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How a bowl of ramen got me on The Wall Street Journal

Dear Jason,

When The Wall Street Journal tries to reach out to you, you respond.



Well, it wasn’t exactly how it happened, but it did. My family was on vacation in Hawaii. We were on the Big Island for Spring Break.

Sunset at Kailua-Kona – Spring Break 2018

A day after we returned from Hawaii, while sitting in front of my iMac, a message popped up on my Facebook site, DaddyTravels. Naturally, I checked the private direct message. I usually get travel-deals-booking related messages sent to me. This one was different.

It was a message from Rob Copeland, a reporter with the WSJ. He wanted to chat with me about my WOW Air experience when I brought my own bowl of udon during the flight. He provided his phone number and email address.

Hmmm…..I knew what WSJ was, but why would The Wall Street Journal want to have anything to do with me? I asked myself, “Is this some kind of a joke? Is someone trying to punk me?” So I went to The Wall Street Journal’s website, and sure enough, I looked up Rob Copeland, the writer who sent me a private message. I saw his profile in the WSJ website. I called Nancy and told her about this, and then I called Rob directly.

Image courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal emailed and I didn’t reply

Exactly. When Rob and I first spoke, he advised me that he reached out to me a week ago via email and I never replied. A week ago? Hmmm, I was in Hawaii, on the Big Island! Rob sent me an email on March 27th, but we left for Hawaii on Monday, March 26th. But how on earth did I miss Rob’s email? He said he sent it to Bingo! I just created that Gmail account two weeks before our trip, and honestly, I’ve not checked that email. I mean, c’mon. I wasn’t expecting anyone to email me, especially The Wall Street Journal.

We got to talking. Rob was working on an article on ways that people try to get around low cost airlines, and he came across, DaddyTravelsNow, my blog entry when my wife and I flew to Iceland from Los Angeles via WOW Air and only paid $99 one way. WOW Air is known for charging passengers for just about everything (from additional your carryons to seat assignments). But that wasn’t what caught his attention.

A bowl of udon was key

Back in February 2017, Nancy and I flew to Iceland on vacation. Prior to our flight with WOW Air, we hung around the Korean Airlines Lounge where they provided ramen and udon noodles. I decided to bring a bowl of instant udon that I picked up from the lounge to the WOW Air flight. It was going to be a nine hour flight, and I knew I’d be hungry during the flight.

The flight left on time at 11:20am, and we found ourselves sleeping like a log. Hunger struck and we ate the food that we brought on board. I had a bowl of Udon/Ramen from Korean Airlines, but I needed hot water. Again, WOW, I was told charges for everything. When I asked the flight attendant how much it was to get hot water, she said “come see me at the back, and I’ll see what I can do.” When I got there, she gave me hot water for free, and even thanked me for bringing my bowl there instead of walking it down the aisle. So there, another great plus from WOW! Ask nicely, and you shall receive.
Thanks to this Bowl of Udon

My conversation with Rob lasted about 30-45 minutes. We exchanged funny stories about ways we’ve tried to save an extra buck during our travels, and that he was working on compiling different tips from other travelers. The best part was when I told him that I did the exact same trick during our flight back from Hawaii to Los Angeles, just over 24 hours ago before he and I spoke. It was ironic. The day before our flight to LA, my family stopped at Walmart, and I bought a bowl of Instant Kimchi Ramen for just over $1. During the flight, Nancy took a picture of me, without knowing that I’d be getting interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. What a strange and cool coincidence!

My Kimchi Ramen on my flight back from Hawaii to Los Angeles

Online Article Published

A week later, Rob sent me message that the story had been published. He added the link to the article. Here it is, my Wall Street Journal debut.

Image courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

Mom, Dad, I made it on the Wall Street Journal

The day after the online article was published, Rob mentioned that  the printed copy would be available the next day. I called Starbucks and Barnes and Noble, and searched for the printed copy. Once I had the paper, I went to the other sections of the WSJ, and didn’t find the article. I went back to the front page headlines, and it was there. The article made front page, ok fine, it was at the bottom right of the front page, but hey, front page nonetheless!

Images courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

My lessons learned

  • Nothing is ever wrong with being frugal, a little creativity does not hurt either.
  • When it comes to blog writing, you expose yourself to the world, and you never know who’s reading, so be true and honest with your writing.
  • Ramen is life #truestory.

Thank you, Rob and to The Wall Street Journal, for allowing me to share my ways of trying to save whenever we travel as family.


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