The captain speaking

Thought you knew everything there was to know about John Travolta? We’ve been following him around Dubai the past week to sniff out a few more trivia truffles.

The American actor and Qantas ambassador John Travolta during his recent visit to Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
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In case you haven’t heard, John Travolta last week joined the growing list of celebrities to have popped by Dubai to say something nice about the architecture. Usually, ol’ Danny Zuko would have flown here himself in his very own Boeing 707, but this time he chose to take a Qantas A380 to help promote the airline’s recent partnership with Qantas (and not at all to get a nice holiday for himself, his sister and his son).

Given that he’s been a somewhat familiar face (albeit one with an increasingly terrifying goatee) on the silver screen for several decades, you might think you know all there is to know about Travolta. But we managed to sniff out a few more factual nuggets about everyone’s favourite disco-dancing 1970s heart-throb.

He wouldn’t make the greatest neighbour

Famous for having a mansion in Florida that has its own private runway and control tower, Travolta has indicated he might like to copy that idea with a property in the UAE. “If I ever move here that would be the way to do it. To go from one house to another with a runway would be awesome,” he said.

He can make grown adults cry

Travolta might be a long way from his hip-shaking Tony Manero days, but it seems he still has the ability to stir the emotions of women in his vicinity. After his press conference a female journalist was spotted with tears down her cheeks. “I feel so stupid, but I can’t help it,” she was overheard saying. What power!

He likes to support airline code-sharing arrangements

And who doesn’t! Having heard about the link-up between Emirates and Qantas (he already works with Qantas as an “ambassador-at-large”, as well as flying one of its old 707s), he admitted he was so keen to visit he “bullied” his way to Dubai. “I said: ‘OK, I need to be there. That part of the world hasn’t seen me in person and I could help promote this partnership very well,’” he told reporters. Anyone who wasn’t previously aware of the arrangement between the two airlines, which came into effect in April, surely now is.

He reacts to warmth

Much like those heat sensitive Global Hypercolor T-shirts that were briefly popular in the early 1990s, Travolta says he responds to warmth in anybody. “But I love warmth in women,” he told an audience in Dubai. “The women here are very beautiful, there’s no doubt about that. I like women who like men like me.” He also said that in Dubai there was a “warmth that I have already discovered that is unique”, but he may just have been standing outside for a bit.

He has had the lives of celebrities in his hand

Not content with flying himself and his family around the world on his fleet of planes, Travolta has also played pilot to a number of well-known figures since he first gained his licence back in 1974. “I flew Marlon Brando from Mexico City to Los Angeles. I flew Muhammad Ali when I was very young. I flew Barbra Streisand and her husband on their honeymoon to the Caribbean,” he said. But did they get to visit the cockpit and say hello?

He wants to make a film here, of course

Following in the footsteps of almost every movie star who visits Dubai, Travolta has revealed that he would “love” to make a film in the emirate, pointing out its “futuristic” appearance. “It’s a whole other universe here, so if you needed to give that illusion in a movie, there’s nowhere else in the world that you would come,” he said. At least he’s already made Battlefield Earth.