25 November 2008

Flying With Fish Has Moved To BoardingArea.com!

Web: www.comeflywithfish.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

25/11/2008 – Flying With Fish Has Moved To BoardingArea.com!

For the past two years Flying With Fish has floated along on Blogger. Blogger has been a good home, however today as the tide rolls in Flying With Fish has moved to swim among a new school of flyers.

As of today Flying With Fish has swum over to BoardingArea. Don't worry; you'll still be able to float on by at www.flyingwithfish.com

The old links to posts will remain available on the old blog, so no need to change anything. For those of you who have Flying With Fish bookmarked, or on an RSS Feed, please change the direct URL to : http://boardingarea.com/blogs/flyingwithfish/

How does moving Flying With Fish over to BoardingArea improve your experience as a reader? You'll have easy access many other fantastic blogs focused on commercial air travel. While Flying With Fish is the only blog frequently discussing topics relevant to travelling photographers, the other blogs are well written, interesting and helpful to anyone flying for work or pleasure.

As a traveler, I personally enjoy reading The Cranky Flier blog.

Thanks for your support of Flying With Fish as it grew in its old home and thank you for your continued support as we move to a new home at BoardingArea.

I hope to get all settled in shortly, and look forward to continuing to write Flying With Fish from its new home.

Happy Flying!


24 November 2008

Are Americans The Most Annoying Travelers? Recent Survey Says Yes!

Web: www.stevenfrischling.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

24/11/2008 – Are Americans The Most Annoying Travelers? Recent Survey Says Yes!

Having just read a recent survey of 8,931 travelers, by TripAdvisor.com, that says 18% of those surveyed see Americans as the most annoying travellers in the word, I’m not sure if I am offended, or if I agree.

I tend to want to agree, having watched Americans around the world, however I am an American traveller so I want to be offended.

Putting my personal opinions aside, I found the survey quite interesting. I happen to agree with much of the survey, although I can't fathom how Emiratees even made the Top 10 list. Of all the travelers around the world I have watched, while traveling around the world, I can think of quite a few nationalities of travellers who far surpass Emiratee travellers for the Top 10 List.

Below is the break down TripAdvisor.com's Top 10 Most Annoying Travellers

#01 - Americans @ 18%
#02 - French @ 12%
#03 - Germans @ 10%
#04 - British @ 6%
#05 - Chinese @ 6%
#06 - Russians @ 5%
#07 - Japanese @ 5%
#08 - Italians @ 5%
#09 - Indians @ 2%
#10 - Emiratees @1%

If you find this list accurate let me know. If you find this list offensive, e-mail TripAdvisor.com directly.....I hate nothing to do with this survey.

Happy Flying!

Taking To The Skies For Thanksgiving? Checkout AeroChannel.com

Web: www.stevenfrischling.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

24/11/2008 – Taking To The Skies For Thanksgiving? Checkout AeroChannel.com

Will you be one of the 4,500,000 people taking to the skies this coming Thanksgiving Weekend? If you are, be sure to track your travel with AeroChannel.com

AeroChannel's complete airport information, including traffic, parking, check-in times, security wait times and gate information, creates a simple web site solution for travelers throughout the United States. When traveling most travelers must check multiple web sites to access this information, while AeroChannel keeps all the info in one user-friendly location online.

Away from your laptop and searching AeroChannel from your mobile phone? No problem, visit www.aero2go.com

For travelers who'd like simple updates being sent to their mobile devices, AeroChannel also offers user-friendly options such "Keep Me Updated." This feature allows you to look up information and have updated information sent to you as it becomes available.

So before you hear out to the airport to catch your flight, or pick up people up at the airport head on over to www.aerochannel.com from your computer or www.aero2go.com from your mobile phone.

Have A Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Flying!

20 November 2008

Canadian Supreme Court Rules 'Obese' Passengers Entitled To Two Seats For A Single Fare

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

20/11/2008 – Canadian Supreme Court Rules 'Obese' Passengers Entitled To Two Seats For A Single Fare

Canada's Supreme Court has ruled that obese passengers are entitled to two seats, rather than a single seat, for the cost of a single seat. This ruling set forth by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), and upheld by the Canadian Supreme Court, states that the two seats must be provided for those who are 'functionally disabled by obesity."

The ruling by the Canadian Supreme Court, and the CTA, fails to address a significant concern, the airlines' loss of a revenue seat. Airlines run on very thin margins, and on high yield routes, the forfeiting of a revenue seat can cost the airline can be costly.

If the ruling that 'functionally obese passengers' are entitled to two seats is to be enforced, a series of guidelines must be put into place. These guidelines must dictate either a height-to-weight ratio, or some guideline stating the circumference of the passenger to qualify as 'functionally disabled by obesity.' If hard guidelines are not in place, anyone is free to state they are obese, and in turn airline are free to deny this newly upheld passengers right in Canada.

The ruling by Canada's Supreme Court does not address how this ruling will affect passengers flying on connecting code-share flights.

When booking a flight, will passengers be required to declare that they are obese at the time of booking? What protocol will be established for granting a second seat to obese passengers on full and oversold flights? Will the obese passenger be bumped? Will another passenger be forced to be bumped? Airlines needs to establish a protocol for passengers flying on Embraer 135/145, or other aircraft with 1-and-2 seating when their seating rights disrupts parties traveling together, seeking the two seats together.

Additionally, this ruling does not take into account passengers who are unable to fit into business class seats. Of course the arm rests in business class seats do not go up, confining passengers to a single seat. Since this is not addressed in the CTA ruling, or the ruling upheld by Canadian Supreme Court, it is something that may still be demanded by those who qualify as 'functionally disabled by obesity.'

Overall I think this ruling will eventually be heard in the courts again, despite the Court's decision to not hear the new appeal. The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has already previously rejected by the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal.

Until concrete guidelines are set in place, this topic will come up and be challenged regularly by the airlines in Canada and by the passengers who fly to, and through, Canada.

Happy Flying!

iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Packing

Web: www.stevenfrischling.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

20/11/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Packing

Packing for a one day trip or a one-week trip is the same for me. I am slow, methodical and spent a considerable amount of time compiling what I need. Once I have assembled everything in front of me I spent an hour mumbling incoherently to myself as I remove items, add items and pack everything in my bag(s).

Departing is somewhat easy; it is the return that can be stressful. At the end of a short business trip, an assignment or a long vacation, travelers tend to pack at the last minute. Last minute packing often causes people to be forgetful and leave items behind.....this is where the iPhone 'App' Of The Week "Packing" comes in very handy.

Packing is simple to use. You set up a packing list for yourself. You add items to the list. As you pack those items you place a check mark next to them. Could it get any simpler?

Since downloading Packing I have used it to track a variety of packing situation. Since entering my 'Day Pack - Run Kit' I have chosen to permanently leave this packing list in my iPhone, as it is a fairly constant kit.

Packing allows you to view pre-created Sample Packing Lists, as well as create a list from a template, or creates lists from scratch. As a photographer, none of my packing set ups match any sample lists or templates, so I have been creating lists from scratch simply and quickly.

Using Packing is simple in practice. As I begin to put my gear and personal items away I take out my iPhone, open Packing, and scroll down my list checking off everything I have stowed away

Best of all for all travelers, the Packing 'App' is easy, functional, hard to lose (unless you lose your iPhone), not prone to bad handwriting, and can be easily edited.

