Gadling TV’s Travel Talk 004: Holi Festival, Travel Discouragement Act, Good & Bad Pilots, and Scuba Diving!

Gadling TV’s Travel Talk, episode 4 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Ready to go subterranean? Travel Talk takes you to Monterey, California this week for a special episode under the sea!

This week we discuss India’s Festival of Colors, the United States’ new Travel Promotion Act, frozen ferries in the Baltic Sea, and a pilot who managed to fool authorities and fly commercial planes unlicensed for 13 years! Also, we speak exclusively with cargo pilot & Video of the Week contributor Matt Wright!
Bruce is back to show you how to stay fit on the go; Sheila brings us a new segment on dating practices from around the world, and we take a look at California sea life from above and below the water.

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

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Karma Champagne’s Big Picture (Holi 2010)
Matt Wright’s Belly of the Beast (747 Video)
Hosts: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea
Special guest: Bruce!, Jim Covel, & Sheila.
Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea
Special thanks: Monterey Bay Aquarium!
Music by:

“The Beat”

Griffin Kelp
.aron bass.
courtesy of

“Jam 2 Rock”
courtesy of

Poll of the Week!

Last week’s results:
Only after we can monitor our congressmen and senators. (39.7%)

Yes – there are too many lives in their hands! (37.9%)
No – it’s an invasion of privacy! (12.1%)
Wait, we can’t already do that on in-flight entertainment? (8.6%)

10 tips for traveling as a couple – and not breaking up

Traveling together for the first time as a couple can be a make-or-break experience. You can learn more about a person on a two-day trip than you can in a few weeks of dating.

When you travel with someone, you quickly figure out how he interacts with other cultures, how she manages money, how she handles stress, or how he deals with conflict when the two of you cannot escape each other. Not to mention, you’ll be privy to all those things the other person may have tried (maybe successfully) to hide from you before: she doesn’t look quite the same without her makeup on, and you do not want to go in the bathroom after he uses it first thing in the morning.

Travel can be a more intense experience than life at home, and that holds true for couples traveling together too. But, traveling with your mate can also be an enriching experience that brings the two of you closer. Here are some tips for traveling with your significant other, whether you’re planning your first trip together or have been exploring the world as a couple for some time.Start small
The length of time you spend on your trip should be directly proportionate to the amount of time you have been dating. Couples who have been together for years have a better chance of surviving long-term travel, while those who have been together for less than 12 months should stick to trips of a week to 10 days.

If you’ve only been dating a month or two, do not attempt more than a weekend jaunt for your first effort, and never plan a trip more days in advance than the amount of time you have been together. Known each other one month? I don’t care if you are in love. I still wouldn’t recommend you buy tickets for a two-week long trip for three months from now.

Pick the right location
I often hear people ask what is a good “romantic destination.” That’s the wrong question. Any destination can be romantic. Romance is more about who you are with, what you do, and your state of mind than where you are on the map. Sure, some locations are more picturesque or have more “romantic” lodging options, but that doesn’t mean they are the perfect place for you and your sweetie.

Focus more on what you want to see and do and go from there. If you get bored lying on the beach all day, you aren’t going to have a great trip, no matter how “romantic” the resort claims to be. Talk to your significant other and discuss what you each want to do and what your travel style is, and select a location based on those considerations.

Plan together
In many relationships, it seems like one person always takes the reins of planning while the other is content to be led. This can work out fine for decisions such as where to go to dinner, but when you are talking about spending several days, and possibly several hundred dollars, on a trip, both people need to contribute to the decision making. Once you’ve settled on a location, you can divvy up the planning responsibilities in one of several ways.

If one person is more of a foodie, he or she can select restaurants, while the person who is more passionate about history or art chooses which museums to visit. Another option is to alternate days when each person plans the itinerary. You’ll decided what to do on Monday; he’ll make Tuesday’s plan. The third option, and the one that works best for my husband and I, is to each make a plan based on what we want to do. Then we compare (usually finding that most of our “must-do” activities are the same) and craft a final itinerary from there.


