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.

So You Think You Had A Rough Landing?

We’ve all flown on flights with rough landings, and heard stories from our friends, families and colleagues about flights they have taken with rough landings … but consider the challenge of landing a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II on board a moving ship with no nose gear.

Below is a video of Captain William Mahoney, of the United States Marine Corps VMM 263 Squadron, landing his Harrier on the deck the USS Bataan with no nose gear on the 7th of June 2014.

Chances are this will cause you to pause a moment next time you think your flight had a rough landing.

Happy Flying!



Some Friday Flying Music … Foo Fighters Learn To Fly

Travel and music go hand in hand and sometimes you just need to laugh at the airline passenger experience … so … without further interruption, the Foo Fighters’ Learn To Fly.


Happy Flying!




Delta Works To Trademark “The World’s Most Trusted Airline”

Airlines, like all businesses, are protective of their image and work hard to promote their business, however Delta Air Lines may have recently taken marketing chutzpah to a whole new level.

Delta Air Lines is planning a new marketing campaign around the slogan “The World’s Most Trusted Airlines.” The new slogan poses some significant trust issues … on what basis is Delta saying they are the world’s most trusted airline?

Delta Air Lines is not winning JD Powers awards

Delta Air Lines is not topping the list with SkyTrax

Delta Air Lines is not the most on time airline

Delta Air Lines is not the safest airline

Delta Air Lines is not winning Freddie Awards

Delta Air Lines doesn’t have the lowest numbers for separated luggage

Delta Air Lines been named the Most Admired Company for the Airline Industry three times in four years by Fortune Magazine, but let us not confuse Admired and Trusted. Fortune has selected Delta Air Lines because of the airline’s financial strategies and business success. Delta should absolutely be admired for its business success … but does that make it “The World’s Most Trusted Airline”?  No.

While Delta is among the largest airlines in the world, with a massive global network, its brand recognition outside of the United States is lacking, even in foreign destinations it serves. When British Airways chose the slogan “The World’s Favourite Airline” in 1989 the airline had substantial global brand recognition, and it is a slogan people still associate with the airline, despite it being dropped in 2001.   In order for Delta Air Lines to use “The World’s Most … “ anything, it must first achieve real global brand recognition, something it has yet to do.

We can all debate who the most trusted airline in the world is, but some of those airlines that come to mind are not global airlines, so it is impossible for any airline to not only adopt the slogan of “The World’s Most Trusted Airline” much less live up to that hype.

Happy Flying!


The #TNI #Travel Chat Join Us Today To For China & The Legendary Silk Road

Clear your schedule for today, the 12th of June, at 3:30pm EDT (UTC-4) for a journey through culture and history as the weekly  Travelers’ Night In (#TNI) Travel Chat on Twitter explores China and The Legendary Silk Road with the Chinese National Tourism Office.


The Silk Road, which first became a travel route around 206 BCE, is one of the original travel journeys we as a global society have a record of, and that route continues today as travelers explore it in many ways.  Along the way travelers can travel by foot, boat, camel, train as they find the treasures of an ancient passage that has shaped global trade and international and intercultural travel .



The #TNI #Travel Chat, established in 2009, is the longest consistently running travel chat on Twitter, and its format is 10 questions, with a new question asked every 10 minutes for 90 minutes. We have a great community of regulars and encourage people to drop in for a topic they may enjoy, or of course keep coming back every week.


Joining the #TNI #Travel Chat is easy, simply follow the #TNI hashtag in your favourite Twitter application, or follow either @flyingwithfish or @Official_#TNI.   You can also follow #TNI’s fantastic regular co-hosts @petchmo@trvlinsalesgal or @jeromeshaw … and today follow @VisitChinaNow.


Have any questions?   Tweet me, I’d be happy to answer them.


Happy Flying and hope to see you at #TNI!



Who To Complain To About Baggage Policies & Fees … Not Who You’d Think

When you, the passenger, complain about checked baggage rules, carry on regulations and anything baggage related, do you know who oversees the regulations?  Probably not, because it is not one agency in the United States and the rules are not implemented in some cases by a regulatory governing body, only enforced by them


There is a very common misconception is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) oversees airline carry on baggage regulations, but this is incorrect. The TSA has absolutely nothing to do with carry on bags, aside from setting the passenger and baggage screening policy and carrying out or overseeing passenger and baggage screening.   When passengers send complaints to the TSA about their carry on baggage allowance those complaints are fruitless and waste of time and energy.


For those travelers who are unhappy with an airline’s checked baggage policy, the appropriate agency to complain to is the Department of Transportation (DOT), the parent agency of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The DOT established and enforces the guidelines for checked baggage and belly cargo and handles the complaints for things placed under the aircraft. While airlines must adhere to strict safety and security policy for cargo and checked baggage, individual airlines have the ability to place their own checked baggage into effect, including size and weight limits.


