Allison Ausband started her career at Delta Air Lines in 1985 as a flight attendant. Over the last 37 years, she has consistently risen in the ranks at the Atlanta-based carrier, including leading more than 20,000 Delta flight attendants as senior vice president of in-flight service as well as serving as vice president of reservation sales and customer care, where she was responsible for more than 37 million customer contacts across 10 engagement centers in four countries.
Now, Ausband is executive vice president and chief customer experience officer at Delta. Needless to say, she’s one of the most experienced executives in the travel industry—and an expert at preparing for business travel, too.
Ausband recently shared more with Fortune about the must-have items she never leaves home without.
I started my career at Delta as a flight attendant and picked up some packing habits that are hard to break. One lesson that’s stuck with me all this time is reliability – while I’m not a deep sleeper, I didn’t ever want to be late for a trip as a flight attendant. An extra alarm clock was mandatory for me as a backup to my hotel-room alarm clock and a wake-up call. Obviously, technology has come a long way since then, so I’ve gone from packing a physical alarm clock to ensuring I have my power cords. Now, I organize all of my chargers and adaptors in our Someone Somewhere amenity kit; I have one in every bag. And I never leave home without my iPad.
Minimalist packing style
I’m a minimalist when it comes to most of my travel; that’s another habit that has stuck with me from my flight attendant days. I’m usually flying for business, so I pack only what I need—whatever I’m flying in gets worn into the evening. There’s no need for extra weight in the suitcase. And hey, less weight means more fuel conservation on the airplane, too. A set of packing cubes always comes in handy, so I can separate out what I need and see it all clearly in my suitcase.
Transitional power suit and sneakers
I truly believe a good pantsuit can function as a suit of armor, and it’s one of my favorite pieces to style. But the key here is that it’s transitional. I always pack a suit that can be worn with the same shoes I leave home wearing. Sneakers are my new best friend with suits. I’m definitely getting my steps in during my airport visits, and these platform sneakers are typically what you can find me in. They’re functional and comfortable, and they dress the suit down enough so that I’m able to wear it meeting customers and colleagues during the day and then grabbing dinner at night.
Breathable workout clothes
I’m sure other road warriors can relate to the struggle of finding time to fit in a workout. I know my own Apple Watch constantly reminds me to close those pesky rings! So now, Lululemon running leggings are a staple when packing for any trip, business or pleasure. It’s the only item I don’t contemplate. Having comfortable clothes that make me feel good makes the workout that much easier to complete. And thankfully when I don’t get to the workout on the ground, I can still get some stretching in onboard with one of our Peloton classes on Delta Studio.
Plane-friendly skin care
Frequent fliers know hydration is key at 30,000 feet, so another must for me is plane-friendly skin care. We recently brought clean beauty brand Grown Alchemist onboard. They’re helping us stock our Delta One amenity kits with 100% natural, cruelty-free plant-based skincare and body products. I’ve become addicted to their Vanilla Watermelon lip balm to keep my lips moisturized throughout travel—it has a permanent place in my carry-on.
This is an installment of Baggage Claim, a series featuring famous personalities from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what they always pack when traveling, either for business or pleasure.