In the travel planning and on the trip, you have to realize that you can’t get your way all the time. When creating an itinerary that includes both what you want to do and what your significant other wants to do, you often will each have to give up a few things in order to make it work. One way my husband and I do this is to figure out how many activities, cities, or restaurants we can fit in on the trip. Then we each make a list of our top choices, filling in one from each person until we have maxed out our time. This way we each get to do the things that are most important to us.

Take time apart
For your sanity, and in order to do some things you may want to do that your mate does not, it’s important to take time apart on your trip. Whether it’s 20-30 minutes to clear your head with an early morning run on a short weekend trip, or taking off an entire afternoon of a week-long trip to visit a museum that your significant other has no interest in, spending some time apart is vital. It can help prevent you from getting frustrated with each other and having petty arguments, and it can allow you the time to do things that matter most to you. Plus, a little time apart can make you appreciate the time you spend together even more.

Talk budget before you go
Money is one of the main sources of disagreement for all couples, whether they be traveling or not. It’s easy to say, “I’m on vacation, I’ll deal with it later,” and then cry when you get your credit card bill. One member of the couple may also feel pressured to keep up with the other, which can then lead to resentment.

Before you begin booking your trip, talk openly and honestly about what you can afford and how you plan to divide the costs. Unless your finances are already shared, the best system is to set a budget and go dutch on all costs. This doesn’t have to mean splitting the check at every restaurant though. Just figure out how much you plan to spend on each expense and assign each cost to one person.

For instance, if your hotel will be $500 for five nights and the plane tickets were $250, you can pay for the flights while you mate pays for the hotel. If you’ve budgeted $100 per night for dinner, just switch off picking up the tab.

Be flexible
While I’m a firm believer in making an itinerary and planning a budget for every trip, I think it’s equally important to remain flexible. Things change. Sometimes after a long day of sightseeing, you just don’t want to go to that fancy restaurant you had selected for dinner. The day you wanted to climb the Duomo for the perfect view dawns cloudy and grey. Make a plan but plan for it to change. Always have a Plan B and Plan C and don’t let the little hiccups frustrate you. Sometimes the best things can happen when your plans fall through.

Keep a sense of humor
With precious little vacation time, sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to have the perfect trip, to enjoy every single second of it to the fullest. When that doesn’t happen, we’re crushed. But things go wrong on the road. Planes are delayed, luggage gets lost, hotels lose reservations and sometimes even the most highly recommended restaurant turns out to be a disappointment.

When bad things happen, try to keep an open mind. So a crazy Italian chef screamed at you for suggesting that the swordfish wasn’t all that fresh(as happend to me on my honeymoon), don’t let it ruin your trip. Find a way to laugh about it and you’ll end up with a better experience, and a better story to tell when you come home. So you’re hopelessly lost, it’s raining and your train leaves in an hour. The worst that happens could be that you are out a bit of money and spend an extra night in the city. Try to keep things in perspective. Remember, in most cases, the troubles you have are minor and temporary.

Make time for romance
Any trip, any restaurant, any hotel, is as romantic as you make it. When we’re running around sightseeing, trying to pack a lot into a short trip, it’s easy to forget to slow down and appreciate the time we have with the one we love. Sometimes we need to schedule romance. On even the most budget trip, find a way to do something special for your partner. Whether it be a picnic with a view, an order of breakfast in bed, a splurge meal, or just a long moonlit stroll under the lights of the city, be sure to plan at least one thoughtful surprise for your significant other.

Protect your investment
Of course you and your love are never, ever going to break up. And certainly not before your week-long trip through Napa Valley or your two-week jaunt through his ancestral land of Ireland. But…..these things do happen. I know several people who’ve lost hundreds of dollars worth of plane tickets because they were dumped right before the trip, or who suffered through an uncomfortable vacation (rather than lose the money) and broke up as soon as they got home.

Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure that your ticket cost can be refunded or that the tickets can be changed. If you need to put down a deposit, find out when the last day to get a refund is. For a trip of significant cost, look into travel insurance, which often contains a “cancel for any reason” provision that would cover heartbreak and allow you to recoup all funds if the relationship goes sour.

Inside Air New Zealand’s Matchmaking Flight

When I first heard about Air New Zealand offering a Matchmaking Flight, I was amused. It sounded like a cute promotion from the quirky national airline of a pretty quirky country. And when the invitation came to check out their matchmaking site and cover the flight from on board the plane, I was more cautiously optimistic than downright excited. I mean, planes are meant for transport not entertainment. I sleep on flights. I hate talking to my neighbors. I had fears of being awake for the full 13 hours while desperate singles chatted idly about their hobbies and desire to have children before turning 40. The thought of observing dozens of blind dates crash and burn while trying not to think of crashing and burning had me fearing the worst.

But, I put those fears aside and soothed myself with thoughts of the lush countryside that I would enjoy once we got to Auckland and ventured further into New Zealand. So, on October 13, I flew to LAX and checked in for ANZ Flight 5: The Matchmaking Flight. Was it a worthy promotion? I was going to find out for myself.


Before even boarding the flight, passengers were invited to attend a party at the gate. Well, not all passengers. Only the 100 who were part of the promotion. The remaining passengers of ANZ Flight 5 waited at the main gate like regular travels. Representatives from the airline assured me that all of the passengers on the flight were called in advance and notified of the events that would be taking place on the flight to avoid any confusion and anger. Meanwhile, Matchmaking Flight attendees sipped specialty cocktails made from New Zealand vodka, enjoyed some speed dating (as much as speed dating can be enjoyed) and mingled. Many had “met” online using the airline’s Matchmaking Flight website, so putting faces with names filled the room with enthusiasm.

Perhaps the highlight of the pre-flight festivities was the performance by the ANZ flight crew. Ever seen your flight attendants and pilots dance to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” 20 minutes before boarding your flight? I have. It’s simultaneously hysterical and terrifying. I’m all for airlines having personality, but I was pleased to see the pilot flubbing his dance steps as if he’d skipped some rehearsals. I’d prefer his time be spent checking weather patterns and keeping himself well-rested.

When it came time to board, there was a palpable sense of nervous energy. People seemed genuinely excited, but also wary of what a 13 hour flight with slightly intoxicated travelers with an invitation to be social would entail.

The flight, however, was much better than I anticipated. Rather than hit passengers over the head with the promotion, the level of participation and engagement was left up to each individual. Gift bags were waiting on every seat and included useful products like lip balm and lotions, as well as cheeky matchmaking treats and conversation starters, such as body oil and woman’s panties. It was a safe environment for the airline to push the envelope a bit, as every participating passenger had agreed to the joke before stepping foot on the plane.

The flight’s concierge, Jaheb Barnett, used a portable PA system to address the Matchmaking Flight attendees rather than the plane’s built-in system. This saved the regular passengers from having their flight interrupted constantly. The airline did a mostly admirable job of separating the Matchmaking Flight population from the other passengers. A few travelers who were not looking for love were seated nearby and they grumbled a bit, but no one appeared too annoyed by the promotion.

Several of the passengers told me that they had booked the flight simply for the discounted airfare to New Zealand. Tiffani Hoffman from Minnesota said, “It was a cheap flight and I have a friend in New Zealand that I wanted to visit.” But it was also the second time Tiffani had ever flown in a plane (the first time was when she flew from Minneapolis to Los Angeles earlier that day), so the deal must have really motivated her.

LeeAnn and Ben Ziegler were heading to New Zealand on their honeymoon. Why take a matchmaking flight after getting married? “We saved tons of money on our honeymoon, so the fare definitely was the decision-maker.” Seeing as they were surrounded by singles, I asked the newlyweds what advice they would give to all those looking for love at 35,000 feet. LeAnn said, “Be authentic and be yourself.” And lest you think they were judgmental of 100 people seeking to meet their soulmates on an airplane, LeeAnn and Ben met online.