If you’re a passenger upset with an airline’s carry on baggage policy, the agency that oversees cabin baggage is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) … however … the FAA only enforces the cabin baggage policy created by each individual airline.


Yes, you read that right; the FAA only enforces the carry on baggage policy created by each airline, which is then approved by the FAA.  The FAA steps in to enforce carry on baggage policy only if an airline violates its own policy that they themselves created.


If an airline’s baggage fees upset you, either for checked baggage or more recently cabin baggage, neither the FAA nor DOT has any regulatory oversight on those fees. Airlines may choose to charge for baggage or not charge for baggage, as well as decide the fee structure for baggage accepted onto their aircraft.


Ultimately if you are unhappy with an airline’s baggage policy or fees, the appropriate entity to complain to is the airline itself.


Happy Flying!



Get Ready To Rock Out During The #TNI #Travel Chat As We Discuss Travel Music

Every journey has a sound track … maybe even including Journey … and whether consciously or subconsciously music is with us as we travel.


Come join the #TNI #Travel Chat today, June 5th,  at 3:30pm EDT (UTC-4) and get ready to share the music that is your constant companion, the music you have discovered as you’ve traveled and maybe even the music you have learned to despise along the way.


The #TNI #Travel Chat is the oldest and longest continuously running Travel Chat on Twitter, established in 2009. #TNI’s format is easy to follow with 10 questions, a new question asked every 10 minutes between 3:30pm and 5:00pm EDT and plenty of lively discussion in between. We have a great community of regular travelers who participate every week and encourage anyone and everyone to drop in for a topic they may enjoy and check the chat out. What’s the worst?  You find you love #TNI and keep coming back, right?


Joining the #TNI #Travel Chat is easy, using your favourite Twitter application simply follow the #TNI hashtag, or follow either @flyingwithfish or @Official_#TNI.   You can also follow #TNI’s fantastic regular co-hosts @petchmo, @trvlinsalesgal or @jeromeshaw.


Need help getting started? Have questions?  Have a topic to suggest?  Just send me a Tweet.


Happy Flying!




Top 8 Ways How To NOT Talk To An Airline Employee

Yesterday fellow BoardingArea blogger Marshall Jackson wrote “Advice on How to Talk to an Airline Employee From an ex-Airline Employee,” which is really a good read, but it got me thinking.


Travel can be stressful, things can happen quickly that are unfavourable for passengers, sometimes due to their mistakes, sometimes due to circumstances out of their control.   I spend a lot of time reading, tracking and analyzing conversations between passengers and airlines and when in an airport I often try to pay attention to the disputes between passengers and airline representatives.


So … as my counterpart to Marshal Jackson’s post … here are my Top 8 Ways of How  To NOT Talk To An Airline Employee


•8) Do not demand to know if they know how often you fly with them, especially if are not among the highest end of the top tier of elite frequent flyer … and even then don’t go there. The customer service representative may need to respect you for your loyalty, but they have other passengers to take care of and if you force their hand demanding if they know how loyal you are, it means your loyalty is worthless and they have free reign to smile at you while telling you they can’t help you.


•7) Do not hang around the podium nicely dressed sniffing for an upgrade by pestering the gate agent.   The airline upgrade system is fairly rigid. Upgrades are typically based on status, so unless you have elite frequent flyer status and there are enough seats available with no one having higher status in front of you, you’re not catching a big seat up front. The gate agent does not care it is your honeymoon, that you just got engaged, your aunt Bertha just died.   Limited exceptions I have seen in the past few years are military escorting a deceased member of the military home, a very pregnant lady who was clearly in a lot of discomfort and soldiers returning home from combat deployment … and that is pretty much it.  Don’t pester the gate agent.


•6) If things are not going your way, never tell an airline employee “I’ll have your job.” These people deal with pissed off passengers day in and day out. If something didn’t turn out the way you want, be realistic you are not getting the employee fired.   Saying this is a great way to end up at the end of whatever list you are on.


•5) Just because you are in a suit, or flying first class, do not tell an airline you’ll be suing them or calling your attorney.  Those conversations are well above the pay grade and responsibilities of gate agents, ramp agents, flight attendants … and frankly … they don’t care. People sue airlines all the time over things. How is you threatening a lawsuit over not getting an aisle seat (I actually heard the argument once at Philadelphia International Airport) going to get you a new seat? Is it really worth the court expenses for a case you will lose over not getting your desired seat?


•4) You have been waiting hours for a delayed flight that was diverted … don’t threaten anyone that you will call the media.   You need to have a real situation and be dealing with someone high up the food chain to actually care that you may call the media, and in turn it needs to be a real situation or the media won’t care and you just sound like an idiot.