Next time you sit down to print out your print-at-home boarding pass also take a moment to download Packing from the iTunes App Store.

Below are five screen shots of Packing (typos and all...)

Happy Flying!
--Click Images Below To Enlarge--

Contest Winner Of The Mountainsmith Amp

Web: www.comeflywithfish.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

20/11/2008 – Contest Winner Of The Mountainsmith Amp

On Monday, the 17th of November, Flying With Fish began a three-day contest to win a Mountainsmith Amp mobile phone holster.

This contest was in two parts.

The first part asked those who entered to answer what the Acronym 'Qantas' stood for. Nearly everyone who answered got this question correct, however six people did manage to find the incorrect answer through using search engines.

The correct answer is: Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd.

The second part of the contest was a Bonus Question. This Bonus Question allowed for the first person to properly answer what colours Pan Am used to print the airline's Clipper Cargo 'Press Luggage' tags would automatically win the contest.

Not one person got the Bonus Question correct. Some people were in the ballpark. Most people responded with 'blue & white' and one person answered the following.

"My guess is that the Clipper Cargo tags used some of the following colors, blue, white, black, green, yellow, orange, red, purple"

While this answer was tossed out, the answer did have the three colours used to make up the Pan Am tags.

So what is the correct answer? The Pan Am Cargo Clipper 'Press Luggage' tags are Red, Black & White.

..........so who wins the Mountainsmith Amp mobile phone holster?

The winner is Michael Kramer of the Red Tail Arabian's horse farm. Michael won by a random drawing, however as chance would have it, Michael had the closest answer for the Pan Am tags.

Below is a photo of my Pan Am Clipper Cargo "Press" tag for luggage. The tag is circa September 1965.

Happy Flying!
--Click Images To Enlarge--

19 November 2008

New TSA Public Service Push To Educate Travelers

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

19/11/2008 – New TSA Public Service Push To Educate Travelers

This morning I received an e-mail from the Ad Council and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regarding the agency's new "Why?" Campaign. Normally I skip these e-mails, however this was not only addressed to me personally, but the people at the TSA and the Ad Council have clearly read Flying With Fish, so I gave it a read.

Once I finished the e-mail I spent some time speaking with both the Ad Council and the TSA regarding the new campaign, and while I may disagree with a reasoning behind a number of the TSA's policies, I do see the value in the "Why?" Campaign. Why do I see the value in the "Why?" Campaign? Because at its core it is centered around educating inexperienced flyers navigate the TSA airport security checkpoint process. When passenger are informed and ready they flow more easily through the checkpoint with less stress, more efficiency and this speeds up the process for everyone.

So once I decided that participating in the "Why?" Campaign was a good idea, I fired off the information to the folks at AeroChannel.com, watched the three TSA supplied videos and decided I'd go about promoting the education of passengers in my own way.

The "Why?" Campaign focuses on three important areas
- Why ID?
- Why Shoes?
- Why 3oz liquid limit?

Having spent a significant amount of time studying airport security I do not agree with the actual reasoning behind the three "Why?" questions, however once you have arrived at the airport, this is not the time to disagree. Once you have entered the TSA screening checkpoint you either follow the established rules or you do not fly. If you do disagree with the policy in place, you need to contact the TSA Chief Kip Hawley at Kip.Hawley@dhs.gov, or your representatives in the House & Senate.

.......anyway, what are the basics everyone needs to know? Here they are

1) When flying, all adult passengers must present a valid government issued photo identification. This ID may is usually your drivers license or your passport (If you have a "Passport Card" some TSA check points are know to reject this as a form of ID for some reason). Having your identification out and ready with your boarding card as you approach the TSA ID Checker podium will allow you to continue moving quickly rather than being forced to stop and retrieve your ID

2) When you approach the walk through metal detector (WTMD) you need to remove your shoes and place them through the X-Ray. Ideally you want to remove your shoes at the start of the baggage table as you pick up the bins to place your personal items through the X-Ray. I often remove my shoes when I am 2 or 3 people away from the bin table, then place my shoes in the first bin through the X-Raw along with my jacket/vest/sweat shirt. Having your shoes off and ready speeds up the process for you, the while line, and eliminates the delay of a TSA screener forcing you to get a bin and holding up the whole line.

3) The TSA requirement for liquids is "3-1-1." The "3-1-1" stands for 3oz maximum per liquid (100ml is also acceptable), placed in a single 1-quart clear plastic bag, per 1 passenger. Once you approach the X-Ray make sure your 3-1-1 bag is out and visible. I place mine on top of my shoes or jacket when I push my first bin through the x-ray.

Not on the TSA "Why?" Campaign list is your laptop and other select large electronics being required to be out and placed separately in a bin at the X-Ray. If you are flying with a laptop computer, CPAP breathing machine, full-size DVD player, full-size video game console (this does include a Wii) or a video camera that uses video cassettes, you must have these items out of their bags and placed individually in a bin for screening at the X-Ray machine.

Should you be in an airport that is employing the TSA Self-Select "Diamond Lanes" be sure to pick the lane appropriate to your skill level as a traveler. If you are a novice do not enter the expert lane because it looks shorter. If you are traveling with kids, please use the lane designated for use by families, rather than entering another lane. Using the proper lanes designed for various skill levels of travelers will reduce everyone's stress and allow the security checkpoint lanes to flow smoothly.

If you are unfamiliar with the TSA Self Select 'Diamond Lanes' please read here:8/05/2008 - New TSA "Self Select" Security Lanes - The Good & The Bad

For travelers who are completely unfamiliar with transitioning through airport security, I encourage you to read the following entry on Flying With Fish :2/07/2008 - Anatomy Of An Airport Security Checkpoint

.....and lastly, because thieves love travelers flying during the holidays please read this before heading to the airport: 21/05/2008 - Airport Security Screening System : Get Through Security With Ease & Safety

You can also watch me demonstrate some techniques for minimizing becoming the target of an airport thief here: Fish On Good Morning America

Following the above information will make your trip through airport security, quicker, easier and stress free.

……..on a side note, the TSA has chosen to have these three videos played on the CNN Airport Network televisions in airports throughout the United States. This is an interesting choice, given that CNN Airport Network TVs exist exclusively ‘post-security,’ usually in the gate area. This means that the three informational videos on proper procedures for crossing a TSA security checkpoint will be shown after passengers have already crossed through the TSA security checkpoint.

Below are the three TSA public service announcement videos.

Happy Flying!
--Click Images Below To Begin Each Video--

TSA - Why You Must Show ID

TSA - Why You Must Remove Your Shoes

TSA - Why Your Liquids Must Be 3oz Or Less

18 November 2008

GreenerPhotography.org : Photographers Working To Preserve The Environment

Web: www.stevenfrischling.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

18/11/2008 – GreenerPhotography.org : Photographers Working To Preserve The Environment

A topic frequently discussed on Flying With Fish is reducing your carbon footprint. This site has discussed the purchasing or carbon offsets, the choice to 'downgrade' rental cars on the road to save fuel, and the use of bags made from recycled materials.

This morning I was introduced to Greener Photography (www.greenerphotography.org), a new forming organization that should be visited, and supported in its goals. Greener Photography's goals are to encourage photographers to 'Consider. Conserve. Connect.' By taking steps to operate in a more environmentally friendly way as a photographers, business, people in our daily lives, we can help the one world we share and all live in.

If you're a photographer and you'd like to help support the preservation of our environment, the only global environment we'll ever have.........go visit www.greenerphotography.org

Happy Flying!

