Nile Rodgers: 'I know Ryanair isn't a luxury airline but I didn't expect to be treated like garbage'

Nile Rodgers: ‘I know Ryanair isn’t a luxury airline but I didn’t expect to be treated like garbage’

In non-pandemic times, I only take one holiday a year

I usually go somewhere hot and sunny like Turks and Caicos. But in general, I travel a massive amount – I had already earned a million [air] miles on three different carriers before the pandemic.

One of the most memorable places I’ve ever been to is a city called Bagan, in Myanmar

You can see temples there as far as the eye can see. I went there because a good friend of mine was dying of cancer, and I was trying to see her before she passed away. I’m not a religious guy, but for some reason going into one of the temples felt like the right thing to do. I knelt down and I prayed. Afterwards, when I called her family on the cell phone, they said that she had passed away about two hours before I arrived in Bagan. 

For a perfect holiday, I need sunshine, a beach and nice food

In Turks and Caicos, I get all of that plus some dear friends who live there. When the Amanyara resort was first built,  I was involved with the original deal. 

I certainly wasn’t roughing it when I skied quite a bit earlier on in my life

I went skiing in St Moritz. I also skied in Aspen and Telluride. I used to go often to Beaver Creek with Oprah Winfrey, and President Ford would be there with us a lot. In that part of Colorado, there are many resorts, so whenever we wanted to get away from the super craziness of Aspen, we would go to the other mountains.

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St Moritz, Switzerland

Credit: Getty Images

I’ve been to many relaxing destinations like St Martin  and St Bart’s in the Caribbean where I would just snorkel

I used to go to Thailand and Phuket Island. I would also go to Koh Phi Phi, but this was before the horrible tsunami, in which  I actually lost friends.   

I used to own a 100-ft yacht and I would typically go down to the Caribbean

One summer I actually had it transported to the Med. I went to a lot of the Greek islands, like Patmos and places like that, that were a little bit off the beaten path. We once went all the way around the bottom of Italy, and then up the Adriatic coast

I”m a naturally curious person and I love finding out about people and their lives

So wherever I am, honestly, I wind up having a good time. 

My favourite city would probably be London

It’s one of the best cities for me to work and work is a huge part of my life. Many of my good friends have fantastic home studios where I go to create sometimes, in addition to my home base at Abbey Road. I like different parts of the city for different things – the West End for the vibe, the shops and the restaurants; the East, which is starting to get really cool. The year before last, we had two concert dates at the O2 arena, which was amazing. 

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Patmos, Greece

Credit: Getty Images

My worst travel experience was when I flew with Ryanair from Ibiza to Manchester after doing a show

I had just had a cancer operation and I was really poorly, but I wanted to honour my contract because I’m so devoted to work. I got on the plane, and I’m accustomed to a certain amount  of courtesy, you see – water handouts, things like that. I knew that Ryanair wasn’t a luxury airline, but still, you don’t want to be treated like garbage. I needed water to take my medication, but for some reason my credit card didn’t work in their card machine. And if I didn’t buy a bottle, they wouldn’t give me the water that I needed to take my medication. So the passenger next to me had to buy the water for me because I didn’t have any cash. 

I’ve recorded on almost every continent, and I’ve written everywhere so I carry the music with me

I can’t say that I’d be more inspired to create if I were in some beautiful paradise or at Abbey Road where I work now, which is amazing, admittedly. Of course, I feel the vibe of The Beatles. I want to say that that has some magical influence on me, but probably that’s because all musicians are really superstitious like that. Like when you record at Electric Lady Studios in New York, it’s all about Jimi Hendrix. 

I don’t do super luxury travel unless it is necessary

Like when my mum was passing away, I flew private. But that’s not who I am now. I will just fly business class. I love JetBlue, which is an economy carrier. 

On my bucket list is The Paranal Observatory in Chile, which has the world’s largest telescopes

They have to be in the middle of nowhere. Its location is really desolate and barren so there’s no light pollution. 

I would love to go into space

I haven’t booked a ticket yet but I think that I will be a passenger on SpaceX before I die. I’m almost certain of it. 

Interview by Roz Lewis

Nile Rodgers has become the world’s first voice-interactive portrait, allowing fans to ask him anything and receive answers in real-time. View the experience at