Corinne Theile and Steve Borgford were two of the travelers who were hoping to find their matches. Steve admitted, “The odds are against me,” but added, “My friends have been supportive and if all I get is some practice talking to women and a good vacation, then the trip was a success.” Corinne, from Los Angeles, had tried internet and speed dating, and thought that the Matchmaking Flight was “a cool idea.” Her friends thought she was crazy, but she said, “you have to be adventurous and get out there.”

After landing in Auckland early on October 15, passengers had time to get their bearings, explore the city and get over any jetlag before attending the Matchmaking Ball the next day. The event was attended by the 100 Matchmaking Flight passengers, as well as 150 Kiwis eager to mix and mingle with some single Yanks. After spending 13 hours cooped up in a plane, I was eager to shower and not see the same faces for the next 36 hours. Besides, with free wine and champagne at the party, I was sure to get my fill of singles being single when the time came.

The party was held at The Wharf, a posh Auckland event space located on Waitemata Harbour. I appreciated seeing everyone cleaned up and smelling more like deodorant and less like recycled air and quiet desperation. The festivities included an impromptu round of The Dating Game, plenty of dance music and the aforementioned alcohol. Things started off slowly as people chatted and loosened up. Airline promotion or not, going to a singles mixer can be a tad awkward and that was certainly visible as I creepily watched from the sidelines.

Slowly but surely, though, people got comfortable (read: drunk) and the dance floor became a hotbed of flirting, twirling and, eventually, making out. By the end of the night, adults from opposite sides of the world resembled teenagers at a make-out party. Whether it was love or simply lust, matches were being made all around me.

So, was it a successful promotion? Before the flight, Air New Zealand’s Marketing Director for the Americas, Kathryn Gregory, had told me that her airline strives “to make our guests’ holidays start as soon as they step on the plane.” By that standard, the Matchmaking Flight exceeded Air New Zealand’s expectations. And what about those people looking for love? I met two Kiwis who were rumored to be a couple by the end of my week there. And Corinne, our adventurous dater from LA, had gone on more than a few dates with one of the flight’s pilots. As for me, I was able to sleep on the plane and never really felt all that uncomfortable around the singles. But I didn’t enjoy myself as much this gentleman.

Mike Barish attended Air New Zealand’s Matchmaking Flight with a media credential. No editorial content was guaranteed and he was free to write about his observations.

Galley Gossip: Can an average Joe date a flight attendant?

Hi my Name is Mark and I’ve wanted to date flight attendants for years, but like a lot of guys I don’t get the chance to chat with them much. When you see one that’s friendly and smiles a lot and is nice, those are the ones you want to kidnap and take home to mom and can I keep her….LOL. There are many that are snotty and hateful and you want to tell them what they can do with their job. My opinion is that the job gets the best of them and they get big headed. My question is this, is there a dating site where an every day Joe like myself can find a flight attendant for dating? Is there such a thing? Can you write me and let me know or I’ll keep looking, I guess.


The answer is yes, an average Joe can date a flight attendant. Just like an average Joe can date a nurse or a lawyer or a sales clerk or whoever it is Joe wants to date. All he has to do is ask! It all boils down to the approach. Of course Joe’s personality has a lot to do with it, too. Always remember, nice guys get nice girls, and you’ll be fine. They do!

