8 Questions With… Shagun Saluja, Senior Sales Account Executive with Delta Air Lines

Our team of luxury and corporate travel experts is often asked: what’s the best strategy for making long-haul flights comfortable? Watch a movie marathon, bring a good book, or just catch up on your sleep? We get an unconventional tip from a bona fide expert in this month’s 8 Questions feature.

Meet Shagun Saluja. Not only has she traveled to 58 countries and flies to India four times a year, she’s also an 11-year veteran with Delta Airlines.

CIRE: Hello, Shagun! First things first…  We hear you have a new co-worker at Delta. Have you met Tom yet?!

SHAGUN: My question at every team meeting is, “When do we get to meet him?!” I am personally looking forward to meeting Tom Brady at some point, who joined Delta Air Lines as a new Strategic Advisor. With his experience, it’s so relevant how teams and people can work together better.

CIRE: Tom certainly has teamwork chops (and the Super Bowl rings to prove it!). Please introduce yourself to our CIRE fans and friends.

SHAGUN: Hello, my name is Shagun Saluja, and I am a Senior Sales Account Executive with Delta Air Lines. In my 11+ years as part of the New York Sales team at Delta Air Lines, I have managed various corporate and agency accounts located in the tri-state area.

CIRE: Tom Brady has certainly been big news, but what else is going on at Delta that we should know about?

SHAGUN: I’m extremely proud of Delta Air Lines’ ongoing commitment to sustainability, making it a responsible choice for environmentally conscious travelers. At a team meeting in Mexico last year, I had the opportunity to meet with the business unit that develops the onboard amenity kits for our Delta One customers. Delta is partnering with the Mexico-based brand, Someone Somewhere, to develop these kits, which will deliver more sustainable kits to our passengers, but also have a positive economic impact in the Mexican community where they’re produced.

CIRE: A win/win for sure and something to be proud of. What made you want to work in the travel industry to begin with?

SHAGUN: One of the main reasons I wanted to work for an airline is that you learn so much more interacting with people from different backgrounds. When you work in the travel industry, you’re constantly meeting people from different countries. I love learning about where people came from and their culture. It’s fascinating. I think I got the curiosity gene from my father. He was an avid traveler.  Visited 120 countries. Climbed Mount Everest. Was the first Indian to visit North Pole. They told me at the Iceland visa office that I was the first Indian to visit Iceland. So, I’m trying to follow in my dad’s footsteps. I have visited 58 countries so far…59 in December with New Zealand. I’m really excited!

CIRE: New Zealand is amazing! (And so is your dad, by the way!) What’s your favorite country you’ve visited so far?

SHAGUN: Peru! Oh my god, it’s one of my favorite places. Just stunning. I went to Machu Pichu in June and was so thankful I got to go. The Sacred Valley is also beautiful. I’m a sci-fi geek and got to see the Nazca Lines near Lima. Cusco had so much going on, too…a rich, vibrant, cultural city. My husband and two kids aren’t super adventurous, but I did get them to stay a couple of nights in a lodge in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Went piranha fishing and ate the piranha we caught. It was truly an amazing experience seeing how the Inca people lived. I missed going to Lake Titicaca, so I’m going back! 

CIRE: Peru is incredible! We know you live in New York City, but that you grew up in India. Do you get back often?

SHAGUN: Home is New York City, where I have resided for the last 20 years. I grew up in New Delhi, India, and I go back every couple of months. My mom and extended family live there. I consider both New York and New Delhi as hometowns. New Delhi is a historically rich city with iconic sights such as the Qutub Minar and the Red Fort. It serves as a gateway to India’s diverse culture and gastronomy. Its vibrant markets and lively atmosphere are not something to miss. A great time to visit India is September, October, or early November because the weather is generally cooler, so you can do a lot of outdoor stuff whereas in the summer can get to 50 degrees Celsius. Close to 100!

CIRE: Tell us more about the gastronomy. We love Indian food!

SHAGUN: Delhi is definitely a foodie capital. There are all kinds of different Indian cuisines. Mughlai cuisine, which is the predominant cuisine in Delhi, is very rich. Moti Mahal, Karim’s, and Bukhara are old time favorite restaurants that I always visit when I am in Delhi. Another new favorite is the Delhi Club House, which replicates dishes from the best clubs of India. In New York, there is a restaurant called Dhamaka which is fabulous and spicy. Unapologetically spicy. But a warning, they don’t change the spice level for anyone. You get what they make. 

CIRE: Good tip! Flying to India as often as you do, what’s your strategy for those long flights?

SHAGUN: Break it up. It’s 14 hours nonstop. If I’m traveling with the kids, I find it useful to do an overnight stay in London or Paris, so it doesn’t seem that long. And that helps with the jetlag, too. It’s an 8-hour time difference from New York, so breaking it up makes a difference.

CIRE: Genius advice. Not only do you get a break, you get a break in London or Paris! Thank you, Shagun! It’s been great catching up. Enjoy your visit to New Zealand…country number 59!

CIRE Travel is a full-service travel agency headquartered in New York, NY.  Our expert corporate travel planners, honeymoon travel agents, and luxury travel planners support clients across the country and around the world.

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