31 July 2008

Emirates 'Goes Off Line' (no, they didn't go out of business......just off line)

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

31/07/2008 – Emirates 'Goes Off Line' (no, they didn't go out of business......just off line)

What happens when a major international airline takes delivery of a brand new aircraft and is taking every opportunity to further their marketing? Well they might overlook simple marketing tools such as renewing their domain name!

This week Emirates (طيران الإمارات) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380 and been using every marketing tool available to them to attract attention to the launch of their Airbus A380 service between Dubai (DXB) and New York (JFK). During this media-blitz week their website suddenly went dead. It turns out that Emirates’ IT department overlooked the little detail of renewing their domain name.

As potential travelers logged onto the website they met a generic placeholder site rather than the airline's site.

As you read this you should probably consider logging into your domain host account and checking your domain name expiration dates.

Below is a photo of both the Emirates web site front page and the generic 'place holder' page that was found at Emirates.com when it went off line.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them---

Flying With Fish Featured On A Canadian National Radio Show Today......Tune In!

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

31/07/2008 – Flying With Fish Featured On A Canadian National Radio Show Today......Tune In!

This morning the Charles Adler Show contacted me, a talk radio show broadcast across Canada, to discuss the topic of passenger personal security. With the rate of airport thefts increasing and the tactics used by airport thieves becoming more intricate this segment on the Charles Adler Show will focus on both how thieves work and how passengers can protect themselves when traveling.

The segment on the Charles Adler Show, which is broadcast on the Corus Radio Network, will begin at 3:05pm EST/12:05pmPST today.

For those outside of Canada, or those who don't receive the Corus Radio Network, you can listen to the show live here:

Happy Flying!

30 July 2008

iPhone 'App' Of The Week : iPhone Tools For Road Warriors

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

30/07/2008 – iPhone 'App' Of The Week : iPhone Tools For Road Warriors

Well it was bound to happen eventually. At some point I'd have to enter 2007 (yes, I said 2007). Not too long ago an original iPhone was provided to me to use and figure out how to turn it into a 'travelers tool.’ While my iPhone is not the new iPhone 3G, I have not been deterred from playing with the potential of using the iPhone's apps for travel purposes.

I'm not going to go into the details of iPhone vs other phones, as I still use and prefer my Blackberry for my mobile mail, and I have considered going back to my Motorola Razr for battery life and size............but the iPhone's 'Apps' are what keeps me interested in the iPhone. Since I received my iPhone I have downloaded many 'Apps' that have the potential to be good tools on the road and found some that I like and some that I will never utter the name of in public because they are so horrendous.

.............so this entry kicks off my first iPhone App Of The Week post.

One of the first 'Apps' I downloaded for the iPhone was the Travelocity ‘App.’ While Travelocity has not been my preferred online booking site, the 'App' has some great features that can provide some excellent information to anyone on the road. The Travelocity 'App' is so useful it is on the top line of the first page of my iPhone 'Apps.'

What does the Travelocity 'App' offer its users?

For starters if your schedule is forced to change at the last minute you can click on 'Flight Schedules', type in your departure airport and your arrival airport, and pull up a complete list of all flights between the two airports for the day. This schedule also includes 'Code-Share' flight numbers for many flights. Once you select the flight you think you'd like to use you can click that fight and see all the details of that flight.

I found a few gaps in some routes for available flights, but overall this feature can really save a traveler time should their schedule change unexpectedly or they have to rebook a flight while already in transit.

In a hurry and want to know where you're headed in the airport? The Travelocity 'App' can search most flights (primarily in the United States) quickly and let travelers know what terminal and gate their flight is departing from (you can also get this information easily from AeroChannel Mobile at: www.aero2go.com). Being able to quickly access an iPhone 'App' to get your terminal info and gate info at an unfamiliar airport is extremely useful for anyone running late getting to the airport.

Finally, the Travelocity 'App' can tell you the average wait times for airport security check points. This feature gives you a break down of terminals, individual checkpoints and the time of day you're planning on passing through security. While security times can change depending on the circumstances of the day, this feature is fantastic to know what you should be facing when you show up at the airport.

Overall I have found the Travelocity 'App' to a fantastic travel tool for iPhone users.

Below are 12 images of the Travelocity 'App' on the iPhone.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge--

Flying With Fish Community For LiveJournal Users

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

30/07/2008 – Flying With Fish Community For LiveJournal Users

As Flying With Fish continues to expand and try and serve those on the road, and those who seek to be on the road, more completely, I have created a community for Flying With Fish readers on LiveJournal.

LiveJournal is a global social networking site with thousands of communities spanning nearly any topic you can think of. Obviously the topic the Flying With Fish community will deal with Travel Planning.......and such it is named "Travel Planning."

For those of you who already use LiveJournal, you can find this community at:http://community.livejournal.com/travel_planning

For those of you not currently on LiveJournal, visit www.livejournal.com, sign up, join in and get lets see if we can create an interactive community to help each other with travel planning, logistics and any other travel topic that comes to mind.

Happy Flying!

29 July 2008

Are Thieves Using Self Check-in Kiosks?

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

29/07/2008 – Are Thieves Using Self Check-in Kiosks?

In the past week Canadian low cost airline WestJet stopped allowing passengers to check-in with their credit cards as the self check-in kiosks. WestJet is not trying to be difficult, they are not trying to force you to wait in line for an agent, what WestJet is doing is trying to protect their passengers from potentially being victims of credit card fraud.

Recently both MasterCard and Visa in Canada began investigating a potential security breach of airline self check-in kiosks at Toronto's Pearson International Airport (YYZ). While neither MasterCard nor Visa will comment on how credit card information may have been stolen via the Kiosks software, it is suspected that savvy thieves have found a way to collect and store the data, then retrieve the stolen data through the network that connects the kiosks directly to the airlines.

While the incidents bring investigated are currently isolated to YYZ, it does not mean that is not being employed elsewhere in a way that is not yet detected. It also does not mean that thieves are not working to employ this technology elsewhere to collect as much credit card data as possible.

An odd twist in this potential security breach is that in theory an airline check-in kiosk should only be reading your credit card for your name to match it to your reservation. When you check-in, the kiosk asks you to swipe your card and type in your destination airport. This information combined is used to eliminate the potential of confusing passengers with the same name. When you check in, you do not need to use the same credit card you purchased the ticket with. Any valid credit card with your name can be used to check-in.

Since the current software that drives the self check-in kiosks should read no vital credit card information passengers should be protected from credit card theft. Clearly in some cases this is not what is happening and the hacked machines, which are produced by IBM Canada and use software created by both ARINC of Annapolis, Maryland (USA) and SITA or Geneva, Switzerland, are not only reading vital data, but more importantly, the machines are storing it somewhere within the machines' systems.

So are thieves hacking the software in a small number of the 70,000+ self-service check-in kiosks at North American airports? Not exactly.

While companies such as Kinetics, which creates the software used in approximately 75% of the self check-in kiosks in the United States, will not discuss the specific details of how the machines work, it is known that a self service check-in reads your information off the magnetic strip on the back. The software reads all the information in that magnetic strip, and then it only takes the data it needs. One the system has the date it need it should purge the rest of the data from the system....... but only if the software being used it programmed to purge this information.