You mentioned that you don’t often get a chance to chat with many flight attendants. Well that’s your first problem, Mark, and it’s a big one! Communication is the key to any relationship, especially if you want it to last. If you aren’t able to say hello and make small talk with the one hovering over your seat waving a beverage napkin, how on earth are you ever going to ask that special someone out? My advice to you is to start by opening the window. What I mean by that is ask a simple question like, are you laying over in (insert city)? Do you know of anywhere good to eat in (insert city or airport)? Ask an open ended question that the flight attendant can easily answer. Simply say something other than what you’d like to drink. Don’t forget to say please and thank you, and try making eye contact when you do so. Kindness goes a long way.
As for kidnapping a flight attendant, I do believe you’re joking. (At least I hope you are) And that’s a good thing – the joking, not the kidnapping! It means you have a sense of humor. Flight attendants prefer fun passengers over miserable passengers. As for taking your flight attendant home to mom and “keeping her,” please don’t use that line ever again. Most women I know won’t find it funny. Only because mom is the last person we want to meet at the end of a long work day. Not to mention, we don’t like to be “kept.” Against our will. In a tent. In the backyard. Regardless of what mom may think. I’m just saying…

It’s unfortunate to hear you’ve come across so many unpleasant flight attendants. But telling a person where to stick their job, regardless of how unprofessional they are, isn’t exactly the best way to react. It’ll only scare off any other flight attendants you may be interested in. Personally, I don’t know many flight attendants who are snotty and hateful with big heads. Big hair, maybe. But a big head? No, not a one. I mean we pick up trash at 30,000 feet for a living from anywhere up to fourteen hours a day after a ten hour layover at a dumpy airport hotel! What I do know are a lot of flight attendants who are tired and hungry and often times treated not very nicely by aggrevated passengers looking to take out their frustrations with the airline on someone, anyone! And that person usually ends up being the flight attendant who gets stuck listening to the complaints for hours on end. Take advantage of that situation, Mark. Be a breath of fresh air and become the guy who understands how hard the job can be. Flight attendants love to be understood.

While there are dating sites like, I recommend using a regular on line dating site. Only because you don’t want to limit yourself to just women who wear navy blue polyester, do you? Keep your options open! You never know who you might meet. Back when I was single and dating on, I dated quite a few doctors who were interested in flight attendants, but I also dated men who were interested in dating just me. I ended up marrying a guy I met the old fashioned way – on a flight. Eight years later we’re still going strong.

If you’re truly serious about dating a flight attendant, Mark, check out the following letter from Lewis, a guy who knows what it’s like, really like, to date a flight attendant, and you might just change your mind. Life with a flight attendant might not be what you think.

Good luck!


PS. Lewis walked down the aisle last year with a wonderful woman who works on the ground, not in the air, and is now living happily ever after.


Dear Heather,

I thought I’d add a different perspective…what it’s like to be the guy who is dating a flight attendant. ALL red-blooded American men dream of dating a flight attendant. My turn finally came and I was in awe. I then was rather surprised that the glamorous life we were led to believe didn’t really exist. I found flight attendants have one of the toughest lives out there, and to this day I don’t understand how they endure it. My suspicions are…those who can’t take it drop out in the first year, leaving those who can.

I had absolutely no idea that flight attendants (god forbid one slip and say stewardess) didn’t merely go to the airport in time for a morning flight, fly during the day, only to return and sleep in their own bed each night. I was introduced to the world of “trips,” “bidding,” and “seniority.” Since Delta hadn’t hired in many years, my particular flight attendant with many years seniority was still at the bottom of the list, meaning her four day trips frequently consisted of frequent short hops.

I was horrified…and mystified…that essentially flight attendants get paid door closing to door opening. ALL that work-heavy time boarding….is their “contribution to the airline.” All the time waiting with the door open for a mechanical delay is on them. All the time waiting for the last granny to deplane and wait for a missing wheelchair…again on them.

They report two HOURS before a flight….out of the “goodness of their heart.” I was even surprised they weren’t paid on layovers. My strongest belief is that flight attendants should be paid from the second they check in on the first day of their flight until the second they check out on the last day of their flight…even if this means the semi-artificial high flying time pay is reduced. I AM aware that those with seniority would take advantage of this and suddenly WANT the short hops, leaving those with less seniority with the longer flights, but even still…I feel that since they are on company time and rules even when on a lay-over…they should be paid.

