Luggage Tag: You’re It!

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”
–Mark Twain


Every airport traveler has to have a sense of humor. *

Here’s one way to lighten the load of airport travel from my friends at Flight001–witty luggage tags:


He didn’t get the
“Don’t worry, be happy” memo.

baggage-hrAnd some of us love retro!

FLI00913-F1-get-lost-tag-HR1~ I always love a good pun ~

When others need to be warned…


                    Wherever you go, there you are  

FLI23183-F1-rubber-luggage-tag-go-away-HRIt’s always better to be alone or with someone


For that shutterbug in your life


For a complete page of Flight001‘s luggage tags, CLICK HERE.

They also have great ideas for (CLICK ON YOUR DESIRED LINK AS FOLLOWS):
gifts for her, gifts for him, gifts under $25, and a great post on “How to Properly Pack Your Suitcase.”



NEW YORK, NY 10011               

T: 212.691.1001
F: 212.691.8660

* All photos in this post have been used with permission from FLIGHT001.

It’s Plane Tofino

.”  –Julia Alvarez

Juxtaposition of Flight 

Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

Once in a while, I receive notes and pictures from readers I’ve never actually met, but who are kind, open-hearted, and seem familiar to me. Some might call it synchronicity. Others might call it fate, luck or providence. Some of these “strangers” become friends

20100815-IMG_4533-2Hidden Treasures
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

One such example is a person in Tofino, British Columbia.  Tofino is a place I probably never would have known about, thought about, or tried to understand if it weren’t for my Internet friend, “W,” who’s a brilliant photographer at Tofino Photography

He has some amazing photographs, so check out his site and make a new friend!

20110703-IMG_9268Skyward Bound
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

Tofino has a small airport, the Tofino/Long Beach Airport, and floatplanes also land on the inlet in town. For those of us who’ve never flown in a floatplane, the only thing I can think of is: “How cool is that?”

But this post isn’t really about airports and airplanes.

It’s a THANK YOU to “W” at Tofino Photography for being one of those people who enrich the lives of others in a positive way.

Enjoy! Deb

Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20100814-IMG_4459-2Sunset Plane
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20110824-IMG_4123Surprise Visit
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20090916-20090916-IMG_4513Up in the Air
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20090916-20090916-IMG_4493Skyline Chopper
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

Workin’ Progress

Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20110907-IMG_7416Onward and Upward!
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved 

20110703-IMG_9285From a Distance
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20120722-IMG_6524-2Fly before Night
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20130711-IMG_9213Makin’ a Splash
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved


NOTE: All photographs in this post are the intellectual property of Tofino Photography, and used with written permission from Tofino Photography by AirportsMadeSimple Magazine.

These photos are for sale, and to purchase any of these photos, or to view beautiful photos of Tofino, B.C., please visit the website of Tofino Photography.

What Does Christmas Mean to You?


When the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, everyone views this time from different windows.

Some are angry, some sad, some happy, some joyous, some frazzled, some are mean to others, and some just want it to all be over so “real life” can carry on.

There are in-laws, outlaws, family dynamics that are complicated, some families not so complicated, and some just are.

There are precious children waiting with bated breath for Christmas morning and all the fun and excitement and presents that Santa (dad/mom/family) will bring.

There are children whose only wish is food. Or shoes. Or a loving family that will care for them and love them.

There are people living through the happiest days of their lives, there are folks in transition, and some have just experienced a great tragedy or are fighting for someone or something, and Christmas, while on their mind, isn’t about material possessions and the trappings of a holiday commercial…it’s about the real meaning of Christmas.

So. What IS the real meaning of Christmas?

If you asked 100 people, you would get 100 different answers. The child inside of each of us would agree those 100 different answers probably mean the same thing.

Here’s What Christmas Means to Me:

  • The Christ Child’s Greatest Gift
  • Life’s Big Picture
  • Happy children’s faces
  • Beautiful music
  • Love
  • Magic
  • Fun
  • Time
  • Hope
  • Prayer
  • The smile on your pet
  • Kindness
  • Divine miracles
  • Remembering those who need help
  • And so much more.


For those who’ve made certain choices in life and reside in a prison or correctional facility, Christmas may be a time of reflection, regret, and isolation.

Unless we personally know someone in this situation during the holidays, we don’t see those faces staring at us through the glass on a phone or sitting across from us at a table for a brief period of time.

They have the stark reminder that Christmas is about sharing your life with others and having community and fellowship with those you love.

They have brief moments of hope they cling to so they can get through another day, and focus on reentering society someday – a society they know may or may not welcome them.

For this reason, the organization called Puppies Behind Bars was founded:

An inmate applies to raise a Service Dog. If approved, they are with the dog 24/7. They train them, care for them, feed them, sleep with them, and teach their Service Dogs to help those on the outside to have better lives–typically our military service members, the elderly, the handicapped, and children who suffer from permanent and sometimes fatal diseases.