•3) Refrain from swearing at airline employees. Do you like when someone swears at you?  How often do you change your opinion and work harder to solve someone’s problem when they are swearing at you?  The answer is more than likely never and keep in mind every airline employee you’re dealing with is a person … a person who does not want you swearing at them for something outside their personal control.


•2) Keep this in mind, everyone in the airport boarding a flight has somewhere to be. Nearly everyone boarding the flights believes their trip is important and they need to be there on time. Flight cancelations happen, so becoming irate and verbally abusive to an airline customer service representative because weather has you stuck, a mechanical issue arose, a crew has timed out, airport congestion has caused significant delays does you no good.  Your gate agent cannot overrule the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Control, the airline dispatchers or the pilots.   The airline staff understands you need to be at your brother’s wedding in five hours, but maybe you should have taken an earlier flight or left the day before. Berating someone with no control over a situation is a great way to find yourself the first one pulled off a flight if an aircraft swap happens and passengers need to be removed from the flight.


•1) You can skip the “I am never flying with you again” rhetoric. Airline personnel hear this every day, and usually for things outside their control.   Saying you will never fly an airline again because of weather cancelations or medical diversions does you no good, especially if you’re the type of person who regularly chooses your flights with no loyalty and are driven by the lowest airfare available. “I’m never flying with you again” is a hollow threat and you don’t get any response other than “I’m sorry to hear that.”   Get over yourself; unless you are a very frequent flyer or high yield passenger, no one cares.



In short … airline employees are people. They don’t respond well to threats nor do they feel compelled to go out of their way to help you if you are acting like a person you yourself would not help if an out of line and out of control person was yelling at you demanding help.


Be polite, be courteous, be kind and most of all, be understanding. Sometimes things happen, sometimes there is no ideal outcome, it is all part of the travel experience.


Happy Flying!



Vote For Your Favourite Twitter Traveler in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards

Travel and Twitter go hand-in-hand, and there are so many different types of travel tweeters that it is hard to decide who is the best.   Among some of my personal favourite travel tweeters you’ll find travel journalists, airline bloggers, travel agents, flight attendants, adventure travelers, photographers and a diverse group of others … so … when I was asked to be part of a four person panel of Travel Tweeting Experts by USA Today to help select those who absolutely excel at being a “Favourite Twitter Traveler” for their Readers’ Choice Award it was no easy task.


USA Today’s Expert Panel was comprised of Ben Mutzabaugh, USA Today’s airline reporter,  Nancy Trejos, a travel journalist for USA Today, Rob Katz the CEO of Vail Resorts and Myself, as we whittled a groups of more than 70 fantastic travel experts on Twitter down to 20 for readers to vote on.


So now folks … it is in your hands.  From here, you must make the final selections on who are your Readers’ Choice Favourite Twitter Travelers.   I won’t bias you with my opinions, getting list down to size was a tough enough challenge as I know a number of the nominated people personally, but take a moment and visit USA Today Travel’s Vote For Your Favourite Twitter Traveler page and cast your vote now.


Who will come out on top?  You’ll find out on the 4th of July!


So click HERE and vote now!


Happy Flying!



The #TNI #Travel Chat on Twitter, Join Us Today To Discuss ‘Things That Make You Go D’oh!’

What’s on your schedule for today, May 29th, at 3:30pm EDT (UTC -4)?  Well whatever that is, pencil in The Travelers’ Night In (#TNI) Travel Chat on Twitter.   This week’s #TNI #Travel Chat topic, is sure to make you laugh, remind you of the quirky fun of travel and hopefully get you to share your stories and experiences of life on the road … so … start thinking about ‘Things That Make You Go D’oh!’


The #TNI #Travel Chat, established in 2009, is the longest consistently running travel chat on Twitter, and its format is 10 questions, with a new question asked every 10 minutes for 90 minutes. We have a great community of regulars and encourage people to drop in for a topic they may enjoy, or of course keep coming back every week.


Joining the #TNI #Travel Chat is easy, simply follow the #TNI hashtag in your favourite Twitter application, or follow either @flyingwithfish or @Official_#TNI.   You can also follow #TNI’s fantastic regular co-hosts @petchmo, @trvlinsalesgal or @jeromeshaw.


Have any questions?   Tweet me, I’d be happy to answer them.


Happy Flying and hope to see you at #TNI!



Who Says Airport Security Can’t Make You Laugh?

If you spend enough time dealing with airport security, especially researching it and writing about it, sometimes you just need a laugh. Well, this morning I was sent a cartoon that blended my need to laugh and my need to stay somewhat focused on aviation security.


So … I am passing this laughter on to you with the cartoon below.


Happy Flying!