17 November 2008

Euro-Hop Travel Photography Boot Camp Details Announced!

Web: www.comeflywithfish.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

17/11/2008 – Euro-Hop Travel Photography Boot Camp Details Announced!

Photographers dream of seeing the world through their lens. Being a photographer on the road is exciting, it is an adventure. Traveling as a photographer is also a challenge!

The Euro-Hop Boot Camp transforms your excitement and sense of adventure as a photographer into a hand on, in-the-field, learning experience. This Boot Camp will maximize your knowledge, and further your skills as both a photographer and a traveller on the road.

Few places on Earth can rival Europe's history, architecture and proximity of world class cities. Europe is the perfect location to learn how to travel effectively, moving through a new historic city, in five different countries, in five consecutive days.

The Euro-Hop Boot Camp is designed to teach photographers of all skill levels a wide range of skills for traveling as a photographer. Going into this Boot Camp there will be significant challenges to overcome.

Due to the pace of travel,participants may only bring what they can carry on their back while shooting. There will be no checked luggage, and immediately upon arrival in each city we'll head straight into the city to begin shooting. While working on the ground there will be language barriers and jet lag issues that must be overcome. Throughout the Boot Camp everyone will learn to work outside of their personal comfort zone, to relax, open their eyes, and embrace the challenges that await them.

Your instruction will begin long before we board the first flight. Prior to our departure each participant will receive personal instruction on packing, gear selection, and overcoming the obstacles that wait for them during the Euro-Hop Boot Camp.

All participants in the Get Up & Fly Boot Camp will receive a Mountainsmith bag, selected by Fish, courtesy of Mountainsmith.

-- When is the Boot Camp?

The Euro-Hop Boot Camp is scheduled to depart the evening of February 7th and return on the afternoon of February 13th.

-- Where does the Euro-Hop Boot Camp depart from and return to?

The Euro-Hop Boot Camp will depart from and return to New York’s JFK International Airport

-- Where are we headed? Is there an itinerary?

The following is the current scheduled travel & shooting itinerary:

February 7th - Depart New York's JFK International Airport for Amsterdam
February 8th - Amsterdam
February 9th - Stockholm
February 10th - Frankfurt
February 11th - Prague
February 12th - Paris
February 13th - Depart Paris for New York's JFK International Airport
(any city may be swapped for a different city due to airline schedule changes)

-- What does the Euro-Hop Boot Camp cost?

The cost of the Euro-Hop Boot Camp is US$3,500.

The US$3,500 cost includes round trip airfare between New York-&-Amsterdam/Paris-&-New York; all intra-Europe flights, additionally all taxes associated with air travel are included this fee. Travel is expected to be on SkyTeam Alliance airlines, however this is subject to change due to flight schedules.

-- Are food and lodging covered in this cost?

Lodging is not covered and food are not covered. Once there is a final head count, tourist class hotels will be booked and split between 2 or 3 participants per room. A rough estimate will be US$100 per night for lodging.

Any questions? Drop me an e-mail at fish@flyingwithfish.com
Please Do Not Leave Answers In The Comments Section!

To visit the other Flying With Fish Travel Photography Boot Camps visit: www.comeflywithfish.com

Happy Flying!

CONTEST! : Win A Free Mountainsmith Amp

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

17/11/2008 – CONTEST! : Win A Free Mountainsmith Amp

A little less than two weeks ago I wrote about the Mountainsmith Amp mobile phone holster. In this post on Flying With Fish I also mentioned my plans to stockpile a few Amps, because they are scheduled to be removed from the product line in the near future.

Since I have loved using the Mountainsmith Amp with both my iPhone and my Motorola Razr, I've decided to give a brand spanking new Amp away. This give away is from Flying With Fish, not Mountainsmith (although they are welcome to kick in a few extras if they feel like it). Why am I giving one of mine away? Because I'm sure whoever gets the Amp will love it also both at home and on the road.

The contest to receive the Mountainsmith Amp is simple.....in two parts

Part 1: You must correctly answer this question - What is the name 'Qantas' an acronym for? (Careful, two websites that pop up when you Google this answer have the incorrect answer). Those who have submitted the correct answer will have their names entered into random drawing two days from now, on the evening of Wednesday November 19th.

Part 2: As a bonus question, the first reader of Flying With Fish who can correctly tell me the colours that Pan Am used to print their "Press Luggage" tags in the 1950 and 1960s, you'll jump the line and automatically win the Mountainsmith Amp.

.....here is a hint, the 'Press Luggage' tags were marked as "Clipper Cargo"

Have the answers? Drop me an e-mail at fish@flyingwithfish.com

For more info on the Mountainsmith Amp, read this post :
6/11/2008 – Mountainsmith Amp : A Phone Holster For People On The Run

Happy Flying!

16 November 2008

16/11/2008 – The Weekly Round Up : Travel Photography Boot Camps : Gura Gear Kiboko Photo Backpack : Backing Up On The Road 101 : InsideTrip.com

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

16/11/2008 – The Weekly Round Up : Travel Photography Boot Camps : Gura Gear Kiboko Photo Backpack : Backing Up On The Road 101 : InsideTrip.com

This is has been a somewhat short week on Flying With Fish. I've been tied with other projects. Some that will hopefully be useful to photographers and others that should be useful for frequent flyers.........if your frequent flying photographer you may benefit all around.

For those of you looking for an whirlwind educational adventure shooting photos in five wonderful European cities, be sure to check www.comeflywithfish.com, then details for the Euro-Hop Boot Camp are released.

Looking for regularly updated information related to traveling as a photographer or just traveling in general? Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/flyingwithfish

So where did this week begin? It began with the relaunch of the Flying With Fish No-Jet-Lag Travel Photography Boot Camps, at www.comeflywithfish.com. Currently there are two Boot Camps on the site with the third one being posted tomorrow, the 17th of November. For more information visit : 10/11/2008 – New Travel Photography Boot Camps Released On Come Fly With Fish!

Photographers are always searching for the ideal camera bag. While there is never an ideal camera bag, as different situations require different bags, this week I was one of the first people to receive the new Gura Gear Kiboko backpack. Having taken the Gura Gear Backpack apart a few times, stocking it with a few potential sets ups, and hauling it around for the week, I can only say "WOW!" While this backpack does not hold a laptop like many others, the bag is wonderfully designed, ergonomic, extremely light and well planned out. To read more about the Gura Gear Kiboko and see detailed photos of the backpack check out this post: 11/11/2008 – Gura Gear Kiboko Photo Backpack : A First Look At A Fantastic Bag

Working on the road poses many logistical problems. One of these problems is backing up date while on the road. Laptops and external hard drives are prone to impact damage and water damage. So what do you do to keep your data secure? Find out here: 12/11/2008 – Backing Data Up On The Road 101 : Part 1

Have you ever wanted to easily book your flights based on on-time statistics? Traveling can be stressful and knowing the likelihood you'll arrive on-time can be an important part of your travel logistics. InsideTrip.com, while in the Beta Stage, is turning into a fantastic online booking tool for those seeking detailed information on flights before they book them. For more information on what InsideTrip.com can offer business travelers searching for flights, click here: 13/11/2008 – InsideTrip.com : Booking Your Flights Based On On-Time Statistics

...............and for those of you looking to make an impulse vacation purchase, Qantas is offering a very limited 2-for-1 special on select flights! This sale ends 12:midnight on the 17th of November 'your local time' (their web site reads your IP and knows where you are). For more details visit www.qantas.com

Happy Flying!

