Would You Travel For Free With a Total Stranger?

by Daniel Nikulin
Funny couple in the forest

When Canadian couple Jordan and Elizabeth’s relationship went south (shortly after Jordan bought their non-refundable, around-the-world airline tickets) the only thing that was clear and certain was that Jordan was leaving on a jet plane. It may have been the perfect time for Jordan to get out into the world alone, to re-discover himself, to get over Elizabeth… but Jordan didn’t see it that way.

Even the airlines pushed him to cut his losses and set out alone as they explained to him that on top of his pair of tickets being non-refundable, they were also non-transferrable, meaning that even as the buyer of both tickets, he couldn’t change the name on Elizabeth’s ticket.

It’s a little known fact that the vast majority of airline tickets, even $10,000 around-the-world tickets, are strict in their rules pertaining to refunds or name changes, regardless of airline or travel provider they were purchased from. Nowadays, due mainly to security reasons, name changes (not name corrections, in case of misspelling) on international tickets are never allowed. Generally, only higher grade business and first class tickets can be refunded without penalty, as well as full, ultra-pricey economy class fares that only big business travellers tend to buy.

Maybe it’s best. Maybe it’s a sign. Maybe I’ll just do it alone, he must’ve thought. Or …

Enter social media and Jordan’s honest post on Reddit looking for anyone named Elizabeth Gallagher, holding a Canadian passport who’d like to accompany him on a fantastic and free globe-trotting adventure. The response he got was overwhelming with thousands of emails, 18 of which were from women who fit the bill, Canadians named Elizabeth Gallagher.

A photo posted by Jordan Axani (@jordanaxani) on

Twenty-eight year old Jordan Axani ended up choosing a 23 year old Halifax student sharing his ex’s name and they begin their soon-to-be documented journey with the first leg of their trip to New York City on December 21st. After New York, the tickets will take them to Milan, Prague, Paris, Bangkok and Delhi.

For anyone hoping for a storybook ending considering the romantic itinerary booked, there is now only one glitch, as Jordan’s newly recruited Elizabeth has a serious boyfriend back home and insists that they will travel simply “as friends,” which Jordan has no problem with. In a smart marketing move, hotel giant Marriott has offered to accommodate the platonic travellers throughout their trip, even putting them up in separate rooms.

hotel room

Jordan and Elizabeth’s story initially made news last month and it won’t end with the culmination of their trip on January 8th, the day they get back to Toronto. It got people thinking and drove another Jordan (Bishop) from Toronto to create an airline ticket sharing website called Connections, where unusable, unchangeable tickets get recycled and used by lucky strangers with the right passport and the ticketed name. Sometimes you travel alone, sometimes with a total stranger.

Inspired by the outpouring of emails he initially received, Jordan Axani himself (along with his brother) also started a site to help those passionate about travel who may not get the chance due to financial shortcomings, where strangers can donate to a fund to help their travel cause called A Ticket Forward.

Now, Jordan Axani happens to be a good looking and genuine guy, possibly skewing some of our thoughts about jetting off with someone you may have only briefly spoken to over the phone, but it does raise the question which may ultimately decide the success or failure of a site like Connections, most importantly, would you travel for free with a total stranger?

 

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