When EDGAR met John Travolta

The Hollywood icon talks aviation, his near-death experience and the time he tucked Robert de Niro into bed.

Matthew Priest February 8, 2015

Beating jet lag
When I was in my twenties, jet lag used to kill me. If I was flying to Rome to do some filming, it would take me two weeks to get over it. These days, I certainly feel it less. Contrary to popular belief, the troublesome part of jet lag is not the clock being mixed up, it is a version of altitude sickness.

Being on a 17-hour flight is the same feeling you get on the first few days at a ski resort, 10,000ft up in the mountains. You get over it by having more oxygen in your body through exercising.

Down on downtime
I’m adventurous by nature. I fly planes, scuba dive, go deep-sea fishing and I try to keep fit by playing tennis pretty much every day. I love these things, but I’m learning how to pace myself as I grow older. Don’t get me wrong, I love my creature comforts – but you’ll struggle to keep me at home for more than a couple of weeks at a time! I always need to be doing something.John Travolta in a cockpit. Flying with friends
I once flew Robert de Niro from Bulgaria, where we were shooting Killing Season, to New York. We served him dinner, a Martini and I tucked him into bed in his own cabin. He said it wads the best flight he'd ever had. I did the same thing with Barbara Streisand, and Marlon Brando. They all seemed dumbfounded that they could unwind so much on a flight. 

Near death
Perhaps the scariest moment in my career as an aviator was 22-years ago, when I was flying over Washington and the plane had a total electrical failure mid-flight. Luckily, I managed to ride it out.

Failproof flights
The truth about aviation is that most unfortunate incidents or accidents are pilot oriented, and not due to the machine itself. Today planes are built so well that they can withstand the most catastrophic of malfunctions, and as long as the pilots know what they are doing, they will be able to get the plane on the ground. It means that pilots have to have their A-game on the whole time, and developers are focusing on ways to help keep pilots alert with every type of indicator possible to make it virtually idiot-proof, for lack of a better phrase. John travolta and Robert  de Niro Gift wrapped
I’ve found the perfect present to give people. It’s an iPhone case that holds your phone, credit cards and cash, so you don’t have to carry three things around with you. I’ve given billionaires that case as a gift, and they seem to cherish it the most. I spent New Year’s Eve in Switzerland with a seriously wealthy family and for presents I gave all of them this iPhone case. When I saw them again at the Cannes Film Festival, they all whipped out their case because they’d been using it for the past six months.

Modern man
One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is to be able to accept people for their limitations. It is wrong to expect more than people are capable of giving you. You have to learn to manage your own expectations within your own relationships, whether that is with your partner, family or friends – it doesn’t mean that they love you any less, but that they are doing it in their own way.

Details: John Travolta is an ambassador for Breitling. For more visit breitling.com