Stranded travelers riot at Argentine airport

In most airports I’ve traveled through, when confronted with flight delays or rude ticket agents, passengers quietly express their concern with the situation. Sure, there are a usually few outcasts who raise their voice or stomp their feet to show their frustration. Some of us even shake our fists in the air, bravely vowing to blog to the world, Mr. Johanson, just how rude you are, and how ugly your vest.

But in Argentina, they riot

After learning of numerous flight cancellations, frustrated travelers at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also known as Ezeiza Airport) near Buenos Aires turned their anger towards the ticket counter, “tossing computers in the air and shoving security guards,” according to an AP article. “Local television broadcasts showed passengers overrunning ticketing counters, throwing computers and wrestling with airport personnel, even as a spokesman for the airline attempted to explain the cause of delays.”

The delays were said to be caused by a labor dispute involving pilots and baggage handlers. Incidentally, these are the same baggage handlers who have been frequently accused by a local news station of stealing electronics out of luggage, according to Wikipedia. The unions, naturally, blamed the delays on overbooked flights.

When in Rome, Do As the Baggage Handlers Do. Relax!

Those flying into Rome Fiumicino airport must have been hating Rome the minute they arrived this past weekend. There is nothing like a warm welcome to a foreign country! Hundreds of thousands bags got delayed as baggage handlers “took their time” getting them from the plane to the passengers. The reason? Low pay.

European workers have had a long tradition of going on strike but this seems more creative than a regular strike. They were apparently slowing down the flow of baggage by using things such as chewing gum to cover up barcode readers that sort the bags and that electric trolleys used to ferry bags to and from aircraft were often found to be lacking power.

Stranded at the airport for hours waiting for one’s bags is a good time to contemplate how accustomed we have become to things working on our own schedule. If you are sitting at terminal A right now, wedged between a couple of sweaty tourists, you probably don’t understand what I mean. All I am saying is, “things going wrong” is a part of travel. One day, this will make a good story.