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“Did you know…The Guy in the Window Seat Wants to Talk to You?”

talking on a placeWhy don’t airline passengers, sitting inches apart for hours on end, utter a single word to one another?  Most likely, because we assume that the other person doesn’t want to talk and we rather not risk annoying anyone.

Since the ups and downs of air travel always pique our interest, we were drawn in by a recent New York Times article written by Jeff Kaye, a co-C.E.O. of the executive search firm Kaye/Bassman-Sanford Rose Associates and C.E.O. of the recruiting training company, Next Level Exchange.  Since the 1990s, Jeff has been contradicting the assumption that our seat mates don’t want to engage.  In fact, he says, about 90% of people DO like to chat and share.  Since Jeff travels all the time and all around the world for business, he makes a regular habit of greeting fellow passengers and asking a few polite questions.  In addition to interesting company, he’s been rewarded with advice, recommendations and anecdotes that made the trip fly and in many cases left him a little bit smarter.

Next time you’re on a plane, say hello to your seat mate.  You never know where the conversation will take you.  Read the entire story here:

“Did you know…As AA and UA merge, price glitches surface?”


american airlines logoThankfully, as travelers, we don’t have to get beneath the layers of complexity associated with the merger process of American Airlines and US Airways into one mega air carrier.  As the airlines take initial steps toward integrating their flights, pricing structure and human resources, there’s bound to be fallout.  This week, reported, “American and US Airways began offering codeshare flights last week, but savvy agents and fare watchers quickly noticed wide disparities in ticket prices, depending on where they searched or which code they used.”

“In some instances, seats on US Airways flights booked as American flights were more than twice the price displayed for the same seats on the US Airways site…” Read the full story here:

“Did you know…travel industry praises decision to scrap fee hike?”

(USA Today)

international airline ticketVoices of pilots and consumer groups gave sway against taxing airlines on international arrivals as additional fees have been dropped from a recently approved spending bill.  USA Today reports, “Immigration inspection user fees had been poised to rise from $7 to $9 on each ticket under the Senate version of the legislation. But the final compromise dropped the fee, which would have raised $185 million per year.”

Read the full story here:


ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Last week, we featured three of the six most common flying fear factors.  This post will discuss the remaining three factors, including steps to conquer them from Brave Flyer author, Michael Salem.


The mother of all fears! This item never fails to show up on any list when it comes to fear of flying. The funny part about it is that most people who fear it and think about it all the time have little knowledge or background on what causes air bumps (turbulence). What is also funny (or sad) is that turbulence has nothing to do with in-flight risk. I personally (having done a lot of research) never heard of a plane crashing due to air bumps. So if you want to use your rational brain for a second here, there is simply zero risk due to turbulence and absolutely nothing to worry about or even discuss.

Please remember that the air is much like the sea -  it is constantly moving and shifting – and in the same way that a ship moves up and down, the plane will do the same, but much less.

These bumps can be caused from wind uplift which usually happens when flying over mountains where the wind will collide with the mountains and get redirected upwards, causing it to bump your plane from below. Turbulence can also happen when the plane crosses different jet streams or flies close to storms. Whatever the reason may be, it’s only the wind bumping the aircraft.

Think about it and be fair, being onboard a plane is the smoothest experience you will ever have in any motorized transportation equipment. Don’t believe me? Next time you are riding (not driving) a car or a bus, close your eyes and concentrate on the bumpiness of the ride – it is not a smooth ride at all.

How to Manage Fear #4:  Turbulence Continue reading →

Fear of Flying – Causes and Cures: Part I

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

We recently interviewed Michael Salem, a former fearful flyer and author of “Brave Flyer – How to End Your Fear of Flying.”  In this series, we’re featuring Michael’s logical insights on the primary phobias contributing to the fear of flying and preventive measures that petrified flyers can implement to get through their overpowering anxiety.

In his book, Salem describes the fear of flying like a box containing a mixture of other phobias and fears, as well as external elements that strengthen the fear. Listed below are the six most common fear factors. In Part 1, we’ll expand on the first three and how to manage them:

  1. Fear of Heights (Acrophobia)
  2. Fear of Enclosed Places (Claustrophobia)
  3. Loss of Control (Symptom)
  4. Air Bumps – Turbulence (External element)
  5. Takeoff Procedure (External element)
  6. Unknown or Unfamiliar Sounds (External element)

fear of heights


This is one of the more common fears that come to mind when people get asked about their fear of flying. Although this factor is repeatedly named the culprit by fearful flyers, Salem doesn’t believe that this specific fear should be part of the list, because the major part of a flight, the plane is so high that a person loses their sense of height altogether. In other words, one has no point of reference to notice how high they are (no small cars or houses can be seen).

How to Manage Fear #1:  Heights

  • Falling from a fourth floor balcony is not much safer than falling from 30,000 feet. So why does it feel different when you are on a plane? Ask yourself how you manage to be okay with working, visiting a friend, or staying at a hotel on an upper floor. Also, remind yourself how many times you have been in an elevator and were probably just fine with the fact that you had a good distance between you and the ground.
  • Remind yourself of this fact: Planes don’t just fall from the sky – the mechanics of their wings do not even allow this free fall to happen. It is a simple question of physics. Even if all the engines were to suddenly lose all power for no good reason (which, by the way, has never happened on a commercial airliner), the plane will turn into a glider and not a piece of rock falling from the sky.
  • Don’t think of the plane as an elevated object that you are riding, think of it as your ‘new’ ground, and forget about the ‘old’ ground (earth). These planes are so massive in size and so stable that you can easily consider them to be a ground on their own.
  • Referring back to the start of this section: The only time you might notice the height is during the first few minutes or so after takeoff, and the last 20 minutes or so before landing. That’s when you can actually notice the small cars and buildings which will lead to the sense of height. The way to solve this is to simply not look out the window during these minutes or, even better, close your eyes. Very simple solution. Continue reading →