to rack up the miles.
Favourite aircraft of all time and why?
Concorde, of course. It was peerless in its design, speed and elegance. Seeing the curvature of the Earth was an experience I will always cherish.
I love going to the Maldives, snorkelling alongside turtles, whale sharks and manta rays. I would absolutely love to go back there.
Top packing tip?
I pack all my long-sleeve shirts and trousers in dry-cleaning garment bags. That way, you arrive crease free every time no matter the humidity at your destination.
Aisle or window?
Window for unforgettable moments, such as flying over Buckingham Palace, the Golden Gate Bridge or the sunset over East Africa.
Best hotel you’ve ever stayed at?
Giraffe Manor, Nairobi. Where else can you handfeed a giraffe from your hotel room?!
Best food you’ve eaten abroad?
Steak tartare in Barolo, Piedmont. Rustic yet elegant and served with local wine.
Which destination is highest on your bucket list?
The Galapagos, to witness the planet’s evolution and story continue to unfold.
What’s your favourite London borough?
Greenwich – exploring the Cutty Sark, the Maritime Museum, Greenwich Market and the lovely scenic pubs along the Thames.
If you could do any other job in the world, which would you want to do and why?
Sommelier – I love discovering new wines and sharing them with others.
The motto you live by?
Seize the moment: do it now, you may not get a second chance.