Venice hosts its own funeral

Venice is dying. At least, according to Newsweek it is. The population has been shrinking so rapidly (it dropped below 60,000 this year) that the mag predicts there won’t be a single full-time resident in the city by 2030. A city that sees millions of visitors per year, an average of 55,000 per day, won’t be home to a single person. Yeah, I’d call that a dead city.

To draw attention to the issue, residents of Venice have organized a mock funeral in which three gondolas will pull a red coffin through the city’s canals on Saturday, November 14th.

In addition to the flood of tourists who make the city nearly unlivable during summer months, other factors such as increasing home prices and a shrinking tax base, have combined to result in the mass exodus of long-time Venetians.

One of the organizers of the “funeral” says this doesn’t have to be the end though. He hopes that by drawing attention to the issue, some of the problems can be addressed and new citizens will be lured to Venice. “It might be the beginning; it could even spur a rebirth. Now we just have to create a Venice [people] will want to stay in. We have to give them a reason not to leave.”

[via Budget Travel]

Monumental “mixup” – US Airways delivers casket instead of tropical fish

Sooner or later every passenger on an airline will run into some kind of issue with their luggage. But a recent blunder by US Airways makes everything I’ve ever endured look like a walk in the park.

When Northeast Philadelphia pet store owner Mark Arabia received a shipment of tropical fish, he knew something was wrong – instead of 3 boxes containing his shipment, the driver had been given a casket, containing the remains of 65 year old Jon Kenoyer.

Due to what US Airways called “an unfortunate mixup”, the casket was released to a driver, who loaded the box into his car, thinking he was transporting fish.

I’m sorry, but this is not a mixup – it is a blunder of epic proportions. I can understand an airline being sloppy with our personal baggage (and they are), but to actually release the remains of a deceased family member to the wrong driver is just a really sad case of incompetence.

US Airways picked up the coffin later that day, but the fish have still not been delivered, and have probably died by now due to a depleted oxygen supply.

All in all a disgraceful situation, and one that should make people think twice about sending a deceased relative with US Airways.

Check out these other stories from the airport checkpoint!