About Me

Steven Frischling
Live: HVN
Contact Me

Steven Frischling, aka: Fish, is globe hopping professional photographer, airline emerging media consultant working with large global airlines and founder of The Travel Strategist. Fish has racked up more than 1,000,000 miles since he started to track his mileage in 2005.

Fish's travel tends to be less than leisurely, including flying from New York to Basrah, Iraq, for six hours; Hong Kong for eight hours, Kuwait City for two hours and traveling around the world in 3.5 days to shoot a series of photo assignments in 4 cities and 4 countries on 3 separate continents.

Fish grew up at the end of New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L, which probably explains his enjoyment of watching planes, fly overhead. When not shooting photos or traveling Fish designs camera bags, hones is expertise on airline security and spends his time at home cheering for the Red Sox with his 3 kids 102 yards from the ocean.

Keeping #SkyTeamRTW Powered Up & Operating In the Sky … The Hyperjuice Battery

Trying to work during a project that at times has you off and running looking for content in not just two different cities a day, but two countries in two separate time zones a day, creates many logistics challenges. Everything must be fluid and you need to handle whatever is presented to you. Delayed flights, ticketing issues, the unexpected 75 minute interview with Chinese Immigrations officials, rain, but regardless of what obstacle is in front of you content must be created, conversations must be followed up on and the time for much of this to happen is in flight.


Yes, while traveling for #SkyTeamRTW I relied on small pocket batteries while out exploring cities, but those batteries don’t provide enough juice to create an office in sky, especially with many economy class seats lacking in-seat power of any kind. Needing to charge a laptop, iPad and multiple phones, as well at times other smaller batteries, poses some unique power challenges. To make sure work continues, even if everything is in flux, a HyperJuice MBP2-100 Battery is always in “The Bag.” This relatively compact battery has provided our 11” MacBook Air enough power to run well over a dozen hours, while simultaneously being used to charge an iPad Mini and iPhone.


During the #SkyTeamRTW journey the MBP2-100 Battery has been used on every flight with the 13” MacBook Air, simultaneously with an iPad Mini and an iPhone (or two iPhones). We have also used it to charge the smaller pocket batteries for the iPhones to stay up and running while exploring in Taipei, Seoul and Nairobi.


Travel, especially business travel, can provide for some interesting technology related logistical issues and minimizing them makes everything go smoothly. You cannot control things beyond your control, but you can be prepared to succeed knowing there are many things you cannot control.


Below is a photo of the #SkyTeamRTW office in use from Seat 49A on board a China Southern Airlines Airbus A321 as we fly from CAN to BKK, the Hyperjuice MBP2-100 Battery powering our 13” MacBook Air, iPad Mini and iPhone all at once.


Happy Flying!




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#SkyTeamRTW & The Turning Point From Going To Returning

Home, a welcome place after a long trip.  Home is not always a place, but sometimes just a state of mind. Home is where you recharge, where you sit and reflect on where you have been, what you have experienced and take a break before planning where you are headed next.

For many travelers, no matter how exciting the journey, there is that  turning point where you have a mindset shift from “going” to “returning.”  A four day trip, twelve day trip, six month trip, there is that moment when your mind starts drifting towards home.

For me during the #SkyTeamRTW journey that happened before departing Amsterdam for London when I put on my headsets and Phil Collins’Take Me Home” came on.   The music video flashed through my mind. In the video he is seen visiting New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo, London, Paris … all places on the travel itinerary (as well as Chicago, Stockholm, Memphis and St. Louis). The song echoed through my mind on the flight from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport as the mental countdown clock began for returning home.

So, for your viewing pleasure this morning, and for everyone who has had this feeling … I present to you … Phil Collins’ Take Me Home as a musical travel interlude.

Happy Flying!


#SkyTeamRTW’s Travel Winds Down … Now It Is Your Turn To Share.

Last night I hopped an Air Europa flight from Madrid to Buenos Aires, arriving in Argentina a little after 8:00am this morning. This evening I hop a flight with Aerolineas Argentinas back to New York’s JFK International Airport, where #SkyTeamRTW  started its journey, and #SkyTeamRTW ‘s travel is done for now … but the adventure need not end.


The purpose of #SkyTeamRTW has been to inspire you to travel the world. Maybe you’ll travel round-the-world, maybe all over Asia, or explore Europe; maybe you’ll set off to one new place or head off to a place you have visited before. Travelers are all inspired by something and as we have sought to inspire you, we would like you to help inspire other travelers.


As I head home, I’d like you to share your photos with #SkyTeamRTW, so Sky Team can share them with others on Instagram.  No two people are inspired the same way, everyone is touched by something that is unique to them, inside, that triggers the desire to desire to go out into the world.


