He showed up a day after his flight and tried to blag an upgrade ... typical chutzpah from the ginger-haired Cockney actor who always seems to get it wrong off-screen

Because of the nature of my job I travel a lot - in fact I met my wife, Nina, in Rajasthan, where we were filming The Jungle Book. Since then we've both become real India people. Our next journey will be out there later on in the year. We're both divers too and we've dived in the Maldives a couple of times. Luckily, when you travel as an actor, you get treated ridiculously well. You get booked into the top hotels and restaurants and it's easy to get blase about it. But no one, no matter who you are, gets blase about travelling first class, because you can't believe how cool it is. I heard this story that one of the big airlines was planning to introduce a purely first- class plane, but no one wanted to fly on it. The whole point of travelling first class is that as you get on the plane, you go left and everyone else goes right. If there's no one to see you go left, what's the point? So I've travelled all over the world with work, but not had to do too much of it on a low budget. It's a very different experience from the backpacking thing, though Nina and I do know something about that kind of travel: we have travelled independently in Thailand, which was much more low-rent.

It's weird because we either travel on the worst Russian airline or BA first class - our travelling's quite schizophrenic really. Once I flew out to Russia for a job on Aeroflot. It must be about 13 years ago now. It was a nightmare. When we were in the air, the cabin crew gave the person at the front of the plane a box of apples and told him to take an apple and then pass the box over his head to the row behind him. So my travelling experiences go from that to flights where you get sushi and a Japanese chef.

Both my wife and I are quite dippy travellers. I've lost my passport so many times. There have been times when the plane leaves at 6.45pm and I'm queuing up in the Passport Office in Petty France and it's 3pm. Once, we were flying to Thailand and we thought we'd try to blag an upgrade by telling the airline that we'd just got engaged. One of the airline guys took our tickets and checked on the computer and said "Well, seeing as your flight left yesterday, let's just see if we can just get you on the plane". Nina, who was my girlfriend at the time, was in charge of the tickets, and because I'd only just met her I hadn't wanted to play the macho man and say "Look, babe, I'll take the tickets". From then on I've always checked the tickets myself. But we're as bad as each other.

I've had some dodgy times when travelling. Once, three girls and I were travelling from Rhodes to Skyros on the ferry. My mate had booked the tickets thinking the journey was only about four hours, but it turned out to take 27 hours. As we'd got deck-class tickets we couldn't go inside. Two of the girls I was with had never been abroad before and both were ginger with really fair skin so they got completely sunburnt and blistered - if you touched their knees the skin rippled right up to the thigh. Then, once, Nina and I were in a dodgy club in Bangkok and someone slipped her a jimmy in her drink, and she collapsed. Everyone thought we were smackheads and no one would help us. I managed to get her outside and sat her down against the wall with a glass of water. There was a funny moment, though, which I could only appreciate back at the hotel. Nina was slumped against the wall directly under the neon sign advertising the "Girl with Octopus" show in the club next door. She was very sick though. It was a good thing I was with her. But it's really important not to lose your bottle when you're travelling, otherwise it ruins everything and becomes a nightmare.

The thing with acting is that you might have two or three projects a year, so you have to fill those gaps in between jobs somehow. There's nothing better than jumping in a plane. In fact, the first thing I ask about a job, is not "What's the script like?" but "Where is it filming?". I love travelling and if you can do it with work it feels as though you're getting double-bubble, you know.

For me it was either acting or being an air hostess, and frankly I can't see me in the hat.

Jason Flemyng is appearing in Channel 4's six-part drama series 'Love in the 21st Century' which goes out in the second week of July.

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