13 November 2008

InsideTrip.com : Booking Your Flights Based On On-Time Statistics

Web: www.comeflywithfish.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

13/11/2008 – InsideTrip.com : Booking Your Flights Based On On-Time Statistics

Very often when I choose my flight schedule I try and find out a flight's on-time performance. In the past finding much of this information required me to use two or three web sites. While gathering this information is important, it could be cumbersome.

Using a new web site InsideTrip (www.insidetrip.com), which is still in its 'Beta Stage,' I am now able to have this information easily at my fingertips. Not only does InsideTrip show display the on-time statistics, it also displays the average security wait times for the flight, the load factor of the flight, and other valuable information.

Why is knowing the on-time statistics of flights so important to me? This information allows me to make educated decisions on the creation of complex itineraries, with minimal unnecessary time on the ground.

Obviously there are many unexpected factors that can come into play, such as weather, accidents, the occasional Union going on strike in Europe, but what I am looking for is the overall performance of the flight.

While looking up an itinerary for a business traveler in New York, who only needs 2 hours in Central London, this information allows me to quickly create a very short trip for this flyer. This business traveler will be flying between New York's JFK to London Heathrow (LHR) on November 24th, returning on the afternoon of November 25th. The following is the information gathered for this trip on InsideTrip in just under 45 seconds:

Date: 11/24/2008
Flight: Virgin Atlantic/VS 4
Depart: New York/JFK (JFK)@ 6:10pm EST
Arrive: London/Heathrow (LHR) @ 6:20am GMT
Travel Time: 7hrs 10min
On-time States: Fairly Reliable / 70% On-Time
Security Wait: 8 minutes average
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600 (346)
Legroom: 55" (Business Class)
Average Age of Fleet: 3 Years
Load Factor: Fairly Full / 82%

Date: 11/25/2008
Flight: Virgin Atlantic/VS 45
Depart: London/Heathrow (LHR) @ 2:00pm GMT
Arrive: New York/JFK (JFK) @ 5:05pm EST
Travel Time: 8hrs 05min
On-time States: Less Reliable / 49% On-Time
Security Wait: n/a
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600 (346)
Legroom: 55" (Business Class)
Average Age of Fleet: 3 Years
Load Factor: Fairly Full / 82%

With this information found on InsideTrip, in under 45 seconds, I am fairly certain my client can get into Central London by 8:30am via the Heathrow Express and get back to Heathrow by 11:30am to check in, via the Heathrow Express.

While the return flight is only on-time 49% of the time, for this itinerary, what is most important is that the JFK-LHR flight is on-time 70% of the time (using other resources to view the last 10 days of actual departure/arrival times I can see that even if the flight is an hour late, this flyer should still be safe to get to their meeting by 8:30am GMT)

So, next time you're checking your flights, why not head over to www.insidetrip.com and check out this information for yourself.

Happy Flying!

12 November 2008

Backing Data Up On The Road 101 : Part 1

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

12/11/2008 – Backing Data Up On The Road 101 : Part 1

Working on the road has many challenges. One challenge is backing up your critical data as it is produced. When on the road the unexpected can happen and sometimes the unexpected can be devastating to your work and your data.

When on the road I generally employ two different back-ups to my work daily (or when the opportunity presents its self). In this entry of "Backing Up On the Road 101” I am only going to discuss the simplest, least expensive and most secure way to ensure your data survives disaster.

What is this "magic solution?" Simple, it is using solid-state USB Flash Drives. The capacity of the USB Flash Drives is increasing while the prices have been steadily dropping over the last few years. With 16gb USB Flash Drives now readily available for under US$50.00, and 32gb USB Flash Drives coming in at under US$100.00, backing up critical data on the road is pocket sized and cost effective.

So what makes USB Flash Drives ideal for secure data backup?

For starters the drive is sold-state. Unlike your laptop (well most laptops) and external hard drive, a USB Flash Drive has no moving parts. By using solid-state memory if your flash drives suffers an impact, there is a very minimal chance you'll lose any data. It is actually difficult to break most USB Flash-Drives through normal use (and even dropping them from two floors up while bored at 2:00am in an airport to see if the USB Flash-Drive can survive the impact).

USB Flash-Drives are sub-pocket sized. These drives are often called 'thumb drives' because they are about the same size an adult's thumb. When packing it is very easy to toss half-a-dozen USB Flash Drives in your bag without taking up any space. I toss mine in a small pouch that carries my CF Card reader, USB cords and some other travel-technology basics.

Since USB Flash-Drives are solid-state, and have no moving parts, they require no external power. When you want to transfer your data you can do it anywhere. You just plug the Flash-Drive in and transfer your data. As an added bonus, USB Flash-Drives also requires very little power from your computer to power them. This makes life easy when working in an area with limited electrical outlet access.

The real security of storing data in a USB Flash-Drive is noticed when working in potentially adverse conditions that involve equipment getting wet, such as sitting at the bar in the airport (I don't drink, but I do like buffalo wings & salad, which can usually be found at any airport bar)........or covering a hurricane. It is nice to know that it is virtually impossible to drown a USB Flash-Drive. I have accidentally dropped a USB Flash-Drive into water and fun my Compact Flash Cards through the washer and never lost any data. Should your hard drive get drenched, chances are you killed your hard drive. Should you get your USB Flash-Drive wet, you simply (carefully) dry it out. Once dried out, you insert it into the USB port and recover your data.

There is a downside to USB Flash-Drives. USB Flash-Drives are much slower than mechanical hard drives. You will experience this speed difference when uploading and downloading data. While the speed difference is significant, the positives significantly outweigh the negatives, and the security of using a USB Flash-Drive is ideal on the road.

Below is a photo of one of my USB Flash-Drives working with my Apple 13" MacBook

Happy Flying!
--Click Images Below To Enlarge Them--

11 November 2008

Gura Gear Kiboko Photo Backpack : A First Look At A Fantastic Bag

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

11/11/2008 – Gura Gear Kiboko Photo Backpack : A First Look At A Fantastic Bag

If you're a photographer you've had at least one day you can recall waiting by the door for the FedEx/UPS/DHL truck to arrive at your door. You spend your morning checking your tracking number online and when the box arrives it feels like the First Night of Chanukah (or Christmas, or your birthday morning, etc etc, etc).

Yesterday was one of those days of anticipation as I awaited the arrival of the Gura Gear Kiboko photo backpack. The Gura Gear web site was just launched a mere 7 days before the bag arrived, on the 7th of November, so if you're reading this scratching your head saying "What's Gura Gear?" I'm not surprised.

Gura Gear is the creation of wildlife and safari photographer Andy Biggs. The genesis of this bag was simple: to create a highly functional, extremely comfortable, international airline carry-on compliant and extremely light weight bag to carry Andy's long glass for travel to and from safaris in Africa.

The weight and size of this bag were really my primary draw to the bag. Weighing in at just under 4-pounds (1.8kg), while still having the maximum international carry-on size dimensions, this bag is more than half-the-weight of the Think Tank Airport Addicted, which is roughly the same dimensions as the Kiboko.

Picking the Kiboko up empty I could immediately feel the difference in weight between it, and my much loved, used, traveled and abused, Think Tank Airport Addicted (which has logged at least 300,000 flying miles with me on three continents). This bag is almost like lifting air.

