It has been both exciting and a privilege to have the opportunity to exchange a few words and ideas with Live@YVR host (pronounced ˈlīv’) Jaeger Mah. To help celebrate YVR’s 80th anniversary, Jaeger stayed for 80 days and nights at the airport to glean and share unique insights on what goes on behind-the-scenes –and even what happens to your luggage, and why it’s best to be on time! Although Jaeger has just recently bid farewell to an exciting and luxurious stay at this busy airport, you haven’t heard the last of him yet! (And that’s a good thing!) Ever the adventure-seeker, he admits he loves a challenge… his next project? He’s hoping to be selected to help Port Alberni (his hometown) revitalise its image through a media campaign, and work on his own company, Punchline Video Productions. Clearly, the man is a wizard, and his enthusiasm is infectious!
Miss Cathie: Is there one souvenir that you’ve acquired during this experience that you treasure above the rest?
Jaeger Mah: Yes! It’s my 8 inch stuffed sea otter, “Toshi”… I got him 3 days into my adventure, and he’s been with me throughout.
Miss Cathie: Is there another airport you would like to live in for 80 days?
Jaeger Mah: Now that I’ve seen the goings-on of a really advanced airport like YVR, I would like to explore the other end of the spectrum… something with dirt runways, perhaps in Peru or Africa. Other than that, I’d love to see Winnipeg’s crazy amazing new airport!
Miss Cathie: Did you glean any packing tips from your stay?
Jaeger Mah: I definitely have. What I would suggest: for starters, pack only what you need. If you’re going to a warm country, don’t pack 2 pairs of jeans. Chances are, you’re going to buy things down there anyway. A carry-on is the key to bringing a balanced amount of items. If you are expecting a layover or long stay in a connecting airport, bring a light blanket so u can take a nap somewhere. Familiarize yourself with a map of the airport before dozing off, and packing some mini supplies like hand sanitizer in your carry-on (under 100ml each container) never hurt.
Also, very important: Make sure you arrive early. If you arrive at the last possible minute, what may happen is your luggage is still on a conveyor belt while your plane takes off before the baggage truck can take it to the plane. A traveller’s worst nightmare!
(Isn’t it nice to have an expert on the subject?)
Miss Cathie: I see! So you mean to say that most of the time, luggage isn’t lost… it’s because people arrive with too little window time for things to get going, and thus their luggage gets left behind!
Jaeger Mah: Exactly! Also, your baggage goes through two types of scanners: an x-ray and a barcode. The barcode scanner tells it where to go, and the x-ray makes sure nothing is dangerous inside it. Make sure you have no dangerous or illegal items!
Oh, and don’t leave luggage unattended at the airport. I was on shift with a terminal duty officer – they are in charge of making sure that everything at the airport runs smoothly—and we found this suspicious-looking bag. We waited to see if anyone would show up, but you can’t have an unattended bag lying around either. So after half an hour we decided to figure out who it belonged to and we opened up the bag portion and there was a GPS, a few documents, some clothes and a shoe…all this valueless stuff, and then we see a box, with a clicking sound coming from inside. We freaked out! Security was called over, and we opened the box to reveal a statue clock. We were choked! We left a note on the luggage saying that the item had been brought to the information desk. Half an hour later someone collects it and is ticked off that we went through his things… but what can you do?
Miss Cathie: You did it for security reasons, that’s laudable!
Miss Cathie: Is there a good store for a fashionista at the airport that you could recommend? (I know, I’m a hopeless shopper…)
Jaeger Mah: I would recommend the international terminal (post security). They have a big selection of European purses, belts, bags, coats and anything else. They tote all the major brands: Hugo, Gucci, Prada, Chanel.. . but be ready to pay though. I think I saw a belt for $300!
Miss Cathie: What was the most fun experience or episode you have had?
Jaeger Mah: The most fun has to be the time the pilots took me to the operation centre at Air Canada, and taught me how to prep a plane for a flight…
Miss Cathie: I watched the video where you do some detective work to figure out what might have happened to the knife you lost during a security check… did you ever find your knife?
Jaeger Mah: Actually, no. It was at the Kelowna airport a few years ago, and shortly after 9/11 when security was tightened considerably. My hint for travellers with items that are not allowed through security: If you do have something precious, or something you simply don’t want to lose, you can actually keep it at the airport. YVR will hold it for you until you return and claim it… or they can mail it to you for a small fee.
Miss Cathie: That is definitely handy to know! Do you have a favourite spot for hanging out? (I changed my question, because I thought it would be nice to leave out the British Airways incident.)
Jaeger Mah: I have two really good lounges to recommend. One is the Air Canada lounge, excellent décor, food, and choice of wines and spirits! You do need membership to have access, so make sure you click on the button that says you’ll pay $40.00 extra for Air Canada lounge access when booking your flight online!
The other one is the Plaza Premium lounge – it’s open to anybody, you simply have to pay $35.00 and you get access to hot food, such as soups and stews… wine for all is included. There’s also a sleeping room and a shower!
Miss Cathie: Do you miss the airport environment, and the Fairmont hotel?
Jaeger Mah: I do for sure, especially all the friends I made there! But I’m lucky that YVR asked me to come back on board and finish telling the stories and videos that I wasn’t able to share before the time was up. I’m still looking for great anecdotes about airport life… so if anyone has a fun story about their life that affects YVR, please share! And if they do, I will feature it sometime in December for Christmas.
Best Friends — Tom, Jaeger and Louis…
Isn’t that interesting? Who knew YVR had so much to offer! Next time you are at the airport, indeed, any airport! Look around… you may be surprised with the amazing things they have to offer!
Thank you, Jaeger for kindly taking the time to speak with me! It was fun, and definitely an eye-opener!
P.S. Be sure to check out Jaeger’s newest video, David and Ethel, the love story of two people brought together then torn apart by WWII. Love stories make the best stories, … and I teared up at the end.