Sunday musings: Advertising saves Venice, soars, Congress OKs new international baggage screening

© Leocha

We imagine bridges and waterbuses in Venice decked out in advertising for Diesel jeans. We are surprised by the rise of into the #3 position among online travel agencies. And, common sense is applied by Congress to former rules that required already-screened checked baggage to be rescreened at US airports after arriving from out of the country.

Venice turns to advertising to save famous structures
With the foundations crumbling for the Rialto Bridge in Venice and many other ancient palaces lining the Grand Canal, Venice has turned to advertising to try and raise funds to keep Venice, Venice.

For a mere $6.6 million you, too, can project advertising onto the bridge and paint advertising on the water buses, or Vaporetti, plying the Grand Canal. Venice will never be the same again.

…advertising, worth USD$6.5 million from Diesel jeans tycoon Renzo Rosso, is precisely what Venetian city elders say will keep the Rialto Bridge open across the Grand Canal it has spanned since Shakespeare’s day.

“I hope the campaign will not be invasive,” Rosso, a local celebrity, said on Friday at a presentation of the plan he is paying for to repair the 400-year-old structure. “Rialto is the most beautiful bridge in the world and it reflects our style.”

A surprise in the Top 10 online travel agencies

If someone was to ask what the top online travel agencies might be, the answer would probably be Expedia is the largest and then Orbitz and Travelocity, either 2nd or 3rd. You might hear Kayak or Priceline, too. But, almost no one will mention

Amazingly, in a steady and stealthy manner, has become the #3 online travel agency after Expedia and Priceline. Here is the list of the Top 10. It is certainly something to think about.

Congress OKs new international baggage screening process
In his testimony, Charlie Leocha, Director of the Consumer Travel Alliance, mentioned an issue that the organization has spent months discussing on Capitol Hill — rescreening of international baggage by TSA; even baggage that has already been screened by TSA in Canada and many European countries.

Finally, Congress has taken the common sense action to stop the rescreening operations. Now, it is up to the Secretary of Transportation and TSA to make the decision to allow baggage already screened at international destinations to be allowed to be transferred to US domestic flights without being rescreened.

The “No-Hassle Flying Act” gives the Transportation Security Administration the authority to waive rescreening requirements for flights from international airports that install U.S.-equivalent baggage scanning processes and equipment.

It has yet to be decided which airports will qualify, but a likely starting point will be 14 airports in Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean where the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency already inspects and clears commercial air passengers. Currently, passengers arriving from those airports need not undergo another physical security check upon arriving in the United States, but their bags must still be transported to TSA facilities for screening using explosives detection system equipment before they can board another flight for their next U.S. destination.

“This is a smart, efficient way to streamline travel, boost tourism and lower costs while maintaining the highest security standards,” said Nicholas E. Calio, president and CEO of Airlines for America, the trade organization for leading U.S. airlines.

Photo: Under Rialto © Charlie Leocha