Business travel can be a great perk of the job – but things can always go wrong.

Talking to Digiday, senior media executives who travel frequently have shared some of their worst travel mishaps – from airline's that admit their "terrible safety record" to unexpected taxes at the airport.

Amy Kean, the former head of strategy and insights at Mindshare Asia Pacific, recounted a "terrifying" experience with an Uber driver in Kuala Lumpur. After driving for a few miles, the driver started screaming.

"I thought he was having a heart attack or had run over a cat, but it turned out his [GPS navigation system] had stopped working," she wrote. "He punched the machine for a minute or so, then emergency stopped."


With cars beeping and swerving around them, the driver told her she had to get out of the car and refused to restart until she did.

"Given we were on a motorway, I had to dodge cars going at 100 miles an hour to get to the side of the road — the most terrifying 20 seconds of my life.

"I walked down a side road, only to come face to face with a man I was later told was the King of Malaysia. He nodded a quick hello in my direction and then got into a far bigger, likely more reliable car."

While flying Garuda airlines out of Jakarta, Indonesia, Chris Duncan, managing director of Times Newspapers, was given an unsettling reason why his flight was so empty.

He wrote: "The plane was practically empty, which was surprising, so I asked the stewardess why, and she replied, 'We have a terrible safety record.'"

En route to India via Dubai, Marco Bertozzi, vp of Europe, Spotify, was confronted by customs due to an anniversary ring he had bought at Heathrow Airport to save tax. He was issued with a £1,500 ($2958) tax bill, which he negotiated for two hours.

"Eventually, he asked what I'd be willing to pay. I started with £500 ($986), and he accepted," he wrote.

"I then told him the cash point would only release £250 ($493), so he agreed and shook my hand, and as I got the money out, I stuffed the rest down my pants.

"Another guy with a gun then escorted me to a different room, and I told him it would only give me £50 ($98). An hour later, he came back and told me I was a good guy, shook my hand and said I could go. I left at 6am, shattered."

Business trips can often include a bit of alcohol in the evenings – which caused some trouble for an anonymous head of programmatic at a national publisher.

"On the last day of a Stockholm conference, the usual traditional jovialities took place in the evening. A lot of alcohol was involved until early morning," he wrote.

"As we were all going back to the airport, one of the other publishers banged on my door for a good 10 minutes to wake me up.

"While packing, I managed to put my shoes into my luggage and walk out of my room and all the way down to the foyer barefoot. I still managed to miss the plane."