Once the dog is fully trained, the inmate must release the dog to its (new) owner. Imagine the heartbreak of that inmate who’s embraced a dog for a year or more of its life, only to know there will be a day they will have to say say goodbye.

These profound people contribute to our society in a quiet way, yet they also are taught the lesson of unconditional love–something many of them have never, ever felt in their lives. Ever. They then have the pride in knowing they’ve helped another human being have a great life – – no matter what they have done in their own lives.

It’s a powerful concept. One we should embrace. To learn more, please go to their website at and watch their videos and learn more about them.

What’s the true meaning of Christmas?

I can’t think of a better example than this:


Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I wish you health, happiness, and joy in 2015.


Inconvenient Truths by an Outmanned Mommy


kids next to and in suitcase

The joys of packing with children (this is the 7th attempt)
Photo: Mary Widdicks, All Rights Reserved


I first met Mary Widdicks through her blog titled: “OutmannedMommy.” Other than the clever name of her blog, her byline was: “When fart jokes and belching contests just aren’t enough.” Hilarious! It made me laugh out loud. Some of us may not want to admit it to the general public, but we’ve all lived it, whether we tell anyone or not.  I admire Mary’s frankness and her great sense of humor. I’m guessing you will, too. Enjoy! Deborah

By Mary Widdicks

When traveling, everyone has to go to the bathroom. Sometimes at the MOST inopportune times.

When traveling with small children, however, it’s an unavoidable, unpleasant, inconvenient, and sometimes quite spectacular reality! To them, it resembles more of a pyrotechnic show than a bodily function. The best you can hope for is damage control.

Every parent who’s traveled with a child has stories that would curl your toes and make your hair stand up on end. They’re like notches on our belt. We show off our battle scars and compare them with other parents. We revel in our membership cards in the Mile High Parenting Club. At the end of the day, you just have to laugh so you don’t cry.

Instead of advice, I offer you comradery. Take comfort in the fact that I’ve been through the worst of it, come out the other side, and lived to travel again. Most of all, have a laugh at my expense. Trust me, it’ll make you feel better.

passport pictures
Necessities (no, I don’t mean the passports)

Photo: Mary Widdicks, All Rights Reserved

When my oldest son was six months old, we bravely took him on an international flight from the UK to the US. It was going to mean nine hours in the air. I’m still not sure what we were thinking. In a desperate attempt to feel prepared for the almost certain disaster on which we were about to embark, I asked everyone I knew for advice on flying with infants. One piece of advice that came up several times was:

Avoid the airport bathroom changing tables

It made sense to me.

This was my first flight since my son was born and I was very conscious of being seen as a good mom. I wanted to be cool, calm and collected: the three C’s of successful parenting.I didn’t yet have years of tantrums, food fights, explosive poops, bruises, and various diseases to teach me that parenting is more about survival than perfection.  I still washed my hands every time I went to the restroom.

When the flight attendants called for advanced boarding, I quickly whipped out my changing mat. This was as good a place as any to change a diaper. The gate wasn’t too crowded. There were plenty of empty seats to serve as changing tables. So I laid my baby on one of the seats with his head toward the back of the seat and his legs sticking out toward me. The other passengers noted my clever display of child-traveling savvy with mild interest.

As if he knew everyone was watching, the second I released the tabs on his diaper my adorable little baby let out a thundering fart and turned bright red. Anyone who has spent much time with a baby knows that this can mean only one thing: Code Brown (or Yellow).

kid runing with medal - kid wins 1 mommy 0
Heh, heh, heh…I WIN!

Photo: Mary Widdicks, All Rights Reserved

I turned, just for a second, to dig the wipes out of my diaper bag. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pair of chubby legs kicking wildly as my baby began to slide backwards, and headfirst through the gap in the back of the seat. Horrors! Time stood still. I could hear the collective “GASP!” from everyone around me as I grabbed him by one of his legs and pulled him unceremoniously back through the opening millimeters before his head hit the floor.

To add insult to injury, the contents from the now loosely-fitting diaper had spread across his little back.  As I pulled him back onto the seat, I realized it was now smeared all over the back of the chair! Absolutely mortified,  I looked up at the crowd. The shock had worn off and most of them were now pretending not to have noticed.

But I could feel the back of their heads judging me. I was no longer any of the C’s.

Fair enough.


Great family photo outmanned mommy


I can’t promise that reading this story will improve your experiences of traveling with children. But no matter what befalls you, remember that it could always be worse and someday it will make for a great story! (And remember to wipe down those airplane waiting area seats…)

I’m a 30-year-old mother of two boys, two dogs, and an ever-changing number of gender-indiscriminate fish. My husband calls me Honey, the three year old calls me Mommy, the baby calls me Milk, the dogs call me their Indentured Servant, and I’m pretty sure the fish have no idea who I am at all. I’m definitely outmanned. Coincidentally, I’m also the writer of the humorous parenting blog:

Outmanned Mommy (LINK:

Stop by and drop me a note!

[Unless otherwise noted, the text and pictures in this blog post are the intellectual property of Mary Widdicks and/or Outmanned Mommy. Please contact her directly for questions at  Thanks!]