It’s not as easy as a flight attendant may feel on their companion. They are gone for four days, on a average, for a trip. The night before a trip, gosh forbid their partner turn on the TV…they need their rest….and forget romance that night either. The night they return, they have a desperate need to get rid of the frozen smile on their face, and have zero desire to talk…they HAVE been talking for four days. The first night home, their companion is to have wine, dinner, a hot bath ready and to ready mute, but at their beck and call. Now six out of seven days have been used. The day after a trip, their companion better be darn ready to go out on the town…it’s their night to party, shop, enjoy the town.

I was extremely surprised to find out a flight attendant wasn’t ecstatic to hear from their loved one at length during a lay-over. I THOUGHT, how nice, they’re alone in a room in a hotel, so they would appreciate a long phone call for companionship. Instead they are working at removing the fixed smile, have been talking all day, can’t really have a drink to relax, and basically want to be alone, probably catching a sports event on TV. I was even surprised that sports was big in their lives until it dawned on me….they can’t really get into a TV series, as they will miss so many episodes, so they learn to watch something that is a one-time event.

So, their life is tough, and their companion has to be totally understanding. I was absolutely unable to understand when economic times got tough, that somehow the airlines felt the flight attendants must be the source of their economic difficulties, so removed crew meals. Let me get this straight…away from home, so no access to your own fridge….so you have to BUY a ridiculously-priced airport sandwich? Let me get this straight, no crew meal, so you have to serve meals to all the passengers, but not get to have one yourself? At Least the CEO’s did away with their own corporate dining rooms. (AS IF.)

Then some bright guy figured out….hey, they have nothing to do after passengers deplane, let’s have the FLIGHT ATTENDANTS clean the plane! Ignore the fact that they aren’t getting paid at that point and essentially every flight attendant I’ve ever met has chronic back and knee problems.

Still, I just can’t help it. I still adore flight attendants. I still am in little boy awe of these goddesses of the sky. I think their absolutely PERFECT grooming and make-up is so appealing. (I’m aware that that perfect grooming comes at a price of yet ANOTHER hour of their own time in their room preparing for the flight…but wow, the results!)

I found it funny how basically EVERY flight attendant will name the SAME city-city flight as the horror flight, the OMG NO I have to fly from this one city to THAT one city? MOST of the flight attendants also have the same celebrity they chose for horror stories. I was sad, that even though International flights have the best pay, the best time spent for hours paid, that it wounds flight attendants with the time changes and hours, so they get burned out.

Congratulations on your blog, and keep up the good work.


Air New Zealand Matchmaking Flight cleared for takeoff

Back in May, we told you about Air New Zealand’s plan to send a Matchmaking Flight from Los Angeles to Auckland. Well, that flight is now less than three weeks away and more details have been released. Air New Zealand has announced that Jason Mesnick of ABC’s “The Bachelor” (along with his girlfriend) will be on the flight, as well. More interesting, however, are the other activities that have been planned.

There is a party at the gate at LAX that will include an open bar. Nothing like a little social lubrication before you flirt at 30,000 feet. Mesnick and his girlfriend will offer the passengers dating advice. Not sure that anyone should take dating advice from a reality TV star, but if you’re willing to fly to the bottom of the world to find love, I guess you’ve already decided to make bold life choices. Once in the air, the activities planned will help passengers find their perfect match. Upon arrival in Auckland, Matchmaking Flight passengers will attend a cocktail reception (to top off their glasses after that long flight) and then the official “ball,” where they will also get to mix and mingle with Kiwis looking for love.

Why am I so intrigued by all of these in-flight romantic shenanigans? Well, it just so happens that I will be on the flight covering the event for Gadling. It’s worth noting that I typically sleep on flights. In fact, on a recent flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, I slept for 11.5 hours. So, having to stay awake and perky on a flight to Auckland may pose a challenge. But, if anything can hold my attention it’s free-flowing liquor and get-to-know-you games. I’m drawing the line at trust falls, though.

Yeah, it’s going to be an interesting flight. And you’ll all be able to experience it vicariously through me. Gadling readers, will you accept this rose?