Think about where you have been, what you have experienced, alone, with friends, as a family, the famous places you have been, the back road places that never catch the limelight and share those images so travelers and would be travelers are inspired to be where you have been and experience what you have experienced.


The world is full of places to visit, explore, experience and become immersed in and we hope #SkyTeamRTW has inspired you and look forward to you helping us inspire others!



Tweet us at @SkyTeamRTW, tag your photos on Instagram with #SkyTeamRTW, or share the images on Instagram and tag us with @SkyTeamAlliance and #SkyTeamRTW and we’ll share them with others.


Happy Flying!



#SkyTeamRTW – The Point Of The Journey Is Not To Arrive

Since #SkyTeamRTW went wheels up from New York’s JFK International Airport a few days ago there have been many messages asking the final destination for this trip. The reality of #SkyTeamRTW is that the final destination is the point of it’s origin, New York’s JFK international airport, via six continents and more than a dozen countries.


Since the departure, and there is still a week of travel left, taking me to Africa, Europe and South America, I have already encountered an unexpected two day delay in Sydney Australia and a visa exemption issue changing travel from Beijing to Guangzhou, but that is OK. This journey is unlike any other you’re likely to experience, even as someone following the adventure … because I have no where to be.


The purpose is simple, to inspire people …no let me rephrase that … to inspire you to go travel around the world. You may not have an interest in a round-the-world adventure, but somewhere a far off land is calling your name. There are so many experiences to be had and we want to kindle that flame within you to go experience whatever it is you want to experience, and maybe if we’re lucky you’ll share that journey with SkyTeam.


Neil Peart once said “The Point Of The Journey Is Not To Arrive.” Every arrival for us is a departure and ultimately that is the purpose of the #SkyTeamRTW journey.


Thank you for coming along as I explore the globe.


Happy Flying!



Take Your Mind Out Of Where You’re From When You Enter The World

While many places around the world have become homogenized, every place around the world is its own place. Behind the department stores, chain restaurants and globalized brands are unique places, unique experiences and people who while shopping at the same stores you shop at, eating the same food you eat … but half way around the world … are culturally different than you are.


Every once in a while there is some travel story about the worst global travelers, or most obnoxious travelers, but the fact is every country around the world has people who belong on this list. It is OK to always remember where you are from, and draw on your experiences and your culture as you venture out around the planet, but when you set foot in a new city, a new small town, a new country, remember that you are a visitor.


Yesterday morning as my flight pushed back from Incheon International Airport’s Gate 19, on board Korean Airlines Flight 865 to Guangzhou, taxing to the runway, a person behind us, with a familiar accent commented, “That’s [a lot] of foreign tails. Nothing American at this airport.”  I am not sure why this person was surprised to see “foreign tails” and “nothing American” at the airport, we we’re of course in South Korea, on board a Korean airliner, flying to China.


This is not an unfamiliar sentiment, and one we’ve heard from people from many nationalities around the world … however … every time I hear it, it is a confusing sentiment.


Why venture out into the world if you want every place to be the same as home? Home is comforting, home is where you feel safe, and while you should be comfortable and feel safe traveling the globe, even at a blistering such as the #SkyTeamRTW journey, you need to embrace where you are.


If you wanted Seoul to be like Chicago, why leave Chicago?  If you wanted Manama to be like Munich, why leave Munich? What is the point of visiting Paris if you expect the people there to speaking your language … unless of course you are a native French speaker?


The world is an exciting place. Go out, be part of the world, even for just a moment. Become connected to those around you, even if you are divided by language and culture, because ultimately if you have boarded a flight to a foreign land you have two choices, embrace it or reject it … and if you reject it, you are missing so much that can enrich your


Happy Flying!




Nuts & Bolts of #SkyTeamRTW – Little Batteries, Big Job

Sometimes the smallest items can make the difference between working on the road and searching for a power outlet so you can keep working on the road. Many travelers, traveling for work or pleasure, are tied to their mobile phones or tablets to be in touch, but overlook a basic and inexpensive accessory … a small battery pack to keep their phone or tablet up and running.


For #SkyTeamRTW three batteries are constantly in the bag, brand tends to be less relevant than capacity. Yes, $10 pocket batteries are available to keep your mobile phone juiced while out and about, but the capacity of those batteries tends to often not be enough to even provide one single recharge to a phone, so before selecting a battery do some homework.


The three batteries on the road, keeping #SkyTeamRTW up and running all day, every day, as we bounce around the planet, are all capable of not only providing more than a single full charge to an iPhone 5, but also charging the iPad Mini.


