August 10, 2022

Hardwood Paroxysm

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This is what happens in the Bologna case

Planes that only take off with chasing passengers Airplanes that only take off with suitcases that – to tell the truth – are typical travelers: mute, don’t ask for a glass of water and don’t run toilets. They are also tossed without protest, not even complaining if the unwitting owner squeezed some form of camembert between his jackets and slippers who now wanders asking for news of tomato sauce not working well.

An unprecedented tragic comedy carousel swings across the skies of Europe, with thousands upon thousands of baggage parked at least at their worst possible in airports and in airports, even the largest, and it is no longer known where to put this growing tide of doomed suitcases to be reunited with Angry and desperate travelers thereafter long after the end of the vacation.

This happens: After an unexpected surge in post-pandemic orders, airlines and handlers (that is, companies that “handle” baggage from conveyor belts to aircraft carriers and vice versa) have raised the white flag. Simply put, with the organic calibration in the desert caused by Covid, they will not be able to manage the traffic of those holiday weeks in which the pandemic pretends to be over. Strikes are only a small part of the problem, which is now essentially structural.

And so the passengers board, but they do not have time to load their luggage. The plane leaves, otherwise, after a lot of delay, you risk losing the hatch (the place in the arrival and departure board) and then, when possible, load the plane only with suitcases and take off in search of passengers. Tourists or business travelers who meanwhile queued up in writing (imagine 150 or 300 passengers on each plane finding themselves on vacation or on a mission in the clothes they’re wearing) to fill out a lost baggage form (which is actually ‘lost’ ‘not’) at Lost & Found office at the destination airport.

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But this bag is always like Achilles who will never reach the tortoiseThis is your master. Vacations now last for a long weekend, a week, two weeks if it comes to luxury: very little baggage to join the traveler.

Tragicomec: The tourist has arrived at the holiday resort and then, perhaps, after a week, has already returned to his home. his bag? He is late, walks on straps, collects dust in driveways, and so arrives near beaches and umbrellas when the owner returns to the office. Then another ‘baggage-only’ wait begins to take the unused bag home. Far be it from your trip that stops in London, Amsterdam, Brussels or Frankfurt: the main European hubs where the situation resembles the end of the world.

And that is if we do not get in the way of strikes by corporate employees or processing staff who in the past two years have also developed a strong desire to assert their rights with regard to wages, treatment and duties. Among other things, in the event of a flight cancellation, both aisles and baggage remain on the ground.

Refunds for this sarcasm? Uncertain, rare and definitely late even for flights and suitcases. Even worse if you have flown with low cost airlines. And not everyone can follow the logical and clear advice of Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini: “Travel only with hand luggage.”

“A return to normal was expected in 2024 – they say from the Bologna sanitary airport where arriving passengers divide the aisles with a patchwork carpet of bags hundreds of meters long – but in fact in June of this year we registered more than 2.4 passengers compared to 2019 , a record year with annual transits of 9.4 million passengers.Instead, in January 2022, it was still 50% less than it was in January 2019. It is clear that such a rapid increase has overshadowed the airlines and companies that have been dealing with This has almost wiped out activity during the pandemic. Moreover, in many European countries there are no surplus funds, and therefore it was not physically possible to sum up the staff quickly because the procedures at that time to work at an airport were not fast.”

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But what will happen to this mountain of bags that besiege a port like “Guglielmo Marconi” in Bologna, usually among the most efficient and fastest in Europe?

“In recent days British companies, including ‘Flag’, have begun flying planes laden only with suitcases in an attempt to get rid of those on the ground and reach their owners. The Lost & Found office handles each suitcase. They catalog and supply a sheet of paper affixed with tape. A sticker to remember the date of arrival and the company. Then, again through the Lost & Found office, the owner should be able to understand where his baggage is and agree with the airline to assist the return and any refund.”

That ugly picture, for Marconi and other Italian and European airports, among all those bags crammed into the aisles: Someone has been there since July 2, knowing what happens to the owner after such a long separation.

“Of course, it’s been like this for two weeks now – they lasted from the Bologna airport management company – and believe us, we don’t even know how many bags there are, but at the same time, we have nothing to do with it.”

In short, are you also “victims” of that – let’s say – thousands of abandoned bags?

“Put it as you like, yes, we are facing the justified wrath of passengers who, however, have to take it out only with the airlines and the companies that do business with them. Imagine that, as far as we are concerned, we hire 80 seasonal workers these days just to handle the passenger boom. “.

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The airline is always well known – Marconi has about fifty of all levels in the business – but the handling company is already a less hesitant entity. Since 2009, the bell in Bologna has been running the communion “Italy” (The strongest among the Italians, sixty years of activity, we read on the site) which also deals with the airports of Naples, Catania, Palermo, Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Florence, Venice, Verona, Turin, London Heathrow, London Luton and Birmingham.

It is this company that also takes care of the Lost & Found service, but there have been no responses to multiple attempts to contact it in Bologna (leaving the address to the kind staff) and in Naples. Taking the line, as you’ll imagine, isn’t as easy as you might imagine when thinking about the army of bags waiting for a master or an “exclusive” flight.

Paolo Ricci Petit