How can you avoid having your credit card information from a potentially unsecured self check-in kiosk?

When you check in you can use your reservation number or your passport. Some airlines allow you to check-in using your airline frequent flyer card. When using an airline frequent flyer card you must usually use the membership card of the airline you are traveling on and not those of affiliate or partner airlines (with limited exceptions). Personally, I find it easy enough to have my reservations number with me; it is stored in my Blackberry. I type it in; take my boarding pass and head to security.

Not all airport thieves are watching you and waiting to steal your items. Some are far away sitting a computer waiting to take what they want undetectable to unsuspecting passengers.

Happy Flying!

28 July 2008

One Stop Shopping For Travel Sized Essentials

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

28/07/2008 - One Stop Shopping For Travel Sized Essentials

When travelers hit the road to explore the world or just fly to Copenhagen to attend a seminar they often long for the simple comforts of home.

While I can't tell where to buy a portable travel Posturepedic Bed, I can point you in the direction of a one-stop-shop for everything from travel sized A1 Steak Sauce for your burger to travel sized Season Brand Caviar for your long layover in the airport.

Minimus.biz is the ultimate online source for purchasing items sized for travel. No more looking around for your travel sized items. No more wondering if can find your favourite Portlock Wild Smoked Salmon (in the Red Box) that enjoy at lunch or Brown Family Farms Pure Vermont Maple Syrup that you love at breakfast while you're away on the road. This web site probably has what you're looking for!

So before you head out for your next trip check out www.minimus.biz

Happy Flying!

26 July 2008

26/07/2008-The Weekly Round Up : Long Haul Sanity : Flying With Fish 'The Book' : More Mountainsmith Bags : Cancelled Flight Rebooking Strategies

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

26/07/2008-The Weekly Round Up : Long Haul Sanity : Flying With Fish 'The Book' : More Mountainsmith Bags : Cancelled Flight Rebooking Strategies

This week Flying With Fish has been busy planning new ways to better inform both novice travelers and experienced road warriors. From signing a contract to write a book to quietly partnering up to plan a series of intensive one-day workshops to make the process of travel less stressful and more productive.

Flying With Fish kicked off the week by revisiting a lightweight, low cost, pocket sized source of entertainment to keep you sane during your travels. Since I started traveling with my Sony PSP I have found myself more relaxed on long flights, less cramped due to the size and hauling less weight to supply auxiliary power a laptop or portable DVD player. You can read up on simple ways to maximize your PSP here:
21/07/2008 - Long Haul Flight Sanity Revisited : 'Pimp Your PSP'

Tuesday was an exciting day for Flying With Fish! Well in all honesty the actual day its self was a drag and not one to write home about, but on Tuesday Flying With Fish signed a contract with an international publishing firm to be commissioned to write "The Traveling Photographer's Essential Pocket Guide." With any luck this will be the first of multiple books from Flying With Fish (well let's see how this one goes first): You can check out more on this book here: 22/07/2008 - Flying With Fish Signs Contract To Write "The Traveling Photographer's Essential Pocket Guide."

With a lot of recent discussion about the Mountainsmith line of bags, and how they can be used by photographers I decided to answer some reader mail asking if I used these bags prior to the Mountainsmith Bag Giveaway. The answer is certainly YES! I have used these bags for many years. Although I have written up my bags in the past, I threw my collection of bags in the back of my Volvo 240 Wagon (minus my Pink Mountainsmith Tour pack which was being used at the time) to show you all my current collection of Mountainsmith Bags. Looking for a bag? Take a look here : 22/07/2008 - What Mountainsmith bags does Flying With Fish personally travel with? Lets find out!

For the photography tech-geeks Flying With Fish introduced a new segment on Inside Digital Photo Radio. Michael McNamara, the former Executive Technology Editor at Popular Photography, will now be joining Scott Sheppard to bring listeners 'The McNamara Report.' When you're planning your gear purchases for your next trip you may want to tune in! Fine out more about this new segment on Inside Digital Photo Radio here: 24/07/2008 - Inside Digital Photo Radio Gets A Fantastic New Segment!

Everyone hates cancelled flights. Find out some tips for beating your fellow stranded passengers to a rebooked seat in this must read entry : 25-July-2008 - Getting Rebooked From A Cancelled Flight : A Simple Way To Reduce Stress & Increase Results

...........And I'm coming close to closing off the 'No Jet Lag Photo Workshops" Just a few more people are needed to gets the minimum seats filled to get these workshops off the ground! These two workshops, one Around-The-World and the other Sprinting-Through-Europe, will push your photography and your travel abilities to the edge. The pace will be relentless, but if you like to travel and enjoy photography you'll have the experience of a lifetime! To find out more about the No Jet Lag Workshops visit : www.comeflywithfish.com

On an unrelated travel or photography subject, I'd like to end this week's Weekly Round Up with my 'Quote of the Week.' I know many people experience various problems with PayPal at times. PayPal happens to be the credit-card processing service I use (although not for long), on Thursday we were given incorrect information regarding a transaction, while simultaneously performing the transaction and speaking with PayPal customer service to ensure what we were doing was correct. As you can guess, the transaction did not go as planned. So after some frustration we stopped for the night and I called PayPal in the morning. In the morning, I eventually got a supervisor and after explaining the situation in detail and getting nowhere I asked that PayPal review the taped conversation, which they readily admit they have. Upon requesting the tape be reviewed, this is the answer I was given by a customer service supervisor .......ready for it?......here it is ......"PayPal accepts no liability for the incorrect information given it it's customers by it's customer service representatives."

That's it for this week

Happy Flying!

25 July 2008

Getting Rebooked From A Cancelled Flight : A Simple Way To Reduce Stress & Increase Results

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

25-July-2008 - Getting Rebooked From A Cancelled Flight : A Simple Way To Reduce Stress & Increase Results

With the airline industry sudden reduction in flights, and a recent escalation in cancelled flights, I'd like to revisit on old topic.........the topic of beating your fellow passengers to a rebooked seat.

Whenever a flight is significantly delayed, or cancelled, there is always a frenzied rush to the podium to get seats rebooked. With 150+ passengers trying to get rebooked by two (maybe four) agents this process is slow and frustrating. The process is not only frustrating for the passengers, but also for the airline gate agents as well. Passengers are angry and the gate agents only have the information in front of them to help passengers get rebooked.

How do you avoid standing in line for two hours, getting angry and going face with an agent who is frustrated because they have to tell you "I'm sorry there are no seats on the flight connection that will get you from Chicago to Bakersfield tonight"?

When you travel make sure you have some important basic information with you
1) Potential alternate routes with your airline and the partner airlines of your carrier

2) The phone number of the airline you are traveling with

3) Your 'current' travel information, including not only your intended flight information, but also your 'Record Locator/PNR' as well. This information on your booking documents, even when you book through sites such as Expedia and Orbitz.

With this information, as everyone lines up fuming you can find a quiet place to sit down, call the airline (get put on hold), re-read your info and have the airlines phone agents rebook you. Agents on the phone do not have a line of people yelling at them. Agents on the phone also have more latitude to find alternate routes to get you to your destination. If you are a frequent flyer, you can also request a few 'compensation miles' for your troubles.