For what people spend on their phones, their tablets, the accessories for their phones and tablets, it is surprising how many travelers overlook the simple and cost effective accessory of a battery than can allow them to keep wandering, keep working, keep enjoying their day rather than frequently taking a break from their day to find an electrical outlet to recharge.


The World moves quickly, why waste your precious time sitting down tethered to a wall so you can keep charging your adventures when you can stay powered up and keep enjoying your adventures?


Below is a photo of the Innergie battery and two Energizer batteries that keep the two iPhones and iPad Mini going as #SkyTeamRTW explores the world.


Happy Flying!





Nuts & Bolts of #SkyTeamRTW – The iPad Mini + ZaggKeys = Netbook

Choosing what to pack for #SkyTeamRTW was a trying process. Everything for 12 days spanning the globe, and working on six continents needed to fit in a small roll-a-board Timbuk2 Copilot and the Timbuk2 Custom Commute Laptop Messenger Bag you see traveling the world on Instagram … and the Messenger Bag needed to remain light enough to be carried all day, every day.


The need to shed weight impacted what laptop would be packed (a 13” MacBook Air … but more on that later) and the choice to extensively rely on a 64gb cellular capable iPad Mini with ZaggKeys Folio Keyboard became clear.


Many who use an iPad overlook its full potential, especially the iPad Mini.   The iPad Mini is not the easiest tablet to use as a business travel tool. It is small, which is an advantage, however it is small which can be a disadvantage.   The iPad Mini when coupled with the ZaggKeys Folio blue tooth keyboard however is transformed into an excellent tool on the road.


The iPad Mini can fit into the pockets of many cargo pants, for #SkyTeamRTW it easily fits in the pockets of the Scottevest Fleece 7.0 or Cotton Hoodie, even when fitted into the ZaggKeys Folio.   With a battery life of roughly 10 hours (nearly 7 hours with regular cellular usage), a keyboard that can go more than a month between charges) and the ability to quickly and easily ingest SD cards via the camera connection kit, the tablet is no longer a tablet, it is an effective netbook that allows for use without the need to rely on a wifi connection or external cellular connections and shed the weight of even the smallest netbook.


While the iPad Mini and ZaggKeys Folio do not replace a laptop, they make building social media content on the fly extremely easy and writing longer content as it comes to you more convenient no matter where you are or what you are doing.


While out wandering the world, or just walking through your hometown, this combination is a great way to be effective and lighten your load.


Below is the iPad Mini and ZaggKeys Folio in use while flying somewhere over the Pacific in the middle of the night.


Happy Flying!




#SkyTeamRTW … Fish’s Journey Around The World, Like None Other

The past few weeks have been intense, interesting, and filled with ever changing logistics … similar to building a jigsaw puzzle on top of a constantly moving Rubik’s Cube. This morning, 13 days after project launch something I have worked hard to build went wheels up.


This morning with the 7:00am Delta Air Lines departure from JFK to SFO #SkyTeamRTW took off for one of the most creative travel social marketing campaigns you are likely to see.


Rather then tell you all about it, just go to Twitter and follow @SkyTeamRTW, log into your Instagram and follow ‘SkyTeamAlliance’ , like SkyTeam on Facebook and in general just follow the #SkyTeamRTW hashtag,


What you will experience for the next scheduled 12 days is the documentation of a round-the-world journey like none other. #SkyTeamRTW, being documented only with two iPhones and a Fujifilm x20, will take you to 14 countries on 6 continents, as seen through the ‘eyes’ of a Timbuk2 messenger bag.


Tweet SkyTeam your travel tips, join in our Facebook conversations and leave your comments for the photographs … as what lay beneath the surface of all before is simply one guy escorting a bag on its journey through the world.


Happy Flying!



Customs & Border Protection, The “Border Crisis” & You Can’t Have it Both Ways

In general, I avoid delving into politics on FlyingWithFish. 
Politics, albeit, often play a key role in topics I cover—from aircraft financing to
government agencies. Today, however, I’m straying—slightly—from what I normally cover. In doing so, discussing the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency I have covered many times.


Over the course of the past few weeks, right-wing politicians in the
 U.S. have increased their distain over the “border crisis” of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. In vocalizing their outrage, they’ve used every buzz word available to them, to create a growing alarm among the American people about those entering the U.S. illegally.  The far right-wing politicians, and the Tea Party,  have made the situation along the southern border of the U.S. its focal point issue.


The safekeeping of U.S. borders is vital for our safety and security. While I won’t explain my personal views on providing refuge for children seeking the safety and security of America … which welcomes the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free … I’ll address the elected leaders representing the
citizens of the U.S. who are dedicated to weaken the security of our borders.


So, who exactly is on the record for having presented bills on the floor of The House of Representatives to weaken the protection of the U.S. borders? Among the most vocal who claim that our borders must become more secure.