Plane Liberace

Liberace, Pensacola Airport, Circa 1960s FRANK HARDY PHOTO

Liberace, Pensacola Airport, Circa 1950s


Nothing was “plain” about Liberace!

Today we have the honor of an article written about Liberace along with archived airplane photos from Frank Hardy, our guest author, and owner of the blog titled Frank Hardy Made My Photographs Two: CLICK HERE*

Frank has some great airport and airplane history through his father’s black and white photos.  Please make an effort to stop by his website and say “hi.” AirportsMadeSimple would like to shout out a hearty “THANK YOU!!!” to Frank for putting this together. Cheers, D

Liberace with young lady FRANK HARDY PHOTO

Liberace with young lady, Circa 1950s

Hi! My name is Frank Hardy, and I hope you enjoy my father’s archived photos of Liberace taken at the Pensacola International Airport (formerly Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport).

Everyone’s heard of Liberace, the great musician.  One thing you may not know is that he regularly flew to Pensacola, Florida to purchase Louis XIV-style furniture from a lady named Ada Wilson.

Typically, during the 1950s and 1960s, the most frequent airlines at Pensacola International Airport were Eastern Air Lines and National Airlines. (Do you know the types of airplanes shown in these pictures?)

My father loved photography, and he also loved music.  I remember the background stories for these pictures like it was yesterday.

For instance, once, in the 1930s, my father watched Liberace play at a hotel in Chicago (the legendary Palmer House). You see, my father’s brother was getting married, and the night Liberace played in that hotel lobby was the same night of my brother’s rehearsal dinner in that hotel! Perfect timing. Liberace gave a stellar performance like only Liberace could–on the cusp of his superstardom.  It was a night my father never forgot.

Twenty years later, my father photographed Liberace at the Pensacola International Airport, and struck up a conversation with him about those early days in Chicago at the Palmer House. Liberace was thrilled! They spoke for over an hour about his music career, and how those early days really helped his career take off. 

Liberace and stewardess in background, Circa 1960s

Liberace and stewardess in background, Circa late 1950s-early 1960s

I hope you enjoy these photos.
Liberace was not a man to be forgotten.
And neither was my father.


Frank Hardy bio pic

About Frank Hardy:

Frank’s a second generation professional photographer living in Milton, Florida (across the bay from Pensacola).  He attended the University of West Florida and graduated on March 17, 1977–moving immediately into professional photography on March 18, 1977.

A quote: “I thought I would give it five years or so and then move onto something else, but 37 years later I’m still working in the business of photography…I went digital in 2002,  and I’ve really enjoyed working with the transition of the entire digital process.  I consider myself a portrait photographer (since I feel I’m a people person), but I’ve photographed anything and everything.”

Drop him a note at his website: CLICK HERE!

He’d love to hear from you.

*All photos and text written in this post are the intellectual property of Frank Hardy. Please contact him for further information by clicking HERE.

Airline Ticket Taxes: Where’s Your Money Going?

Cash, 2014
Above picture credit: Photo taken at home of author.
I’m proud to be paying taxes in the United States.
The only thing is—I could be just as proud for half the money.
–Arthur Godfrey
When you buy an airline ticket, you pay surcharges (for fuel, etc…), fees (baggage fees, extra bag and heavy weighted bag fees, even ticket fees), but not much is said about the taxes you pay. 
Maybe we’re just used to it? 
In the United States, the published selling price and the actual selling price of an airline ticket are two very different things (The published selling price is the base fare + taxes = actual selling price.).
This is nothing new, but do you know where your money is going?

Airline ticket taxes passed along to you:

U.S. Transportation Taxes: At the time of this posting, this tax is a certain percentage of the base fares within the United States – typically about 7.5%. In 2014, the tax under § 4261(b)(1) on the amount paid for each domestic segment of taxable air transportation is $4.00, and the tax under § 4261(c)(1) on any amount paid (whether within or without the United States) for any international air transportation.

If the transportation begins or ends in the United States, generally it’s $17.50. Under § 4261(c)(3), however, a lower amount applies under § 4261(c)(1) to a domestic  segment beginning or ending in Alaska or Hawaii, and the tax applies only to departures. For calendar year 2014, the rate is approximately $8.70.

Passenger Facility Charges (“PFCs“): These charges are an additional tax the federal government allows a certain airport to charge passengers so that the airport can subsidize airport expansions and update airport facilities. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Segment Taxes: A segment tax is a federal tax that applies for a departure from the airport at the beginning of a flight segment. These taxes don’t apply to selected rural airports. The amount charged is approximately $3.40 and up.

U.S. Security Service Fees:  This fee was imposed on airline passengers in response to 9/11 to support higher security throughout airports, and support the TSA.  This fee used to be $2.50 per trip; however, recent articles have suggested that the government (with both Republican and Democratic support), will likely increase this fee to $5.60 per trip.

CLICK HERE for an interesting article from Bloomberg.


Happy Flying!