This information is extremely handy if you are traveling during peak times, such as during a holiday vacation period. Flight cancellations during these periods bring out the worst in people. When rebooking a cancelled flight you want an airline representative who is in a relatively good mood to help you out, not one who has just gone toe-to-toe with 100 other angry passengers.

Happy Flying!

24 July 2008

Inside Digital Photo Radio Gets A Fantastic New Segment!

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

24/07/2008 - Inside Digital Photo Radio Gets A Fantastic New Segment!

OK, this post has nothing to do with travel. This is for the photo-only readers of Flying With Fish.

So what is this post about? Today Inside Digital Photo Radio (www.insidedigitalphoto.com) announced a new segment for the photo-tech-geek crowd! Michael McNamara, the former Executive Technology Editor at Popular Photography (and well respected photo-tech-geek expert), has joined Inside Digital Photo Radio to offer a regular segment entitled 'The McNamara Report."

The McNamara Report will feature reviews and photo industry analysis with a candid approach. This is quite refreshing if you ask me (who else remember Peterson's Photographic and their 'everything is great' and articles written in such a way that it appeared no equipment had any flaws?)

McNamara will join host Scott Sheppard (who has had me as a guest on the show and who has actually shot a wedding with me, woo hoo!) during the shows broadcasts, which can also be found on Podcasts after the show has aired.

Check it out folks!

Happy Shooting!

(Whoops, Happy Flying!)

23 July 2008

What Mountainsmith bags does Flying With Fish personally travel with? Lets find out!

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

22/07/2008 - What Mountainsmith bags does Flying With Fish personally travel with? Lets find out!

With the recent Mountainsmith Bag giveaway contest, during the 'The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish' I received a few e-mails asking me if I chose to use Mounatainsmith bags because of of the company's giveaway on Flying With Fish.

I dismissed the first email or two, but when the next three rolled in I decided I should probably address this question. In fact I have been using Mountainsmith bags for my camera equipment for many years...........nearly a decade now! Throughout this past year I have detailed my use of Mountainsmith bags in great detail, including a five part series on the Mountainsmith Tour back in January.

As a photographer who travels, I have used Mountainsmith bags around the world and chose to accept Mountainsmith's offer of giving away a few of their bags because I am a huge fan of their products!

How big of a fan am I of the Mountainsmith line of bags? To demonstrate my enjoyment of their bags I loaded up some of my collection into the back of my 1990 Volvo 245 and shot a picture of my collection (missing from the photo is my bright pink Mountainsmith Tour).

The Mountainsmith bags in the photo below from left to right are:

- The Day : The Day is a fantastic 'hit the ground running bag' to carry multiple carry configurations for shooting, lighting, taking your laptop to the library (it's even good for hiking).

- The Parallax : I used The Parallax as the only bag I brought with me while shooting a project where I flew around the world 1.5x in 4 days! Great bag to carry everything, while still being carry-on legal and small enough to wear on my back while shooting!

- The Cube : The Cube is great for not only packing your clothes for travel, like a duffel bag, however I use mine to disguise checked camera equipment. When I am forced to check camera gear in cases such as the Pelican 1514, or long lens shipping trunks, I place these cases inside the The Cube. When The Cube comes around the baggage carousel no one gives it a second glance as it looking nothing like what you'd expect to find camera equipment in. The bright neon green colour is to allow me to quickly and easily spot my bag among the sea of black ballistic-nylon bags in the baggage area

- The Correspondent : The Correspondent is the newest bag in my collection, and after some heavy travel in the past few months it has proved to be fantastic rolling bag! The unique interior configurability, while taking getting used to, has been great, and for many trips this bags design has allowed me to travel with one bag only for gear, clothes, laptop, etc.

-The Tour (in front of The Cube): The Tour has been by far my most used Mountainsmith pack. The Tour is a lumbar pack designed for hiking, but for me it is the do it all bag. I have at least half-a-dozen configurations of this pack. The Tour coupled with a 'Newswear Pouch' can meet nearly any shooting situations needs. The bright yellow interior is also ideal for not loosing little black lens caps, black cords etc etc........I also have a bright pink Tour which my daughter bought me that is not shown in the photo

- The Amp (in front of the Tour) : The Amp is a small mobile phone holster which I use every day to carry my Motorola Razr around on my belt. I wish they made a sleeve large enough for my Blackberry! The Amp's oversized top-flap and excessive use of Velcro ensures my phone is always in its case even when constantly being banged by camera equipment, lens pouches or waist packs. It has been by far the best mobile phone holster I have ever used........and I have used mine for over a year now since I first spotted the Amp at the Kittery Trading Post up in Maine.

Well there you go, my regular line-up of Mountainsmith bags (and yes I have others that are old and worn out elsewhere, but I wasn't emptying my entire closet into the back of my car)..........and why the Volvo again (I used the bumper in this week's post on the Sony PSP), I just felt like photographing my car for no real reason :0)

Happy Flying!

--Click Image To Enlarge It--

22 July 2008

Flying With Fish Signs Contract To Write "The Traveling Photographer's Essential Pocket Guide."

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

22/07/2008 - Flying With Fish Signs Contract To Write "The Traveling Photographer's Essential Pocket Guide."

OK, so it is not Flying With Fish 'The Book'.............but it is "The Traveling Photographer's Essential Pocket Guide."

After a few months of discussion, this afternoon I just signed and returned my contract to an international publishing firm to be commission to write a guide on how to travel as a photographer.

"The Traveling Photographer's Essential Pocket Guide" will be a hand on, nuts-and-bolts, guide to how to travel as a photographer. Quite a lot of the information should also be useful for when you're not traveling as a photographer as well! From obvious topics of travel logistics to the less obvious subjects of using local SIM cards in your mobile phone I'll cover all the essential topics, as well as many often over look topics as well.

This book will not discuss the technical aspects of shooting. This book will in no way address 'travel photography.' For those subjects there are many established books on the market, but I have yet to see one that deals with the actual ins-and-outs of travel as a photographer.

This book is intended for everyone from a novice on their first journey to seasoned travelers who are experienced on the road.

My deadline to finish the book is June 1 2009, with any luck it should be done being written in half-the-time.

When "The Traveling Photographer's Essential Pocket Guide" comes out you folks will all be the first to know!

Happy Flying!

21 July 2008

Long Haul Flight Sanity Revisited : 'Pimp Your PSP'

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

21/07/2008 - Long Haul Flight Sanity Revisited : 'Pimp Your PSP'

Having traveled extensively with my Sony Play Station Portable (PSP) over the last few months I have become very fond of this pocket sized source of entertainment.

I have discussed the Sony PSP in previous posts, such as this post 15/04/2008 - Long Haul Flight Sanity : Hand Held Movies. As I have integrated my Sony PSP into my 'travel sanity' it has become my entertainment device of choice. Compared to using my laptop or portable DVD player the Sony PSP offers far more advantages than disadvantages. Obviously the PSP's screen is far smaller than that of a laptop or portable DVD, but it's ability to keep someone entertained for hours and hours and hours while in-transit more than makes up for screen size.

