Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Alan Jacobs, who tweets a good deal on all sorts of things, and probably should be getting on with his real writing more often, sent a wonderful Tweet during the early days of the Soccer World Cup:

This ball might as well be an Elgin Marble, so incapable are the Greeks of retaining possession of it.

I only remembered about this because I've been keeping a list of various items I want to use at some point in the blog, or elsewhere. They're a pretty random bunch, and it's hard to think how I'd place Jacobs' line otherwise than by just plunking it down on the page.

Here's something totally different, relating to the number of bags that are lost annually by air companies. (By the way, if you travel a lot and want to prevent hair loss from stress, don't read the following!)

Apparently 25 million items of luggage are misplaced globally each year, or one bag per 100 passenger. Pretty scary. We've only ever had one bag go astray, and that was between Dunedin and Wellington last year. We stayed in Wgtn for a couple of days, but the bag still didn't manage to get there. Finally we carried onto Napier, our next destination, and somehow or other (since Air NZ didn't know we were going there) the bag managed to get there ahead of us!

So when do bags go missing? Here are the stats:

- Transfer baggage mishandling (52 per cent)

- Failure to load (16 per cent)

- Passenger bag switch/security/ticketing error (13 per cent)

- Loading/offloading (7 per cent)

- Airport/customs/weather/space-weight restriction (6 per cent)

- Arrival station mishandling (3 per cent)

- Tagging errors (3 per cent)

It's those transfers that are the big problem. I watched a bunch of guys throwing (yup, that's how it's done) bags onto a trolley while waiting for my plane to move onto the next destination a few weeks ago. None of the bags were checked in terms of whether they should have been taken off the plane or not. In fact, the guys didn't look at the labels at all. No wonder things go astray.

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