Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as “Diplo,” once estimated that he takes 320 flights a year. Just next month, the D.J., songwriter, and producer will travel to New York, Amsterdam, Tampa, and Avondale, Arizona, to perform. After landing three Grammys and working with everyone from Madonna to Mark Ronson, Diplo has been experimenting with country music, a turn away from his electronic-dancehall start. His latest foray into new territory is more literal. On December 13, Diplo will team up with Insider Expeditions to spearhead a seven-day luxury cruise in Antarctica. I know, not what you expected!
With so much of his life spent at cruising altitude, Diplo has dialed in his travel routine. Here, he answers our questionnaire about what he packs, eats, and buys while traveling. —Jensen Davis
Last flight you took?
Commercial or private? I’m in Europe right now, and commercial air travel over here sucks, so the last flight I took was a private charter from Burgas (Bulgaria) to Leipzig (Germany) to do a Major Lazer show. I spend so much time flying that whenever there’s no direct [flight], I fly private. Making travel easy allows me to maximize my time on the road, be it working or exploring.
Private charter, though I do like JetBlue Mint. I need a ConciergeKey from American Airlines, so if they read this and give me it, maybe they’ll top my list.
What do you wear to the airport?
I always have to be comfortable on the plane. Comfortable shoes are the most important. I’m almost always wearing Crocs when I travel.
How long before your flight boards do you get to the airport?
As late as possible, but I’m like airport Jesus. I always manage to make it on the plane somehow.
Check bags, or carry-on only?
Carry-on only, though I am gone for three weeks now and did have to check a bag for once. Because I’m on a jet in Europe, it’s easier to bring a big bag—you don’t risk it getting lost.
T.S.A. PreCheck, or regular?
“I’m like airport Jesus. I always manage to make it on the plane somehow.”
What do you buy in the airport?
I try to spend as little time as possible in the terminal, but if I need to stop and buy anything, it’s probably Colgate Wisps.
What do you do while waiting to board?
I don’t usually have much time in an airport, but if I do, I’ll usually just work in the lounge. Some lounges have gyms, so if they do, I’ll do a run on a treadmill.
Item you can’t fly without?
Headphones, eye mask, Colgate Wisps. I’m either working on my next set on a plane or catching up on much-needed sleep.
What do you drink or take to fly?
Maybe a glass of red wine and an edible, but I’m a good sleeper on planes.
First class or coach?
First class, though every once in a while I do fly Southwest.
Window, middle, or aisle seat?
Do you buy Wi-Fi?
Yes—why don’t flights in Europe have Wi-Fi?
Do you eat plane food?
Not really. It’s too salty.
Best drink to get on a flight?
Do you talk to the people sitting next to you?
No, I’m usually working with my headphones on or sleeping.
Keep shoes on or off on the plane?
What do you do when turbulence hits?
I probably wouldn’t even notice. I’m so used to it.
Worst part of the flight?
First thing you do when the plane lands?
Pack up so I can get off quickly.