Kelly Hansen Writes New York Times Article on Travel!

Even a Rock Star Has to Be Careful
Published: February 25, 2013

I HAVE flown so much that most of my trips are routine. Im either off to a concert or coming back from one. Im actually very Zen-like when I fly. I just accept the delays since theres nothing I can do about it. But all the travel is great because I love seeing new places and meeting new people. Or, sometimes, seeing people Ive known for a long time.

I was going from Minneapolis back to Los Angeles and I was standing at the gate checking e-mails when someone walked up to me and grabbed my arm. It was my girlfriend from when I was 17 years old, who happens to be a flight attendant. That was a mind blower.

Sometimes people recognize me. But what generally happens is if were traveling in a group, passengers might start to talk among themselves, wondering who we are. Thats kind of fun because usually they know all of our songs.

If Im traveling alone, I dont mind talking to seatmates, but Id sooner just enjoy the flight. If someone asks me what I do, I generally reply, Im in music. But if they ask what band, I say Foreigner. Either people break into a smile, or they say, You mean, Foreigner, Foreigner? I always want to say, No, the other Foreigner. But I dont.

A lot of times the crew knows who we are, and word spreads that way. There was one flight where the attendants must have told the pilots. A little while into the flight, the pilots came over the P.A. system, and they just started singing a medley of Foreigner songs, including Feels Like The First Time and Hot Blooded. Everyone got a good laugh. I wasnt worried about my day job. I thought as singers they made great pilots.

I have a lot of respect for the job they do. I had a flight coming into Los Angeles and the pilot came on and said that because of a questionable oil-pressure reading, he was going to have to shut down the left engine scratch that, right engine. Even though Im not a nervous flier, I was in disbelief. And then I thought about it for a minute, and realized this guy was so into the zone of dealing with a problem, that he just misspoke. We landed without incident, and thats when youre really grateful for a good pilot.

As a vocalist Ive resigned myself to the fact that my throat has its own set of demands. My throat is a diva. My No. 1 tip for travel is a scarf. Everyone who has traveled with me knows that I call my scarf the Great Equalizer because it levels the temperature when you go from air conditioning to a hot Jetway, both of which can affect my voice.

My current favorite is a lightweight black scarf that works particularly well for warm-weather travel. I never thought Id have a summer scarf, but I do. When I get on the plane and its scorching hot, I unwrap it. But when that big tin can hits 35,000 feet, it usually gets cold, so I wrap it around my neck. But there are other benefits which are equally, if not more, valuable.

There are many times that I might sleep on a plane, either on purpose or by accident. Now remember, Im a lead singer, and Im a little vain and self-conscious. I dont want to fall asleep and have my mouth hanging open for people to count my fillings. So with this summer scarf, I can pull one thin layer up over my nose and go to sleep knowing Im safe from most embarrassment, including YouTube.

By Kelly Hansen, as told to Joan Raymond. E-mail: joan.raymond@nytimes.com.

A version of this article appeared in print on February 26, 2013, on page B6 of the New York edition with the headline: Even a Rock Star Has to Be Careful.