On a recent 70-hour journey that took me from New York to Beijing to Hong Kong to Beijing to New York I was able to use my PSP to watch movies for an astonishing 13 hours on two batteries. Once I arrived in Hong Kong I charged both batteries and watched movies on the entire return leg as well, try that with a laptop or portable DVD player.

How did I get such incredible battery life? Simple, I moved away from the 'UMD' disk movies and ripped movies from DVD directly to Memory-Stick Duo flash media. A single 4gb Memory Stick Duo can hold 8 movies! By using a Memory Stick Duo rather than a UMD disk the PSP draws no power for spinning the disk or reading the disk. Playing a movie on the PSP with these memory devices draws almost no power from the PSP when compared to other options. Solid-state memory increases battery life while also cutting down on significant space taken up by UMD disks. It is a win-win way to store your movies.

Since handling the PSP in you hands to watch a movie can be tiresome I travel with PSP Swing-Grip from Naki. For US$15 I can place my PSP in the Swing-Case, which doubles as a stand. The case can be used for transporting your PSP, or keeping it clan while playing games on your PSP. I personally transport my PSP in another case, but use the Swing-Grip to prop up the PSP to watch movies on the tray table to while away the hours.

So what now travels in my ultra-compact PSP-Kit?
- Newswear Small Press Pouch (everythink fits in the Newswear Pouch)
- Naki Swing-Case
- Skull Candy 'Low Rider' headsets
- Sony PSP (Limited Edition Star Wars model)
- Two 2gb Memory-Stick Duos / Two 4gb Memory-Stick Duos
- Spare PSP extended life 2200mah battery
- Sony PSP power supply
- Manhattan Portage 1004 Accessory Case (sleeve for PSP)

This kit fits neatly in even the tightest of packing situations (for ultra-tight packing situations I don't pack the Skull Candy headsets). The space taken up by this set up is far smaller than that of the most compact portable DVD player.

Elsewhere in my gear I pack an addition external PSP battery charger and second 'spare' 2200mah battery for the PSP. I also pack a set of Sony MDR-NC22 noise canceling headsets.

Below is a photo of my 'PSP Sanity Kit' on the bumper of my 1990 Volvo 245. Why is it on the bumper of my Volvo wagon at the beach? No idea, I just felt like playing around (a similar style shoot may show up again later this week :0))

Happy Flying!
--Click Image To Enlarge--

18 July 2008

18/07/2008-The Weekly Round Up : US Airways Reduces Fuel On Planes : Bag Winners Announced : Airline Humour : New Airline Missile Defense System

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

18/07/2008-The Weekly Round Up : US Airways Reduces Fuel On Planes : Bag Winners Announced : Airline Humour : New Airline Missile Defense System

US Airways has been cutting costs hand-over-first in recent months and shedding loyal frequent flyers in a pattern that could be only be described as an exodus from the airline. Now, in addition to frequent flyers being at odds with the airline, pilots at US Airways are troubled with US Airways' decision to reduce the amount of fuel loaded onto aircraft and take retaliatory measures against long-haul captains who order additional fuel for their aircraft as allowed by the FAA. You can about this clash between US Airways management and the pilots in this post: 14/07/2008 – US Airways Reduces Fuel On Aircraft To Reduce Fuel Expenses!

The entries have been read and Flying With Fish has selected three winners of 'The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish!' It was a difficult decision to narrow down some fantastic stories down to three, but it was great fun reading each and every entry. You can read the winning worst case scenario entries here: 16/07/2008 – Winners Announced For 'The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish'

We all need to laugh and the late comedic genius George Carlin created one of the best spoofs on airline announcements ever created. If you'd like to add some humour to your day (and you're not at work where everyone can hear your audio and/or your kids are out of ear shot) you can watch George Carlin's brilliant sketch by clicking here:
16/07/2008 – A Humourous View Of 'Airline Announcements'

This week saw the launch of the first commercial aircraft loaded with passengers fly with the JetEye Infrared Missile-Defense System, and the start of the final phase of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) 'Counter-Man-Portable Air Defense System (C-MANPADS). ' To learn a bit more about the JetEye anti-missile system check out: 16/07/2008 – Airline Missile Defense System Takes Flight With First Commercial Passenger Flight

It has been well documented that I am a fan of the AeroChannel web site, in turn it can easily be documented that the folks at AeroChannel enjoy Flying With Fish. So Flying With Fish and AeroChannel have decided to team up and begin creating 'TheHub Guide.' To find out more on 'The Hub Guide' check this post out: 16/07/2008 – Airline Missile Defense System Takes Flight With First Commercial Passenger Flight

That's it for this week......so Happy Flying!

17 July 2008

Flying With Fish Teams With AeroChannel To Create 'The Hub Guide'

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

17/07/2008 - Flying With Fish Teams With AeroChannel To Create 'The Hub Guide'

As Flying With Fish continues to grow and AeroChannel flourishes we have decided to team up and work together to create a specific project together, 'The Hub Guide.'

I'm not sure what 'The Hub Guide' may ultimately be named, but the purpose of this Guide is clear. 'The Hub Guide will be a definitive hands-on source guide to major airports (and some minor ones along the way as well). This guide will be written in a straight forward user friendly format detailing what to do in your downtime while transiting 'Hubs.'

The initial guide will highlight a number of major hub airports in the United States. Each airport will have simple user-information such as quiet places to sit and relax, places to find what little privacy is available to sleep, where you can find wifi (and/or free wifi in some case), shower facilities, entertainment options and where possible easy ways to head into the city and enjoy your downtime outside the airport.

I'll begin traveling for AeroChannel in the next few weeks to bring you the first three or four airports. We hope to grow this guide slowly and steadily to bring travelers the most reliable source for how to best utilize the amenities (and in many cases the lack of amenities) during your layovers around the United States.

If this guide is a success who knows, we may bring you the World hub Guide

Happy Flying!

16 July 2008

Airline Missile Defense System Takes Flight With First Commercial Passenger Flight

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

16/07/2008 – Airline Missile Defense System Takes Flight With First Commercial Passenger Flight

This morning an American Airlines (AA) Boeing 767-223 (762), departing New York's JFK International Airport (JFK), for it's 5-hour 34-minute flight to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The AA 762 slowly pushed back from Terminal 8's Gate #4, it made it's way to taxi-way 'Whiskey' then rolled to taxi-way 'Bravo' and then wound it's way to it's departure runway, it powered up its engines and lifted off into the sky................

What made this routine daily flight between JFK-to-LAX different than all others? This flight was the first ever U.S. passenger plane to complete a passenger flight with the BAE Systems created JetEye Infrared Missile-Defense System. The JetEye system detects a heat-seaking missile, and defends the aircraft by firing it's own laser that diverts the in-bound missile away from the aircraft.

With security experts fearing the use of a shoulder-launched heat seeking missile, such as those used in attacks on commercial aircraft in Baghdad and Kenya, this system can thwart potential attacks, if installed on 'high-probibilty-target' aircraft. It is unclear what determines a 'high-probibility-target' aircraft, however that is an entirely different subject to cover.

While the installing of the JetEye is not intended to be mandatory on commercial aircraft in the United States, American Airlines will be installing the system on two additional 762 aircraft. These 762 aircraft, like the one that flew today, will fly domestically only on daily trans-continental routes. These commercial passenger flights will be used by BAE Systems engineers to test the reliability and maintainability of the system.

