Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Travel Round-Up – Transsexual stewardesses, obese bags and why flying coach still beats flying cargo

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that a brave airline in Thailand is hiring transsexual “third sex” stewardesses, aka Ladyboys. They predict other airlines will follow their lead. I applaud their gesture toward equal rights. And not to be mean, but these stewardesses are far better looking than the last flight crew I got on Continental.


Way to go, PC Air.

They are punishing our bags for being obese
Another reason to hate an airline: U.S. Air is upping its bag fee from $50 to $90 dollars when the bag is overweight. See earlier post on packing light.

What about the ripple effect this will have on the souvenir industry? We are all going to think twice about buying the funny looking monkey made out of coconuts with obscene sayings on it if we are a) packing smaller or less luggage and b) worried about exceeding a weight limit. This could be devastating to all the tourist shops that make their living plying you with irresistible souvenirs.

Anyone out there routinely ship stuff home rather than having to pack it? What are your tips for keeping bags light?

Stowing away inadvertently in the cargo hold
On a related note, there was a story in the news last week about how some poor baggage handler at National airport got stuck in a cargo hold when his coworker inadvertently closed the door on him while he was loading bags. Passengers heard screaming and thumping coming from somewhere in the plane and alerted the crew – how unnerving is that?

Apparently this is not the first time this has happened, on the same type of plane – and there was a reported incident in which a guy actually flew in the hold from DC to Boston …

First, I’m amazed that this could happen so easily. Second, if there are three incidents we’ve heard of, that means there must be more that happen that don’t make the news. And third, doesn’t this sound like a safety issue? If it’s that easy to lose a person on the tarmac or for someone to accidentally get locked in the cargo hold, then how easy would it be for someone to sneak in there on purpose?

I hope someone at the FAA is looking into this. And I hope someone at least sent that baggage handler a muffin basket.

“It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the roller-coaster or the jukebox. It is no simple longing for the home town or country of our birth. The emotion is Janus-faced: we are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” - Carson McCullers

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