Interview with Aaron Ritoper, Vice President of Business Development at fly.com

Aaron RitoperFormerly with Skyscanner, Aaron Ritoper is the Vice President of Business Development at Fly.com, a website which scours major airlines, international carriers and online travel sites, and helps people easily sort and refine results by criteria such as number of stops and departure times and traveller class.

What is it that you do exactly?

I’m in charge of developing the Fly.com business across Europe. This means I manage our all commercial relationships, ensure we achieve our targets, and communicate across markets to spread the word on Fly.com (sharing the latest flight deal insights). Travelzoo travel producers are very knowledgeable, so I spend time with them to review the latest bargains.

On the technology side, the flight search experience is constantly developing, and hours are spent with the team to build the flight search product of the future.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

It’s not every day that you get the chance to build a global brand with the talent and resources of a company like Travelzoo. I love the challenge and the reward that we see as people discover how much better Fly.com is at finding cheap flights compared to legacy websites.

What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?

Méribel – Is fantastic place for a ski vacation. The last time we went “hors-piste” with a ski guide, and when he handed out avalanche beacons and put a snow shovel in his backpack that definitely made a lasting impression.

Iceland – Seeing the Northern lights was definitely high on my list. I stayed out in the countryside outside of Reykjavik and around midnight green oscillating light filled the sky.

Hawaii – A wonderful place for a family vacation, we stayed at the Grand Hilton in Waikoloa and found it very family friendly. The dolphin pool in particular was a big hit.

What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?

Probably the time I ate barbequed buffalo on an Indian reservation in New Mexico. They had the whole animal roasting on a spit and there were demonstrations of traditional dances with rhythmic music – it was very festive!

Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?

I’m constantly on airplanes so I’ve run across quite a few celebrities along the way. Within the travel world, I enjoyed speaking with Stelios Haji-Ioannou not too long ago just before my easyJet flight from London to Nice, France. I happened to be one of the first people on the plane, so tipped off the flight attendant that an important guest would be following me.

What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?

It’s about time for a surfing trip, so I’m hoping to spend some time in Biarritz, France soon.

Many thanks, Aaron. Having experienced the Northern Lights in Greenland myself, I can understand how that might be up there as one of your highlights.

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