Over the past few months tests of the JetEye system has been evaluated on an ABX Air aircraft 767-232F, as well as eleven FedEx MD-10F and MD-11F. The FedEx test aircraft have been flying with the JetEye system for over a year and logged more than 4,500 flights.

Of all the press literature release regarding the maiden commercial passenger flights, I think by far the best quote from an American Airlines spokesperson is this: "No missiles will be fired at these flights."

This quote leaves me with two questions
1) Who in their right mind would fire missiles at a flight full of passengers to test a weapons defense system?
2) If no missiles are being fired at these aircraft (not that missiles should be fired at the AA,ABX or FedEx aircraft) how does BAE Systems know that the system is reliable and maintainable?

A third question does come to mind.....if the missiles are diverted away from the aircraft, where is the missile redirected to?

The JetEye Infrared Missile-Defense System is the final phase of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 'Counter-Man-Portable Air Defense System' (C-MANPADS). This program was established to test the sustainability of a commercial aircraft missile protection systems. The testing of these systems should run for a minimum of 7,000 flight hours.

Happy Flying!

A Humourous View Of 'Airline Announcements'

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

16/07/2008 – A Humourous View Of 'Airline Announcements'

In the past few months I have been tackling the serious subjects of airport security, personal security in transit and airlines liquidating and going out of business.

As I have been rereading some information on aircraft being grounded due to the FAA Inspectors making glaring mistakes in their inspection of aircraft, the spiraling costs of fuel driving the cost of travel up and the increased problems with airport security I decided I needed some humour.

To break up the serious topics I have been covering, and give you a good laugh, I have dug up a classic stand-up routine by late comedian George Carlin that dissects the 'Airline Announcements' we all hear as we travel on commercial aircraft.

So......make sure you don't watch the following videos while at work with the volume up. Don't watch the following videos if you are easily offended. Don't watch the following videos with your kids around.

No, there is no violence, no adult content, just a good long hysterical rant in a way that uniquely George Carlin.

Kick back, relax and be prepared to laugh!

--Click The Videos Below To Watch & Laugh--
Part 1

Part 2

Winners Announced For 'The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish'

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

16/07/2008 – Winners Announced For 'The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish'

Choosing the top three 'worst case scenarios' most deserving of the Mountainsmith Parallax photo backpack for first place; the Mountainsmith Day Pack for second place and the Mountainsmith Cyber II for the third place was difficult.

I have read more than 100 entries (and tossed a few, including a personal favourite that involved being abducted by aliens) before whittling down the entries to make it to the 'next round.' From this 'next round' I sought the insight from a few expert travelers. The decision on the final three entries has taken a few days of deliberations. I hoped to have my winners first thing Tuesday morning, but in reality I kept coming back to five entries, and ultimately had to make my decisions from these final five.

So what were the winning entries in the 'The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish'? Let's find out!
1st Place: David Ringrose takes home a Mountainsmith Parallax!
Have Crowbar, Will Travel
I was traveling by rail in Portugal, watching the countryside go by. Suddenly there was a horrble screeching noise, and I saw that rocks and pieces of metal were flying past the carriage windows at a high rate of speed. My first thought was, "We've been derailed!" So I grabbed the bottom of my bench seat waiting for the carriage to tip one way or the other.

The locals began sticking their heads out the windows, this seemed crazy to me since things were still whizzing past. Luckily nothing was flying up at an angle to hit one of these brave, or stupid, souls. The train slowed and came to a stop, and several of us got off the train to see what had happened. The brakeman was out of the locomotive looking at a small car that was now attached to the front of the locomotive and there was a man running in our direction from the other direction, the driver as I later learned.

Immediately, visions of being stuck here for hours waiting on the Portugese version of the NTSB to show up, while my friend who was being married in two days waited for me to arrive at my destination. I walked forward to see if I could be of any assistance. As I walked past the locomotive the engineer handed me a crowbar, using the international, "take this" sign, since I don't speak Portugese.

Thankfully there was no one in the car, and amazingly the car radio was still playing. Several of the men were trying to push the car off the tracks. When they saw me with the crowbar they waved me up onto the car. So I crawled up there and started prying the car and locomotive apart at a couple of points where they'd become melded together. With a lot of heaving and pidgin and about ten minutes of work we managed to get the two separated and were on our way. Leaving behind one destroyed small car, with a working radio, and an upset, yet relieved driver. We managed to get to my destination only twenty minutes late.

My travel tips from this experience. Follow the wisdom of the Hitchhiker's Guide [to the Galaxy], DON'T PANIC. It also helps to keep your sense of humor, and your worst case
scenario can become an adventure, and a great story.

(Sidenote from Fish: I love the 4th book in the Hitchhikers Guide trilogy "So Long and Thanks For All The Fish")

2nd Place: Rikk Flohr (www.fleetingglimpse.com) takes home a Mountainsmith Day!
"My scheduled 20-day shoot began on June 1st of this year. I would shoot a sculpture workshop at Mt. Rushmore, Waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon, Devil's Tower, a family reunion, a family portrait, and a week camping in the Bighorn Mountains.

I arrived at Rushmore on Monday - Day 2 and attended the workshop without my gear to scope the location. Afterwards, I secured a campsite at Grizzly Gulch and decided to hike in to photograph the Grizzly Bear Falls. Forgoing my entire backpack of gear, I slung a 40D with 17-40 and a 5D with a 70-200 zoom over each shoulder and set out.

Recent heavy rains eroded the stream banks rather severely. The boulder at the base of the falls onto which I stepped gave way, tipping me into the stream, depositing me and my gear into a 5-foot deep pool of icy rushing water. The 5D and telephoto zoom went completely under. The 40D and wide angle zoom were doused but I managed to get them out of the water quickly. It took nearly 10 seconds of flailing about to get my feet underneath me and the cameras out of the water.

Sloshing back to my tent, I reflected on my options. I was on Day 2 of a 20 day safari and I was without my main camera and my backup without having fired a shutter. My cell phone was protected in my breast pocket and still worked, as did the key fob for my Prius so I had transportation and phone service. I called my wife and had her ship my backup 5D and my ancient 20D via Fed Ex for a Day 4 arrival. I called my insurance company (I carry a rider for my gear) and reported the accident.

Two trips into Rapid City for desiccant and the ultimate post-mortems at Ritz Camera to satisfy the underwriter and I had assurances a check was on the way. Day 4 came, the backup gear arrived. I was back in business. My wife called on Day 5 and had the check in hand. The order to B&H was placed and on Day 9, the replacement gear was delivered. One shoot was cancelled due to lack of gear and a few shots were salvaged by using the 2.0 MP cell
phone camera to get the shots I needed for my blog.

Days 10-20 were a picnic by comparison."