When you receive a Gura Gear Kiboko bag the first think you notice is that there are no straps. The second think you'll probably notice is a full-page sheet of instructions telling you were to find the straps and how to use them. They are easy to locate, simple to set up in a few seconds and the bags ingenious design for stowing the straps when not in use is brilliant. The ability to secure the straps in the fashion designed for the Kiboko is great when placing a bag under the seat in front of you, in the overhead, or when tossing it on the baggage trolley walking through the airports.

Once you have the bag open you'll notice there are two separate main compartments to the bag, rather than one large compartment. For my purposes, this is a great design to separate my gear. Andy designed this bag for use with long lenses in mind, as he places a Canon 500f4, with a body in on compartment, and a handful of other lenses and two bodies in the other compartment. This set up is great for not only wildlife shooters, but also sports photographers.

My use, and interest, in the Kiboko backpack has nothing to do with long lenses, sports or nature. My interest was in having a lightweight bag to pack my cameras/lenses along side a full compact lighting kit that was self-contained. In my set up of the Kiboko bag, the left side contains two bodies, 7 lenses and a set of lens hoods; the right side contains two flashes, two light stands, four Pocket Wizards, a small soft box and other accessories.

The complete break down of how set this bag up, and how I plan to take it on the road is below:

2 - Canon EOS 1D series bodies
4 - Detached/Stacked lens hoods (85f1.2, 50f1.4, 24f1.4, 16-35f2.8)
1 - Canon 28-70f2.8 (with reversed lens hood attached)
1 - Canon 85f1.2 (stacked under 14f2.8)
1 - Canon 14f2.8 (stacked on top of 85f1.2)
1 - Canon 16-25f2.8
1 - Canon 50f1.4 (stacked on top of 70-200f2.8)
1 - Canon EF-12II 12mm extension tub (stacked on top of 70-200f2.8)
1 - Canon 24f1.4 (stacked on top of 70-200f2.8)
1 - Canon 70-200f2.8 (stacked under 50f1.4, 24f1.4, EF12 II)

2 - Manfrotto 3373 compact light stands
4 - Pocket Wizard sender/receiver
2 - Nikon SB-28dx speedlights
1 - Photoflex Q39 small soft box
1 - Photoflex small speed ring
1 - Bogen 3007 mini tripod w/3007 extension pole
1 - 1qt bag containing small part accessories & PC cords
2 - Calumet Swivel adapters

Four additional Canon 1D series batteries, and four packs of 4-AA batteries, and four sets of 2-AA batteries, small roll of Gaffers tape, were placed in the exterior left side flat pocket (not photographed). I envision using the right side flat pocket for basics such as a battery charger, a surge bar and some other basic essentials as needed.

Having placed this bag on my back fully loaded I can safely say that the Kiboko backpack is ergonomic, well thought out (even the asymetrical side carry handle is ergonomically designed to reduce carry-stress!), comfortable and extremely light! I loaded the same gear into my Think Tank Airport Addicted and the weight difference is obvious.

What makes the Gura Gear so light? The bag is manufactured from Dimension Polyant VX-21 fabric, which is roughly 1/3 the weight of other materials used in other bags on the market today . This fabric is frequently used to manufacture the sails of some of the fastest sailboats in the world! So not only is the manufacturing material extremely light it is also extremely durable.

I look forward to taking this bag out on assignments with me and putting it through its paces in the field,........but my first impressions are that the Gura Gear Kiboko bag is an absolute winner.

For more information on the bag, including it's full specs, visit www.guragear.com.

For more information on Andy Biggs, his photography and his photo safari workshops, visit www.andybiggs.com

Below are 16 photos of my Gura Gear Kiboko bag

Happy Flying!
-Click Images To Enlarge Them-

10 November 2008

New Travel Photography Boot Camps Released On Come Fly With Fish!

Web: www.comeflywithfish.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

10/11/2008 – New Travel Photography Boot Camps Released On Come Fly With Fish!

Over the past few months I have been carefully retooling the Flying With Fish workshops, which can be found at www.comeflywithfish.com.

After carefully examining what I wanted to offer, I scraped the idea of a workshop and focused on what these educational journeys really are...Boot Camps! Each Flying With Fish No-Jet-Lag Boot Camp is designed to teach every participant new skills, push them outside their comfort zone, and focus on the demands of traveling as a photographer.

The new Boot Camps currently include a single day adventure...where you don't know where you're headed until you show up at the airport; 5 cities in 5 days in Europe and around the world in 10 days, shooting on 4 continents and a subcontinent.

These boot camps are scheduled for Jan, Feb & March 2009, and are designed to meet the various schedules of nearly anyone interesting in learning how to travel quick, light, effectively. No matter what travel photography boot camp you're interested in I guarantee two things.....you'll go home tired and with a new set of skills.

One boot camp not currently listed on Come Fly With Fish is the "Chinese New Year in China Boot Camp." If there is interest in this visual feast of a boot camp, and 3-to-5 people would like a real experience, I'l set it up. I have the logistics in place to arrive the morning of the New Year's Parade on the 26th of January and leave approximately 8 hours after the massive fireworks display over Victoria Harbour has ended the following night. Chinese New Year in any city is fantastic, however Chinese New Year in the streets of Hong Kong is amazing!

If anyone is interested, I need to set this up by the first week in December. Pricing should be US$3,000, including airfare, and related taxes, from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). If 3-to-5 people from Europe are interested, I can alternate SFO for a departure from Paris (CDG) for €2,550.

For more information, visit www.comeflywithfish.com

Happy Flying!

07 November 2008

7/11/2008 – The Weekly Round Up : Fish Joins Mountainsmith's Design Team : Locks : FBOweb : TSA Sells Ads Space : Mountainsmith Amp : Less Seats Fly

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

7/11/2008 – The Weekly Round Up : Fish Joins Mountainsmith's Design Team : Locks : FBOweb : TSA Sells Ads Space : Mountainsmith Amp : Less Seats Fly

This week the most discussed topic on Flying With Fish was Election Day in the United States. This topic has nothing to do with photography and even less to do with travel, but it is a topic I feel strongly about. I hope you all went out and voted. I don't care whom you voted for, as long as you let your voice be heard! The two posts on Election Day were these:
4/11/2008 – U.S. Election Day : GO VOTE!

4/11/2008 – Do You Need Some Incentive To Vote Aside From Democracy? How About Free Coffee From Starbucks?

Aside from Election Day the exciting news on Flying With Fish was being asked to join Mountainsmith's Design Board. Mountainsmith has recognized my completely unsolicited enjoyment of their gear and asked me to pitch in. I head off to Golden, Colorado, in Mid-December for the first Design Board meeting. For more info, click here :
7/11/2008 – Flying With Fish To Join Mountainsmith's Design Board

Last week kicked off discussing the advantages to using a combination lock over a key lock on your bags. It may seem trivial, but believe it or not, combination locks can provide you with some significant advantages for peace of mind. Interested in finding out why you should ditch your key locks for combination locks? Check here:
3/11/2008 – Baggage Locks : Keys vs Combination

Over the past year the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has experimented with allowing the sale of advertising on TSA security checkpoint equipment, such as security bins and the tables before the x-ray machine. I personally see this as something that needs to be discontinued. TSA checkpoints are federally controlled security area, and should be free from advertising and endorsements. Read more on this topic in this entry:
5/11/2008 – Ads At TSA Airport Security Checkpoints : Should They Be For Sale?

