Flory B. Ellis, Los Angeles

When Flory B. Ellis learned she'd been chosen as a finalist for the American Way Road Warrior contest, she literally tripped over a chair dancing around her office. While technically based in Los Angeles, where she works as a director of trade management for a large aerospace and defense company, the best place to find Flory is on an American Airlines flight between L.A. and the East Coast (New York, Washington, D.C., or Orlando, Fla.).

Flory's love affair with travel began at a young age. She and her family lived in El Paso, Texas, and since the American Airlines headquarters are in Texas, the American Airlines family became a home away from home for Flory. She accumulated more than 1 million lifetime AAdvantage miles before the age of 35, and she has traveled to more than 40 countries. Among Flory's travels, she's been to Kiribati (an island nation in the South Pacific), where she feasted on lobster and chocolate ice cream for four days (don't ask); drank fermented horse milk in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan; and gotten seasick rounding Cape Horn.

When she is home, she enjoys open-water swimming, learning how to hang-glide and keeping in touch with all the friends she has made on her American Airlines adventures. Flory is also an avid game enthusiast - be it card, board or online games.

Flory's father introduced her to the ways of the Road Warrior, and she looks forward to passing along her wisdom to the next generation - her niece (age 2) already has an AAdvantage number and has accumulated 5,000 miles.

Challenge #1

Write an essay describing why you should win this year's Road Warrior Contest. And here's the rub, you need to include 10 idioms throughout your story if you know what's good for you.

*An idiom is the language or expressions used by a specific group of people. Example of idioms: We're pleased as punch that you decided to enter the 11th Annual American Way Road Warrior Contest! So, step up to the plate and give it your best shot. (Limit of 600 words or 3,000 characters).


For the last five years my entries have gone down like lead balloons and it's time for a change! As road warriors go, I know the ropes. IAD, TSA cleared, dead-head, non-rev may sound like mumbo jumbo to the layperson, but to a road warrior they roll off the tongue as we converse with the people who make the day-in and day-out of being a road warrior tolerable - no doubt about it, the phone/ticket/gate agents and the flight attendants are the REAL first class and the REAL road warriors. I merely emulate their tricks of the trade and try to pass muster. For example: Real Road Warriors know there is no crying over spilt peanuts. They know that it is better to get somewhere safe and sound than to tempt fate. They know that there is no reason to shop, eat or sleep without earning miles at the same time. Because the best thing about being a road warrior is getting to respond to the out of the blue events and be there for friends and family. Nephew is sick as a dog and wants his Yaya (grandmother) - check. Brother dislocates his shoulder overseas and needs to get home - piece of cake. Best friend who lives 1000 miles away breaks up with her boyfriend with whom she was head over heels? I'll be right there. Want to help one of our active military get home for the holidays? I've got some miles for that. Bottom line, road warriors can talk about all of the gadgets they have and all the tricks they have learned that make them a road warrior, but like all warriors its comes down to the people. The people who you interact with everyday as a road warrior and the people you get to see and help because you are a road warrior. Gives new meaning to "Going the Extra Mile". Very long way of saying, the winner of this year's American Way Road Warrior contest should share the wealth and know that it takes a village to make one road warrior.

Challenge #2

Give us your 5 Warrior W's (Limit of 70 words or 350 characters for each answer):

Who are you?
Someone who believes that despite technology, there is no substitute for being there. I am also called "The Fixer" or "Fixer Flory" if we like alliteration, which I do.

What do you do?
I fly around the world making sure that bad things (weapons) do not get to bad people (this is not a joke, see job title). I wear I cape whenever possible, which is usually when I'm playing in the backyard with my niece and not fighting evil, which is unfortunate.

Why do you fly so much?
1. Flighting evil (see the "What" answer above); 2. No matter how far technology gets us, there is still no substitute for sitting down with someone face-to-face (See "Who" answer above); 3. Visit friends and family scattered across the world; 4. Sounds cheesy, but I want to see every part of this world I can. People underestimate the variety and beauty the world offers.

Where do you go?
Typically: DC, Orlando, NYC and Dallas.

When did this lifestyle begin?
I have been a road warrior at heart all my life. I continue to hone my skills and improve, but the draw of new places and people drove me to move away from my native Texas, live in South America for a bit and foster friendships around the world. I have already scheduled trips with my 2 year old niece to start "showing her the ways of a road warrior."

Challenge #3

Describe a typical 2-week time period in your life of flying American Airlines - routes, cities visited, miles flown, etc. (Limit of 300 words or 1,500 characters).

Monday - finish wrapping up some work so hopefully I can enjoy the IFE on flight 144 to DC. Get to LAX around 12:30 and HOPE that I'm TSA cleared. I LOVE TSA cleared. Seriously, who knew how freeing it would feel to not take off my shoes? Immediately head to the Admiral's Club where a KEY part of my road warrior routine is buying 6 coke zeros IN BOTTLES before I board. The awesome staff at the club always make sure that have at least six on hand for me. After boarding, typically whip out one of 2 things and log onto Gogo wireless - computer if I have work to, and iPad if I don't (sadly it's mostly the computer). Although it's a long flight, I have either worked or watched movies so I'm there in no time. DC is typically absurdly hot or wickedly cold (I lived there for 10 years before moving to LA and have become REALLY spoiled). After picking up my car I head to the hotel for a few days of working in our Virginia office. On Thursday I return on flight 263 where I sort of repeat the process in reverse. BIGGEST difference - when I land in LA, it is always 75 and sunny! While not typical, I do occasionally take off to Texas over the weekend to visit my family - you can probably already tell that my niece and nephew are the lights of my life, and I visit them as much as possible. I also try not to travel more than one week in a row as I find that even though I find I'm more productive in the air than on the ground, my LA work colleagues want to see me in person (wonder where they got that idea!)

Challenge #4

What revs your 777 engine?

Favorite snack food(s): Warm Nuts (of course...)

Favorite candy(s): Kit Kat

Favorite grab 'n go drink(s): Coke Zero

Favorite smart phone app(s): Notability; Poynt; Yipit; Pandora; FlightTrack; Face Time