Videos: bad baggage handlers (or, Remind me again why we pay to check luggage!)

What happens to your bags after you hand them over at the airport? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. Are our bags cared for lovingly? Are they abused? Are they tossed and thrown… or set down carefully, gently?

While most baggage handlers are no doubt scrupulous and careful with luggage, every group has its bad apples. Here are some of the worst offenders, making us mutter to ourselves, “Remind me again why we pay to check luggage!”

Watch these baggage handlers see who can get the best backward, over the head shot into containers with luggage and shipped packages.

It’s clear that this baggage handler is not really interested in “handling” the baggage as it comes off the plane.

This young lady was having fun bag tossing… until she realized passengers were watching her from the plane.

These British Air baggage handlers seem to enjoy watching the bags bounce off each other.

These EasyJet baggage handlers seem to think it’s appropriate to stack the smallest bags on the bottom… and dump the larger bags on top.

This guy doesn’t throw any bags… he just drags the bags behind the baggage car.

So you think locking your luggage makes it safer? Ha! This video shows you precisely how to get into a “locked” bag.

These baboons at Knowlsey Safari Park give new meaning to the phrase “baggage handlers.”

Good luck on your next flight, and remember: don’t pack anything valuable in your checked bags!

Like these videos? Be sure to check out Episode 2 of Gadling’s Travel Talk TV!

The Spice Isle: Grenada moves on past Hurricane Ivan

I didn’t know a lot about Grenada before visiting recently, but one name was familiar to me: Ivan — the hurricane that came through with force in 2004. So once I got there, I wanted to find out two things: what’s it like during a hurricane? And how does the country look now, five years later?

You first have to realize — the hurricane was a fluke. The reason some residents were actually excited to see a hurricane in person was because hurricanes come so infrequently and Ivan would be their first. (The previous one was Janet in 1955.) Located 12 degrees above the equator, in the southeast part of the Caribbean, Grenada sits outside the hurricane belt.

By all accounts from the stories I heard, “Ivan the Terrible” was a rager. News had been as moody and unreliable as the hurricane itself – first saying that it was coming, then saying it wasn’t – before Ivan struck soon after. Winds blew 130 mph strong, making it a category 3 storm, as it made its way to Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Florida. 28 people in Grenada were killed, 18,000 people were homeless, and 90% of the buildings were damaged and 30% were destroyed.

All important things to realize. But even more, from what I’ve seen and heard, Grenada should be known for overcoming these things as much as enduring them.
The people have proved themselves to be resilient. During the storm, many held tight in their own homes, and others took refuge in shelters like churches, all while roofs were being torn off and water was coming in. With 90% of the buildings damaged and 30% destroyed, the people pulled together — cohabitating in the homes that were intact, and helping to re-build together the ones that weren’t. A man who was lucky enough to not have to repair his roof told me “everybody had to do SOME construction.”

One quote on a wall near the northern town of Sauteurs caught my eye: “God has not promised to keep us from life’s storms, but he has promised to keep us through them.” It’s hard to believe, but these folks had a repeat performance soon after. Hurricane Emily came through in July 2005 — a mere 10 months after Ivan.

No one’s going to say that the hurricane was a blessing, considering all of the damage, but it’s because of that damage that building codes have improved. Schools – which had been in need of rebuilding – have also been improved. The tourism industry was rebuilt (often better than before, like the amazing Spice Island Resort on Grand Anse Beach) — though I’m happy to hear that nothing can be built higher than 3 stories. A new National Stadium, home to cricket and soccer matches, was built to replace the destroyed one.

Only a few repairs will have to take longer, even after five years. The 128-year-old Church of the Immaculate Conception is still roofless, while the congregation continues to raise funds for construction.

I’ve been told that NADMA (National Disaster Management Agency) became better trained and equipped with proactive education and response systems.

The land itself has gotten to work repairing itself — although it takes more time than anything else. From my untrained eye, I was struck by the thick vegetation — fronds and branches, growing from all of the indentations and slopes of the country’s inland mountainscape. But I was told that for all of the places that I saw green, it was equally as gray after the hurricane — where winds stripped trees and shrubs down to the bark itself. Because the hurricane wiped out most of the country’s nutmeg livelihood, more wind-resistant nutmeg trees were planted.

These folks may now be well prepared for another hurricane, but let’s hope they’re not put to the test again anytime soon.

Alison Brick traveled through Grenada on a trip sponsored by the Grenada Board of Tourism. That said, she could write about anything that struck her fancy. (And it just so happens that these are the things that struck her fancy.) You can read more from her The Spice Isle: Grenada series here.

Paris catacombs vandalized, closed for repair

Paris’ catacombs, underground passages full of neatly stacked human bones, have been temporarily closed to the public after being vandalized.

A spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office would not go into detail on the extent of the vandalism, which took place over the weekend, but said that the site would be closed because in its current state it was hazardous to visitors. According to the AP, a photo in a Paris newspaper showed “bones and skulls scattered along the walking paths”. There was no word on when the catacombs would reopen, but as they are a major tourist attraction visited by over 250,000 people each year, it seems that the city would do its best to clean the mess and repair any damage as soon as possible.

The catacombs open to the public are just one part of an 186-mile network underneath the city. The bones of over 6 million Parisians are contained here, having been moved to the site in the 18th and 19th centuries after the city’s cemeteries became overcrowded and contributed to the spread of disease.

Carnival cruise line bans family for life

You would think that it would take a pretty serious infraction to cause a cruise line operator to ban you for life — pushing the annoying commerical guy overboard, for example, or dumping soap in the water slide pool.

But surely not for getting a few scratches on your dresser. According to one Mr. Chris Harvey who took a cruise docking into Ft. Lauderdale this summer, however, that’s what got him and his family the boot. In addition to that, Mr. Harvey claims that the scratches were there long before the cruise says that they existed, suggesting that the staff falsely accused them of causing the damage.

In the end, Harvey signed a document accepting a life time ban from the entire cruise line, the only alternative to coughing up some cash for the damages. You can read about his experience at his website.

Since the ban, however, the plot has thickened. Harvey was able to produce a few photos showing that the dresser was already damaged before the cruise claimed, and now that his story has gained traction on his site, Carnival is reversing the ban.

In the end, the moral of this whole fiasco is to check your room before you move in. Like a rental car, you’re liable for any damage during your stay.


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