What can you do once you've planned your camera and lens selection, researched the perfect bag then discover the flights you researched earlier in the year no longer exist? With 59.7-million fewer seats flying in the 4th quarter of 2008 this can be tricky. For some tips on how to plan your next journey click here:
6/11/2008 – Packed To Travel But No Seats To Be Found?

This week's iPhone 'App' Of the Week, FBO Web Flight Tracker, is a fun fight-tracking tool for 'geeks.' FBO Web Flight Tracker allows you to track fights by tail number, airport, specific flight and find out where they are in the sky on a real-time map, as well as their altitude and estimated time remaining in flight. This iPhone 'App' does require slightly more than basic knowledge to use properly. Sound like a fun tool you want to explore? Check here:
6/11/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : FBO Web Flight Tracker

My quest to find the ideal mobile phone belt holster came to a stop last year on the second floor of the Kittery Trading Post, in Kittery, Maine, while shopping for a pair of pants. While browsing the store I came upon the Mountainsmith Amp mobile phone holster and I never looked back. Since I started using the Mountainsmith Amp I have never knocked my phone out, despite being banged my cameras, lenses, waist packs, belt pouches, having climbed over, on and through objects and flying around the world a few times. To read more about this durable, reliable and versatile mobile phone holster click this link:
6/11/2008 – Mountainsmith Amp : A Phone Holster For People On The Run

Next week I hope to introduce you to a whole new type of bag, this bag I should mention is NOT a Mountainsmith bag. From what I have seen this new bag looks to be a highly customizable. The bag I'll be reviewing should arrive on Monday and be packed with gear by Monday night. This bag was designed for use by wildlife photographers, and while I see incredible potential for sports photographers, for my purposes, I see this bag as a fantastic bag for traveling with a complete compact mobile lighting kit. So what is this new bag I'll be one of the first to use in the field? You'll need to check in next week to find out!

Happy Flying!

Flying With Fish To Join Mountainsmith's Design Board

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

7/11/2008 – Flying With Fish To Join Mountainsmith's Design Board

Since very early on in my writing on Flying With Fish I have written about my enjoyment of using Mountainsmith's products. I have been using Mountainsmith gear for years. Along the way I have modified their gear to meet my needs, and packed their bags well beyond their intended design specifications.

Earlier in 2008 Mountainsmith recognized my completely unaffiliated, non-endorsed and unsolicited promotion of their gear and sponsored a contest on Flying With Fish. While I kept in touch with Mountainsmith over the past year, I assumed at most they would maybe sponsor another contest at some point.

Well at this time Mountainsmith is not sponsoring another contest I know of (although they are welcome to), what they have done is asked me if I'd like to join their Design Board.

It took me all of 3 seconds to accept the invitation to be a part of the process of helping design bags that make life easier for photographers. I have been involved with other companies in the past in the testing of bags, but this should be a whole different process.

So now I'll not only be a happy, long time, loyal customer of Mountainsmith products, I'll also have a hand in helping creative process of designing the bags I choose to use. It is great that Mountainsmith looks outside its own internal design team to incorporate those who use their products in the field. As my background and use of their bags is different that many of those who use their gear for hiking, climbing and working outdoors, I hope to bring a unique perspective to the table.

My joining Mountainsmith's Design Board does not prohibit me from using other bags, traveling with other bags, discussing other bags or reviewing other bags. I have many bags for many different purposes and will continue to use the other bags in my closet. I'll also continue to use whatever bag is best for each specific job.......and should the opportunity come up to work with a non-competing company, work with them as well.

My goals in working with Mountainsmith, as well as maintaining Flying With Fish, are similar. My goal is to make life easier for those who travel and put those on the road at the forefront of everything I put into these projects.

............what else may be in the future for Flying With Fish and Mountainsmith? Keep your eyes open for some retooled workshops in the near future.

Happy Flying!

06 November 2008

Mountainsmith Amp : A Phone Holster For People On The Run

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

6/11/2008 – Mountainsmith Amp : A Phone Holster For People On The Run

For years I had a habit of dropping, cracking and breaking phones that were on holsters on my belt. I prefer my phone be on my belt, however my camera would bang into the phone, my waist pack would open a holster flap, or the holster's Velcro was not sufficient enough to keep a phone in the case.

A little over a year ago while standing in the Kittery Trading Post, in Kittery, Maine, I found a the durable, reliable and versatile phone holster I have been searching for. This holster was the black Mountainsmith Amp, made from recycled materials. It is no secret that I like Mountainsmith's bags and packs, so when I found a mobile phone holster made by Mountainsmith I had to have one.

What separates this mobile phone holster from others is a few things
1: The Amp can be worn vertically or horizontally on your belt (I wear it horizontally)
2: The Amp has durable-&-stretchable neoprene size to allow it to fit many phones snuggly
3: The Amp has a lot of Velcro, which makes it very difficult to knock open
4: The Amp's stretchy neoprene keeps its shape, so should you knock it open you won't lose your phone.

My Amp was primarily used with a Motorola Razr V3, until I switched to the primarily using the Apple iPhone. While the Amp may appear to be too small for the iPhone, it fits it perfectly. When I travel internationally I switch back to the Razr to use local pre-paid SIM cards, and the Amp holds its shape to switch between the more slender Razr and wider iPhone. Most holsters would be to wide or two narrow to accommodate both phones, while Amp is ideal for both.

Having used the Amp in some very fast paced situations, where my phone holster is constantly being brushed, pushed and banged by a waist pack, belt-pouches or my camera gear, I have never had my phone drop out of the Amp.

The fact that the Amp is manufactured with recycled materials is just an added bonus. I strongly support recycling, the purchasing of carbon offsets when traveling and supporting those who choose to help the environment. So the Amp follows other items Mountainsmith manufactures using recycled products, such as the Tour and Day packs.

...........Mountainsmith may be discontinuing the Amp at the end of this season, so priced at only around US$10 each, you may want to snap them up now while you still can (I plan on stock piling half-a-dozen).

Below are five photos of my phones with the Mountainsmith Amp

Happy Flying!
--Click Images To Enlarge--

iPhone 'App' Of The Week : FBO Web Flight Tracker

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

6/11/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : FBO Web Flight Tracker

I have written about a few iPhone 'Apps' in the past that track flights, or have the ability to track flights, and this week I'll introduce you to a unique iPhone 'App' that tracks flights, with a twist.

Recently I have been using a newly released flight tracker for the iPhone, FBO Web Flight Tracker. When I saw this flight tracker I had to download it, as I am very familiar with using FBO Web's online flight tracking at www.fboweb.com.

What sets FBO Web Flight Tracker apart from other iPhone 'Apps' that can track flights is the information it provides you. This flight tracker is not really designed for those who are waiting to pick up a friend at the airport; this tracker is really aimed at the geeks who like to know exactly what is happening with a flight.

In order to use FBO Web you need to have some knowledge of how to search for specific codes and how to read them. An example of this is searching for flights from Kansas City (MCI) to Reagan National Airport in DC (DCA) you can't search for US Airways Flight 3430; you need to search for RPA3430. Why RPA3430 and not US3430? Because this flight is operated by Republic Airways (RPA) for US Airways. You can however search the flight by airport.

When using most flight trackers you need to enter an airlines two-character code, KL = KLM, B6 = Jet Blue, CX = Cathay Pacific, AC = Air Canada, etc etc etc. This is common. When using FBO Web you need to enter the airline identifier.