Former vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the current
 chair of the House Budget Committee, submitted a bill on April 2, 2014 that would’ve instituted new non-defense discretionary spending caps. These proposed discretionary spending caps would’ve, in part, reduced Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spending to levels more crippling than when the government was under sequestration.


As a result, Ryan’s bill proposal, which was only supported by other members of his party, would’ve slashed the number of U.S. CBP agents, as well as reducing the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, and other federal law enforcement agents by several thousand.


Although the bill didn’t pass, and CBP announced it would hire an additional 2,000 agents by the end of 2015 … that decision had nothing to do with what’s going on along the southern border. Keep in mind: those who are using their political pulpits to scream the loudest that there’s a crisis on our southern border are the same people who sought to decrease the size and effectiveness of the agency responsible for protecting our borders.


It’s too easy to stand on The Hill and try to whip people into a lather ignoring facts. It’s easy to abuse a position of power to steer the media with sound bites. It’s easy to use social media to push your agenda while ignoring where you truly stand on an issue.


So before our elected leaders and unelected citizens continue to pontificate that
something must be done, and that CBP needs to do something, don’t forget who tried to make their job harder, and take a look at what the agency is doing to secure our borders.

You cannot have it both ways. You cannot seek to reduce the number of
agents patrolling a nation’s borders while complaining that we need better
security and enforcement along the borders.


That’s not how it works!


Now back to your regularly scheduled aviation and aviation security topics …


Happy Flying!



FAA Prohibits US Airlines From Flying To Tel Aviv In An Act Of Politics Not Security

Earlier today the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) that for a period of 24-hours U.S. airlines could not operate to or from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel.   The FAA’s NOTAM cities a “Hazardous situation created by the armed convict in Israel and Gaza.” While the NOTAM does not mention a rocket fired from Gaza landing in close proximity to the airport, the FAA cites that as a factor in the issuing of the NOTAM which lead to U.S. airlines canceling flights, a Delta flight diverting to Paris and multiple European airlines canceling flights for a period of 36 to 72 hours.

But … what is really behind the FAA’s NOTAM prohibiting U.S. airlines from operating to and from Israel’s primary international airport?  The hazardous situation in Israel has raged on and off for years and the situation will not be resolved within 24-hours when the FAA is set to review its decision to prohibit airlines from operating to and from the airport.    The last time the FAA had suspended U.S. airlines from flying to Israel was during the First Gulf War in 1991.

Following the FAA NOTAM the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement saying Ben Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize.

Adding to the validity of the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority‘s statement today,  various threat assessments from within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) throughout the day showed the threat to aviation security surrounding aircraft arriving at and departing from Tel Aviv had not significantly changed, and revealed no detailed change in a threat assessment of the actual airport its self

The reason for the suspension of flights to and from Tel Aviv is a political reaction to a Surface to Air Missile shooting Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 out of the sky over Ukraine.  The White House cannot act on the downing of Flight 17, as the U.S. has no real stake in that incident, but it cannot seem to be soft on protecting U.S. interests in the area of aviations security and the lives of Americans flying on aircraft around the world.

However there are significant differences between what is going on in Israel and in the skies over Ukraine.   Malaysia Flight 17 was at cruising altitude, 33,000 feet and shot down by a guided missile that had locked onto its target and had the ability to travel to 72,000 feet.    The rockets Hamas is firing at Israel have no guidance system, have no real altitude, are not heat seeking and are intended to hit ground targets.

The real risk to U.S. aircraft at Ben Gurion International Airport   is being struck while on the ground, which is highly unlikely. Hamas is lobbing “dumb bombs” just hoping to hit something, at times with such poor accuracy they are landing their own rockets within their own borders.

Aircraft fly in and out of airports with very high threat levels regularly, such as Baghdad, Islamabad, Kabul and there are measures pilots can take to avoid being hit by rockets and bullets.  Aircraft can make a tight spiral approach while landing, or a steep climb on take off, airports change runways so those firing on rockets can’t keep a fix position on a target.

Nothing has really changed in terms of security risks for commercial aircraft except the political ramifications following Malaysia Flight 17. Had that incident not occurred, there would be no suspension of U.S. airliners, and now European airlines, from flying to and from Tel Aviv as they have continued to do during the peak times of conflict, when rockets have landed close to the airport before.

Aviation security has many factors, and those factors can change very quickly given real time situations, but should the FAA make a decision based on a hostile environment for just 24-hours when the DHS’s immediate internal threat level for the airport has not changed … and the situation within the country has not really changed that much in years?

I very infrequently use the term Security Theater, finding it to be over used and often misused … but today I say this to the FAA … take a bow.

Happy Flying!