Third Place: Melody Bostad (www.oneeyedesigns.com) takes home a Mountainsmith Cyber II!
I should be used to it by now. I live in Seattle! Yet, there I was, in Boston on July 4 all set to photograph fireworks for the first time. My friend and I staked out a great location hours before the start of the show. I didn’t have any problems setting up the tripod, camera
settings and cable release were ready – and then the rain came. It wasn’t just a light drizzle but the kind of rain you can swim in. Put my hat on my Canon 20D to help protect it from the water but I didn’t even have a lens hood on the camera so rain was pelting the lens, ruining any chance of still getting a decent shot of the fireworks. Not wanting to lose my spot in search of protection from the elements, I tore up a walking map of Boston I had in my pocket, wrapped it around the lens, and swiped my friend’s hair tie to secure the paper. Viola! A temporary lens hood. I happened to have a clear plastic shower cap that I took from the hotel a while back (read in a book that they can be useful in such a situation) and placed it around the rest of the camera. I ended up getting some great shots of the fireworks and even better memories.

My next stop on my vacation was New York were I bought a camera rain protector from B & H


I want to thank everyone for their entries, and I especially want to thank Mountainsmith for their support of Flying With Fish's reader........and Ingrid at Mountainsmith! Without Ingrid this contest would never have existed. THANK YOU INGRID!

Happy Flying!

14 July 2008

US Airways Reduces Fuel On Aircraft To Reduce Fuel Expenses!

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

14/07/2008 – US Airways Reduces Fuel On Aircraft To Reduce Fuel Expenses!

Recently US Airways announced it would be removing the in-flight entertainment systems from approximately 200 aircraft in an effort to save fuel. In theory I am sure this make sense, but then again the entertainment screens on the US Airways' AirbusA320 family’ of aircraft swing down from the overhead every few rows. I am sure removing integrated monitors is quite expensive and then those 'gaps' need to be filled.

Does the removal of in-flight entertainment mean US Airways crews will go back to doing the pre-flight safety demonstration rather than having us watch a monitor?

I an quite interested in the pre-flight safety briefing because US Airways has recently butted heads with pilots over the airline cutting back on the fuel being loaded onto their aircraft.

Airlines have stripped us of meals, some airlines charge us for soft-drinks, there are fewer-to-no pillows, blankets are a hard to find commodity, even the pretzels can be a hard find on some flights. Airlines have also reduced the value of the frequent flyer programs terribly over the last year. I can deal with the reduced 'amenities' on the flights I take the reduced value of my frequent flyer miles.

What I cannot fathom is actually reducing the amount of fuel loaded onto an aircraft.

The flights that this affects the most are the trans-Atlantic (TATL), Pacific/Hawaii (TPac) and trans-Continental (trans-con) flights. Currently eight senior captains with US Airways have been sent off to take fuel conservation training after ordering additional fuel for their aircraft, before departing on trans-Atlantic flights. US Airways states that pilots are able to determine how much fuel they need, but those who order additional fuel, on-top of what was delivered to the aircraft by the airline directly, will be required to take fuel conservation training.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for conserving fuel.

Aircraft now push out from their gates on one engine, rather than two engines (or three engines, or four engines), some airlines use a 'tug' to pull their aircraft further out into the field to save fuel. Aircraft generally shut down at gates now and are powered by auxiliary power while at the gate for lights, air, etc.

The place a pilot does not want to start thinking about their fuel needs is at end of a 3,728 miles trans-Atlantic flight when the tower is telling them they need to abort the landing and go around because something out of their control is blocking their approach.

US Airways corporate media relations’ states “We’re not instructing pilots to make a decision that could even remotely compromise the safe operation of their aircraft to save fuel.” However if they use intimidation tactics to prevent pilots from operating their aircraft within the safety limits they believe is required to fly the aircraft then the safety and lives of the passengers the pilot is responsible for is compromised.

I have disagreed with many of US Airways' decisions in the past year. I had been a US Airways 'Platinum" frequent flyer and moved all my frequent flyer miles to another Star Alliance airline due to their anti-passenger tactics, while still flying on their aircraft. US Airways is the only airline at my 'home airport' (New Haven - HVN) and on trans-Atlantic flights I have preferred their Airbus A333 (A330-323x) service over quite a few other US flag carrier airlines. These tactics are not 'anti-passenger,' they are potentially reckless and will probably go unchecked until a plane falls out of the sky as a result of the corporate decision to reduce fuel being delivered to aircraft.

......I can't in Good Faith end this entry with 'Happy Flying!'

11 July 2008

11/07/2008-The Weekly Round Up : Watching The World Go By; The 'New' FareCompare; 12 CEOs Send Out An 'Open Letter'; Southwest & WestJet Team Up; Etc

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

11/07/2008-The Weekly Round Up : Watching The World Go By; The 'New' FareCompare; 12 CEOs Send Out An 'Open Letter'; Southwest & WestJet Team Up; Etc

This week has been an interesting week for industry news, with the CEOs of 12 major U.S. Airlines signing a single 'Open Letter" to all airline customers and US low cost carrier Southwest Airlines and Canadian low cost carrier WestJet announcing their international code-share agreement plan. From a consumer stand point , this week also saw the launch of some new FareCompare tools that make the economic decisions in choosing flights clearer to understand.

.......so here we go, The Weekly Round Up!

We kicked off this week on a flight that left San Francisco on the 4th of July and landed in Philadelphia on the 5th of July. I seem to miss the Independence Day fireworks more often than I'd like. Sometimes I see them from the sky on departure, sometimes on arrival, and this year all I saw was dense fog. I often this of home, and my time away from my kids on overnight flights, it's bed time and rather than saying goodnight I'm taking off. So on my red-eye flight this past Friday I sat down in Seat 22A, on United Flight 188, and wrote this entry: 5/07/2008 - Watching The World Go By

My coverage of the business of travel began with my review of FareComare's new tools for booking travel. In the past I had used FareCompare as 'base tool,' never relying much on the actual costs I was being shown. FareCompare's new tools, and access to booking engines, is quite accurate from what I have seen and is quite powerful. The potential booking options are fantastic and are not to be overlooked. If you'd like to read more about FareCompare's new and improved site click here: 9/07/2008 - FareCompare Updates Travel Tools

The first 'big news' of the week I chose to write about was an 'Open Letter To All Airline Customers,' that was sent out by 12 major U.S. airlines and signed by all 12 airline CEOs. Airlines argue about nearly everything, airlines argue externally, they argue internally and in some cases they argue with their customers......so when I stopped and read the e-mail and saw 12 separate CEOs signatures I had to stop and read the content. The airlines have banded together to try and address the critical issue of the rising cost of fuel, and the over inflated cost of crude-oil. To find out these 12 airline CEOs banded together to say, check out this post: 9/07/2008 - Open Letter From 12 Major U.S. Airlines To All Airline Customers

The second 'big news' of the week I dove into was the code-share agreement announcement by Southwest Airlines and WestJet. Southwest Airlines is, and has been, purely a US domestic airlines, while WestJet is heavily focused on Canadian domestic routes, and routes to warmer, popular, destination routes frequented by Canadians (and one business routes to Newark Liberty Int'l Airport - EWR). These two airlines compliment each other in many ways and I very much look forward to flying their code-shared routes! To find out more on why I think Southwest and WestJet compliment each other so well, check here: 11/07/2008 – Southwest Airlines & WestJet Forge Code-Share Agreement : Is There A More Perfect Match For Two Airlines?