Using FBO Web on the iPhone to find the flight location for today's KLM Flight #605 (KLM605) from Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) the 'App' provides me with some very detailed information. In a few seconds I am above to see a real-time map visual of where the aircraft is, find out the aircraft is a Boeing 777-200 (772/Q), the flight is at 36,000 feet, and it is due to arrive in 1hr 10min, at 12:29pm EST or 20:29-zulu time.

For personal interest I like seeing the aircraft used on certain routes. Seeing the aircraft allows me to make some adjustments when helping others plan their flights. On the AMS-SFO route KLM uses the Boeing 777-200, 747-400 and McDonnell Douglas MD-11. So matching up certain schedules, with different flying times associated and seating configurations can be valuable information for me.

The draw back to FBO Web, aside from needing to know airline identifiers, is that some airports are referred to by 'tower codes.' Rather than displaying a route of AMS-SFO, FBO Web shows you EHAM-SFO. EHAM is the ICAO identifier for Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, the more commonly used airport identifiers are the 3-letter IATA codes. I have searched for a few flights where I found myself going over to use Google and find out where a flight was coming from, being unfamiliar with some ICAO identifiers.

The Zulu-time is a good reference. All airline use Zulu-time as a universal time. By using Zulu-time all commercial flights around the world are on the same time schedule, regardless of changes in time-zones or crossing the International Date Line.

There is certainly a learning curve associated with FBO Web's Flight Tracker. Before you decide you want to download it, you should play with it online at www.fboweb.com to become familiar with the interface.

Below are five photos of the FBO Web Flight Tracker iPhone 'App.'

Happy Flying!
--Click Images To Enlarge--

Packed To Travel But No Seats To Be Found?

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

6/11/2008 – Packed To Travel But No Seats To Be Found?

You've planned your trip, you've decided what cameras to pack and spent hours staring at National Geographic..........now its time to book your flights. As you scan the flights you looked at last month you notice something odd, many of the flights you were considering flying are no longer there. What happened?

The fourth quarter of 2008 has become somewhat of a black hole for travelers using conventional booking methods (and in many cases those using unconventional booking methods). Why has the 4th quarter of 2008 become a black hole? Because there are approximately 59,700,000 less available seats being flown by airlines in this quarter of the year.

This seat shortage is especially obvious for travelers in the United States. Of the approximately 59.7-million seats reduced this quarter, nearly 20-million of those seats are directly from the domestic market in the United States.

This shift in available seats does affect the cost of travel. As the price of fuel comes down, and some airlines reduce or eliminate their fuel surcharge fees, the issue becomes supply and demand.

How can you find seats for your journey, and at a more affordable price? It all depends on your flexibility and how you choose to travel.

Some tactics are to have flexible dates and not worry about your connections. Looking at a recent itinerary for a traveler flying between New York's JFK and Sydney, Australia (SYD), I found flights ranging from US$1873 to $8052 in economy class (travel dates 15-Dec to 22-Dec).

A common choice on the JFK-SYD route is often Qantas Airways, the Australian national flag carrier. The route flies JFK-LAX-SYD, takes 22hrs and 40min, for the above dates the fare is US$2618

A passenger tied to earning One World miles, which Qantas is a member of, can also fly on Japan Airlines (JAL) and save US$513, flying JFK-Tokyo (NRT)-SYD, flying 23hrs 45min for a fare of $US2103.

For the person I was helping find a flight down to SYD from JFK, the 1hr difference in travel time equaled them saving enough money to cover 3.82 nights at the Hilton Sydney, in the City Centre. I don't know about you, but I'll kill an hour to be able to cover nearly 4 nights in a nice hotel.

As a bonus to picking up the cost difference of 3.82 nights in a hotel, but switching from Qantas to JAL this flyer will have in-seat power for their long haul flights, something not offered on the Qantas flight. For me, in-seat power is a huge plus, allowing me to charge my batteries, watch movies and of course work.

When looking for flights to Europe, many flights to, or through, London are more expensive that flying through other European cities. The taxes for travel to London, and the expense airline endure dealing with London's Heathrow Airport keep those fares higher. Yes, London can be a convenient layover with some quality airlines, but flying through Paris (CDG), Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA) , Zurich (ZRH) can be a significant cost savings.

As the seats capacity continues to reduce you need to look at alternatives that will allow you get out and see the world, without relying on the time-honoured conventional methods.

As a flyer you need to explore regional fares, such as a 'Euro-pass', 'North America pass', or 'Asia-pass', etc etc that are offered by all three major international airline alliances. These passes can be very cost effective and reduce your overall costs.

No, go repack your camera bag, rethink your trip and start replanning your trip!

Happy Flying!

05 November 2008

Ads At TSA Airport Security Checkpoints : Should They Be For Sale?

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

5/11/2008 – Ads At TSA Airport Security Checkpoints : Should They Be For Sale?

Over the past year the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has experimented with selling advertising space at 14 airports through out the United States. As this year long advertising experiment concludes, and the TSA moves to roll out this option throughout the United States. I feel this program gives the impression that the United States Government's first line of defense, for the security of those traveling in the United States, is for sale.

The security of the traveling public, which is a serious and challenging task, should not have perception of corporate influence. Many look at this program as something that is not a big deal. The TSA provides ad space, through Security Point Media, on the bottom of the checkpoint personal item bins, as well as on the tops of the tables leading up to the x-ray machine. If security was a private entity, or if it was owned by the airport authority, I would not give the advertising scheme a second thought.......but its not, security is maintained by the United States Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration.

Given that security is a branch of the Federal Government, under the Department of Homeland Security, I believe there should be no mixing security with ad revenue. Under the TSA's current advertising sales scheme the advertisers purchase the bins, bin carts and tables for the TSA. In trade for purchasing these items, the company secures the advertising rights to the tables and the bins.

This may be seen as a 'donation,' such as a volunteer fire department having a small sticker on a truck that reads, "This ambulance donated by XYZ Corp." In other situations this may be seen as a way for a corporation to try and gain political leverage though their financial contribution to a specific federal agency.

The TSA has shown that it has a long way to go in making sure loop holes in security are closed up and that the agency has a genuine interest in securing the traveling public. Diverting its efforts to a program that is counter productive to its image, as well as offering no benefit to security, should be rethought and revisited once the agency has its security issues under control.

What will be next? Will we see ads on passport control stations, and Custom's inspection tables, operated by the Department of Homeland Security's Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Officers?

Security must not only be secure, but it must also give the pure appearance there is no impropriety.

Happy Flying!

04 November 2008

Do You Need Some Incentive To Vote Aside From Democracy? How About Free Coffee From Starbucks?

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

4/11/2008 – Do You Need Some Incentive To Vote Aside From Democracy? How About Free Coffee From Starbucks?

Are you a U.S. Citizen who needs some incentive to go vote, aside from your civic duty, democracy and the participation in electing those who govern the town, county, city, state, nation you live in................how about getting a free coffee for getting out to the polls?

I am not a coffee drinker, but I know the majority of people are, so this is an added bonus for you voting coffee drinkers. After you vote, head over to Starbucks and tell them you voted. All you need to do is walk up to the counter, tell them you voted and you'll give you a tall cup of coffee (maybe I can swap this for a hot chocolate).

Go Vote!

Happy Flying!

U.S. Election Day : GO VOTE!

