A traveler's advisory: beware when making reservations with Air France via one of their SkyTeam Alliance partners. For the second time in this situation, I arrived at the airport with a confirmed reservation and seat assignments only to be told I actually had no seat. The gate agents explained that, while I received a confirmation from Continental (it's a code share), Air France's computer system is programmed to ignore seat assignment requests from its partner. Why? They couldn't say, but has apparently long been the case.
How to avoid having no seat? Once you get your confirmation numbers for an Air France-operated flight, log on to Air France's website, enter that number, and pick you seats again if you want to be sure to have them.
This turned out to be a only a minor inconvenience for me, but a family of four waiting behind me in line wasn't as lucky. They booked their flights via Travelocity which, acccording to the gate agents, the Air France system also ignores. This poor family never got to board the plane, even though they had their confirmed reservations in their hands.
Paris is wonderful, but in future I'm going to go out of my way to avoid arriving here by Air France.
If you live in or near Portland, Maine and have an interest in documentary photography, narrative journalism, or documentary radio, this semester's Salt students are showing off their work this Thursday, May 21st, at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
Inside Out There opens at 5pm (and closes June 2) and is an event not to be missed. (It includes projects on beekeeping, stand up comedy, roller skating, alien abductions, and wrinkle harvesters.) For more information, visit the exhibit'sFacebook page.
The talk is based on my first book, Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas, an account of my global travels to investigate the environmental problems of the two-thirds of the planet that lie underwater. (I spent six weeks looking at climate and ozone effects in Antarctica, circumnavigated the Black Sea with leading scientists, politicians, and the heads of the Orthodox Christian church, and explored the reefs of Belize, the atolls of Micronesia, the bayous of Louisiana, and the outports of Newfoundland.) It's a sobering tale, but the good news is there's plenty we can do about the situation and, in this country at least, some important strides have been made.
With the pirates of Somalia in the news, I've been fielding a number of media inquiries about the parallels between the current piracy outbreak and the Golden Age Pirates. (The latter are the subject of my most recent book, The Republic of Pirates.)
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting. My fifth book, American Character, comes out in March 2016.