This week I officially launched 'The Travel Strategist." Although I have been contacted by a number of journalists who cover business, airlines and travel, and written up in international business journals such as 'Arabian Business,' the write up that made me smile the most was the one on AeroChannel.com. I have been following AeroChannel's growth over the last few months and love the services they offer their readers. To be recognized by a site that believe will take off, and really streamline much of the pre-flght logistics checks, was something that I really enjoyed. You can read what AeroChannel said about 'The Travel Strategist' here: 11/07/2008 – Flying With Fish 'Offshoot' The Travel Strategist Featured On AeroChannel.com

.........'The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish' deadline is almost here! Your entries must be in by the 14th of July at 12:midnight eastern-time (GMT -5)! To learn more about how you can win one of three great Mountainsmith bags for your travels check this entry out: 10/07/2008 - Mountainsmith Bag Giveaway Deadline Is Rapidly Approaching!!!

Like last week, I will be rounding up my 'Weekly Round Up' with the reminder that there are still seats available or the No Jet Lag Photo Workshops. Both the Europe Workshop and the Round The World Workshop are designed to push the participants to the edge of what they think they are capable of handling as both photographers and travelers. There are whole new sets of skills awaiting you. Sign up now and Come Fly With Fish! For more info visit: www.comeflywithfish.com

Happy Flying!

Flying With Fish 'Offshoot' The Travel Strategist Featured On AeroChannel.com

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

11/07/2008 – Flying With Fish 'Offshoot' The Travel Strategist Featured On AeroChannel.com

Not to long ago I had written about a new web site for travelers on the run, AeroChannel.com. AeroChannel.com, while still in its start up phase has continually been a great 'one-stop'source of information for me while on the road. The site's information on flight information, delay information, gate information has been fantastic. A few hick-ups here and there, but overall AeroChannel.com has replaced other online sources I have frequented when tracking my flight status. For those quick moments when I want to read content rather than flight information, I have come to enjoy their regular columnist Katie O'Brien's "FlyGirl Blog."

......anyway, a few minutes ago my Blackberry pinged me with a "Google Alert." For those of you who don't know what a Google Alert is, it is a feature Google offers that sends you an e-mail every time a specific search phrase pops up online......well this evening's ping was that my new venture "The Travel Strategist" was written up on AeroChannel.com

It is nice to read that AeroChannel.com thinks my concepts for business travel are to the benefit of those who can use my information, and it is nice to see AeroChannel growing on a regular basis.

You can read AeroChannel's write up on The Travel Strategist here:

Happy Flying!

Southwest Airlines & WestJet Forge Code-Share Agreement : Is There A More Perfect Match For Two Airlines?

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

11/07/2008 – Southwest Airlines & WestJet Forge Code-Share Agreement : Is There A More Perfect Match For Two Airlines?

Earlier this week two airlines I am fond of, that serve largely the same client base, came together to announce their intentions of forming a code-share agreement. One airline is a U.S. domestic airline that does not fly outside it's U.S. boarders, the other is the second largest airline in Canada that services Canada from coast-to-coast and popular US, Mexico and the Caribbean.

These two airlines are Southwest Airlines (WN) in the United States and WestJet (M3) in Canada. If I scoured the list of airlines that could compliment each other in a more fitting manner I'd be hard pressed to do so.

Southwest Airlines is the largest no-frills airline in the United States. Southwest Airlines flies an all Boeing 737 fleet. Southwest Airlines prides its self on its corporate culture of keeping their employees involved and empowering their employees to do what they need to do in order to make customer service a top priority.

WestJet was founded in 1996,and based heavily on Southwest Airlines' success and business model. Like Southwest Airlines, WestJet flies an all Boeing 737 fleet. West has a similar corporate culture to Southwest Airlines with more than three-quarters of the company stock being owned by its employees.

What does this code-share agreement offer flyers once it comes online? It will offer WestJet passengers access to U.S. domestic routes through Southwest Airlines focus cities such as Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX), Los Angeles (LAX), Orlando (MCO), Fort Lauderdale (FLL)and Tampa Bay (TPA). Previously, WestJet passengers would fly other airlines to enter the US to avoid purchasing two separate tickets, and not being able to 'interline' baggage on flights.

What are the benefits to Southwest Airlines passengers? Oddly enough, it will give Southwest Airlines passengers access to not only Canada, but also other destinations such as Kona (KOA), Maui (OGG) and Honolulu (HNL). It is always fun flying internationally just to make a domestic connection. I am eager to see how Southwest Airlines and WestJet make this work.

Passengers should be able to fly through Southwest Airlines' hub in Las Vegas, to connect to a quick flight up to Vancouver, and then out to Hawaii. In reality this type of flying is not that much longer than other potential connection options, for flyers (like me) who must make connections to fly anywhere.

When two airlines so closely match each other in corporate culture, services offer, same aircraft type, with a very similar customer base it seems like a perfect match that was just waiting to happen.

I am excited for this code-share agreement and can't wait to test it out in the future!

Below is a photo I shot of a Southwest Airlines 737 with a WestJet 737......yes they are both toy planes I happen to have sitting on a shelf in my living room (they are my kids toy planes......I swear)

Happy Flying!

--Click Image Below To Enlarge It--

10 July 2008

Mountainsmith Bag Giveaway Deadline Is Rapidly Approaching!!!

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

10/07/2008 - Mountainsmith Bag Giveaway Deadline Is Rapidly Approaching!!!

Come on, you know you want to win a Mountainsmith bag to load up your gear and go! Many travelers are procrastinators. Many photographers are worse procrastinators than travelers, so here is a friendly reminder that 'The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish' deadline is just a few days away !!

The deadline is the 14th of July at Midnight New York time.

Why New York time? Because it is the center of the universe! Yep, that's right, it is home to three incredibly important airports. New York is home to some of the most congested airspace on the planet. You can fly nearly anywhere from New York (often non-stop!) . The World tunes in to watch 'the new year' begin in Times Square. New York is was home to the first airline lounge (the American Airlines Admirals Club at Glenn H. Curtiss Airport , now known as LaGuardia Airport). Most importantly, New York is the place of my birth ..................... oh yea, and I happen to live outside New York in the GMT-5 time-zone (but that answer is really boring).

What do you have to do to win one of three great Mountainsmith bags? Well to win a Mountainsmith Parallax, Mountainsmith Day or Mountainsmith Cyber II, you need to tell the 'worst case scenario' you have experienced on the road and how you overcame it!

Your ordeal and triumph must be 400 words or less. I need the details of what and where your worst case scenario happened and I need the details of how you overcame the situation to keep on going (FYI: telling me you ended up in jail is not a solution to overcoming a travel problem).

Any stories that seem a little far-fetched will be verified; also I have read the "worse case scenario" series of books, so no lifting material from there; I also read Flyer Talk and can search the archives so no ripping off material!

Once you have correctly recalled the details of your ordeal and triumph send me an e-mail of 400 words or less! The e-mail address your entry should go to is : traveltips@flyingwithfish.com

Remember, 12:00 midnight, July 14th ....... New York Standard Time (or Eastern Standard Time, or GMT-5, or Zulu-5, etc etc etc). Late entries will end up in the trash.

Happy Flying!