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

4/11/2008 – U.S. Election Day : GO VOTE!

With more than 60% of my regular readers residing in the United States I have to say the following.

Close your web browser, step away from your computer and go vote!

I am not going to make this about politics. I have my political opinion, and it is not my place to try and push my political views on anyone. By today your choice should be made, your candidate should be chosen; all you need to do is cast your vote.

Choose wisely and be proud that you let your voice be heard.

Happy Flying!

03 November 2008

Baggage Locks : Keys vs Combination

Web: www.fishfoto.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

3/11/2008 – Baggage Locks : Keys vs Combination

All travelers worry about having items stolen from their bags while traveling. Having items stolen from checked baggage is just as frustrating as having items stolen from your carry on bags.

When I travel I keep locks on all my bags, even when only flying with carry-on baggage. Each zipper can be secured, especially when in certain situations, and if I am taking a nap, locks are needed for my PacSafe Anti-Theft Protector.

When you choose your locks, even working within the requirements of a TSA Sentry Approved Lock, not all locks are created equal. Yes, some locks are stronger than others, but that is not what I am addressing. What I am addressing is the security and practicality of using a combination lock instead of a key lock.

Key locks are prone to two significant security concerns.

The first security concern with key locks is key locks are somewhat easily accessible to professional thieves. Most skilled thieves do not need to pick a lock, or even cut a lock. If thieves are not picking or cutting a lock, how are they opening your lock? With a key-ring full of keys.

Open a package of most baggage locks; you'll get two or three locks with only two sets of keys. This is because one key opens all three locks. Keys for many commercial locks are not unique; they will open thousands of locks. A skilled airport, or train station, their can quickly size up the lock on your bag and know which series of potential keys will open the lock.

The second security concern with using key locks is the potential for losing the keys to your lock. Should you lose your keys in transit, you'll be unable to quickly and easily access your bags when you need to. Additionally, should you break a key off in your lock (and yes, I have heard of this happening more often than you might think) your lock will need to cut off. While getting a lock cut off isn't so hard, it is not that easy when you're standing in the airport, at the gate, awaiting an international flight to board and your boarding pass and passport are in your bag............

Combination locks offer more security and considerably more peace-of-mind. A combination is only known to you and those you've told. Given that thieves cannot easily walk through an airport with a lock cutter, and the sound of a battery powered Dremel Tool sawing your lock off next to your head will wake you up, they'll tend to move on to an easier target.

In addition to slightly more security with the use of combination locks, you cannot lose the combination to your locks. Combination baggage locks tend allow the user to set their own combination. All of my locks have the same combination, this way no matter what lock I snatch out of my drawer the combination is always the same.

Yes, TSA Approved Sentry Locks can all be opened with a set of keys that should only be available to TSA baggage screeners. Yes, these keys are available to those who are not TSA screeners. This does defeat the purpose of securing your bag, however a lock is an effective deterrent. A combination lock is a more effective deterrent.

If a professional thief really wants the contents of your bag, they may be hard to defeat.........so ALWAYS try and reduce your chances of becoming a target and be aware of your surroundings.

Happy Flying!

31 October 2008

31/10/2008 – The Weekly Round Up : Heathrow-on-Sea? : Perfect Travel Light Stand : Delta & Northwest Become One : Lufthansa & BMI : Lufty's Expansion

Web: www.thetravelstrategist.com.com -- E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

31/10/2008 – The Weekly Round Up : Heathrow-on-Sea? : Perfect Travel Light Stand : Delta & Northwest Become One : Lufthansa & BMI : Lufty's Expansion

This has been a busy week on Flying With Fish. Wednesday provided no shortage of news for those who travel by air. Wednesday saw two major airline mergers/stock takeovers, and an airline cease to exist.

Before I move onto the whole weekly round up, I'd like to start off with the last post of this past week. Adorama has invited me host a workshop for educating photographers who travel, in conjunction with their Workshops @Adorama and I accepted. While some details are still being worked out, the first workshop is scheduled for the 29th of January 2009, so mark your calendars! You can read more about this evening workshop here:
30/10/2008 – Adorama To Host Flying With Fish Workshop Jan 29th

This week kicked off with the announcement that AeroChannel has started up an update info stream on Twitter AeroChannel is an excellent growing source of info for anyone traveling, primarily in the United States, and you should check them out at www.twitter.com/aerochannel . Find out more info here: 27/10/2008 - AeroChannel On Twitter

London Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports. The airport is so busy it must operate on 'slot allotments' as the airport cannot easily handle all the traffic and seeks to use Heathrow, and London Mayor Boris Johnson has no proposed building a new Heathrow on a man-made island in the Thames Estuary. Is this idea a good idea? Is this idea possible? Find out more at this link: 27/10/2008 - Can Heathrow Be Replaced By A Man Made Island Airport?

As a traveling photographer, flying with lights can be challenging. With checked baggage fees and the potential for lost or delayed bags, I have opted to use the Manfrotto 3373 compact light stands for the past few years. Find out why I think the Manfrotto 3373 is the perfect traveling light stand here: 28/10/2008 - The Manfrotto 3373 : The Perfect Traveling Light Stand

With the global airline industry becoming increasingly volatile it is become less shocking to hear of airlines shutting down operations with little to no notice. Iceland's Sterling Airways has been teetering on failure for sometime due to Iceland's financial crisis. This week its finances ran out and the airline was forced to cancel all its flight standing thousands of flyers. To find out more about the airline's closure check here: 29/10/2008 - Iceland's Sterling Airways Shuts Down Stranding Thousands

This week I wrote a two part series on Lufthansa's growth. The first of these two parts addresses taking over 80% of BMI/British Midland's controlling stock. This purchase of 50.1% of BMI's stock does little for Lufthansa's routes, but it does make them the owner of second largest allotment of slots at London Heathrow Airport. To find out how this might affect the 70 year old, and profitable, BMI, read this: 29/10/2008 - LH Pt 1: Lufthansa To Control BMI & Become 2nd Largest At Heathrow While Also Trimming Expansion

The second part of entries on Lufthansa this week addressed the airline's announcement they would be trimming routes and reducing spending. The reduction of routes and expenses comes with the airline taking a 45% stake in one airline, an 80% stake in another airline, all while trying to take significant stakes in two other European airlines, and setting up Lufthansa Italy SpA. You can find out more about this interesting, and potentially hazardous, business plan in this entry: 29/10/2008 - LH Pt 2 : Lufthansa Trimming Expansion While Taking Over 2 Airlines & Making A Play For 2 More

This big news this week came as no surprise. The U.S. Department of Justice approved the merger of Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines, creating the world's largest airline. Find out where we go from here in this entry: 29/10/2008 – Northwest & Delta Are One Airline……well sort of…….

After a week off, the iPhone 'App' Of The Week series returns. This week I discuss the new Google Earth iPhone 'App.' This 'App' is fantastic, and an incredibly useful tool for not only photographers working on the road, but for any traveler on the road. Learn more about Google Earth for the iPhone by clicking here: 30/10/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : Google Earth

It has been a long week of posts on Flying With Fish and I plan to kick off next week with some fun exciting news. I've been working hard to help photographers, and all travelers, on the road, and in one area, these efforts have been recognized by a company I used and support.

For those of who get Flying With Fish's updates on Twitter, at www.twitter.com/flyingwithfish , some of this exciting news has already been mentioned........

That's it for this week HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

Happy Haunting!