09 July 2008

Open Letter From 12 Major U.S. Airlines To All Airline Customers

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

9/07/2008 - Open Letter From 12 Major U.S. Airlines To All Airline Customers

It's not often any US airlines can agree on much. Even within airline alliances airlines fight to distance themselves and stand alone in the airline industry. Today the CEOs of twelve major carriers in the United States sent out a joint open letter to all of their customers. While I often skip the e-mails I receive from the airlines that are 'letters from the CEO' I stopped and took notice of this e-mail.

It was not actually the single e-mail I stopped and took note of, it was that I received the exact same e-mail from Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, US Airways, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Northwest Airlines (I don't get e-mails from the remaining 5 carriers).

Rather than recount the content of the 'Open Letter" I have posted the actual "Open Letter To All Airline Customers" as signed by the CEOs of AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Midwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.

Once you finish reading the 'Open Letter To All Airlines Customers' which is posted immediately following this text, please visit www.stopoilspeculationnow.com/sos

Happy Flying!

--Click Below To Read The Open Letter To All Airline Customers--

FareCompare Updates Travel Tools

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

9/07/2008 - FareCompare Updates Travel Tools

For years many flyers have used FareCompare's (www.farecompare.com) search tools to find multiple travel options, while comparing pricing options.

The 'old' FareCompare was a bit challenging to use at times, however overall it was a good option for quickly referencing multiple options. The 'new' FareCompare's tools not only streamline the process of searching multiple flight options, but the information displayed is more detailed and makes understanding your purchasing options clearer.

Rather than searching for a flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR) and seeing only
NZ - $786
BA - $1093
UA - $1089

The new fare compare shows you the airline (by code), fare class, cabin, advance purchase requirement, trip type (one way or round trip), base fare, fuel surcharge, international surcharge (which is often nearly the same cost as the base fare on this route), taxes, total.....and my favourite options, it shows you the Price Per Mile (PPM).

This information gives you a more informed choice on airfares and the "PPM" is an excellent tool for really knowing what your trip is costing you!

So for an Air New Zealand (NZ) flight from LAX to LHR you'll see the break down
Airline: NZ
Fare Class: GX12SL
Cabin: Coach
Adv Pur: 7 days
Trip: Roundtrip
Base: $414
Fuel: $0
Intl Sur: $200
Taxes: $172
Total: $786
PPM: $0.14

With this, you can also search the Fare Rules, Flight Schedules and Routing Information. If you want to fly a specific routing you are can also search to filter out specific airlines, you can search by airline alliance, as well as by trip type, base price, total price.......and even search by your price per mile.

While this information might seem confusing or more info than you want to know, it is a great tool for selecting your preferred travel routes and creating cost-controls for your travel expenditures.

So, planning your next trip? Check out the 'new' tools at:

Happy Flying!

05 July 2008

Watching The World Go By

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

5/07/2008 - Watching The World Go By

As I sit here in seat 22A, on a United Airlines red-eye flight between San Francisco (SFO) and Philadelphia (PHL), I often can't help but watch the world go by. It's not because I am forced to sit in a window seat on 99% of my flights, because obviously I usually have the option of choosing my seat.

As I began my journey from the west coast to the east coast tonight (my fourth flight in 3 days and my second transcontinental flight in two days), our plane lifted off into a clear sky, through a dense fog (that blocked many in San Francisco from viewing the evening's fireworks display), and as we climbed out and United Flight 188 was handed off from 'NorCal Departure' to the next Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower the sky opened up again. Through a clear black sky I can see for hundreds of miles, from small pockets of light indicating a small town surrounded by emptiness to sprawling cities and endless clusters of lights.

The view from an airplane view can be monotonous. On long flights over the oceans you see nothing but water for hours at a time. Sometimes you'll see another plane in and can watch it pace you, pass you, or go in its own direction. However there are scenes of beauty you can never see from the ground, the colours of a sunrise or sunset dancing on the tops of clouds. The view of a full moon over the North Pole is breath taking, as is watching the sunrise and set over the polar ice cap.

The anticipation of flying to a destination near the coast and seeing the first glimpse of land and of course, the best view of watching your hometown come into view.

When I depart certain runways from New York's JFK I still have the same sense of giddiness when I can look down and spot where I grew up on, or the see the beach I was spend all my childhood summers on. On approaches into JFK and LaGuardia (LGA) I can enjoy the skyline I grew up in the shadow of from a vantage point that is unlike any others. I look forward to flying certain routes into Providence (PVD) that hug the Connecticut Shoreline as I can look out and often spot the town I am raising my kids in below me, this lets me know I'll be home soon.

So as I muse about watching the world go by, and how much I enjoy watching the landscape, the terrain, the awesome beauty of watching the Grand Canton pass by at sunset and the spectacle of the twinkling lights of Las Vegas after dark, one thing stays in the front of my mind.......

..........the best view is that of watching my home come into sight because the best flight is always the one that brings you home.

Happy Flying!

04 July 2008

4/07/2008-The Weekly Round Up : New Mountainsmith Giveaway Deadline : Anatomy Of Airport Security : Easy Baggage IDs : Why Can't I Fly When I Want?

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

4/07/2008-The Weekly Round Up : New Mountainsmith Giveaway Deadline : Anatomy Of Airport Security : Easy Baggage IDs : Why Can't I Fly When I Want?

This week's weekly round up is brought you to from my perch on a cement wall overlooking the San Francisco Bay and San Francisco International Airport's (SFO) Runway 28L/28R. It's Independence Day here in The United States and I'm off to photograph a wedding here in San Francisco then catch the overnight night flight to Philadelphia to photograph another wedding there tomorrow morning.......ahhh the freedom flight can give us sometimes!

We kicked off this week on Flying With Fish the announcement that the Mountainsmith Bag Giveaway deadline has been extended! For you procrastinators out there who have not submitted the traveling worse case scenario you have experienced you now have until NEXT WEEK! That's right folks; you have until July 14th to get your entries in! You can find out more details here:
30/6/2008 - Mountainsmith Bag Give Away Deadline Extended!

As I took my first flight of the week it occurred to me that I have never walked the readers of Flying With Fish through a security checkpoint from start to finish. I rectified this situation in this post: 2/07/2008 - Anatomy Of An Airport Security Checkpoint

For those of you frustrated with an airline at times telling you 'we can't locate your bag' when it has been delayed, I detailed one bag I often travel with that has made this excuse from an airline impossible to believe. Find out how I labeled one of my bags here: 3/07/2008 - Clear Baggage Identification - Revisited

Planning a trip can be difficult when there are no flights when you want to depart. Find out why you can't always fly when you want in this entry: 4/07/2008 - Why Can't I Fly When I Want To Fly?

I'll finish up this weekly round up with the reminder that there are still seats available or the No Jet Lag Photo Workshops. The Europe Workshop and the Round The World Workshop are both designed to push their participants to the edge of what they think they are capable of handling as both photographers and travelers! There are whole new sets of skills awaiting you......sign up now and Come Fly With Fish! For more info click here: 30/6/2008 - Join The No Jet Lag Photo Workshops: Push Your Travel & Photography Skills To A Whole New Level!

Have a Happy 4th Of July! I should see the fireworks this evening just as my flight lifts off over the San Francisco Bay

Happy Flying!