Starling Travel

June 30, 2011

How to Deal with Airline Damage

Filed under: Airline Travel,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Airline DamageWhenever we fly, there is a new skid mark on our luggage. I always feel a little angry about the damage, but at the same time, I feel amazed that it arrived within thirty minutes of my disembarkation. I am constantly in awe at how airports are able to get my luggage onto my plane, transferred to my second plane and off the plane with as little damage as I see.

Sometimes, your luggage is damaged FAR more than the minor scuffs and scrapes. If it is, here is how to deal with it.

  • Inspect your bags BEFORE you leave the airport: It might not be too late if you go home first, but you will have to make a trip back to the airport, so make sure your luggage is fine before you leave.

  • Take pictures: Take pictures of the damage to your suitcase and then open your suitcase and inspect the contents. If anything is damaged within the suitcase, photograph it.

  • Find the baggage handling service desk: This may be a bigger task than you realize, especially if your flight arrived late at night when the airport is nearly empty. Once you find the desk, you’ll need to show your ticketing information and the damaged luggage to make a claim.

  • Damage reports are different for each airline: You’ll need to fill out a damage report, so make sure you are given one for the appropriate airline.

  • Wait and then call and then wait and then call: Honestly, these claims take FOREVER to process and getting reimbursed is a lengthy process. Expect to call the airline SEVERAL times in order to find out how your claim is progressing.

In the end, it may not be worth your time to pursue a claim against the airline if your luggage is damaged. I have always just thanked my lucky stars that I arrived at my destination with all of my bags, whether they were intact or not.

June 27, 2011

My Grandma at Birdland Jazz Club

Filed under: New York,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

After my grandpa died, I scanned in all the photos that we found in his house. Going through them, I found this photograph of my grandmother. Click on it to see full-size.

Grandma at Birdland Jazz Club

This was my grandma in her blond phase. I remember as a child, she told me that she had been blond for a while, but she didn’t like it. She looks like a knockout to me, so maybe there was something else about being blond that she didn’t like. I have NO IDEA who the ruffian with the bandaged forehead is. It’s certainly not any of her three husbands.

The photograph isn’t quite as important as the cover it was enclosed in. This is the front:

Birdland Jazz Club

It reads:

Birdland: Nightly Concerts of Jazz

Broadway and 52nd Street, New York

This is the inside cover:

Birdland Jazz Club

I knew that my grandmother had traveled greatly over her years, but when I saw this photograph, her life suddenly became an adventure that I had only briefly glimpsed. Birdland Jazz Club was the hip jazz club in New York where all the cool cats played.

Birdland CurrentIt still exists today, if not in the original location.

Knowing that my grandmother was a small part of that historical place makes me happy. How I wish she had told me the story of the night she went to Birdland and who she saw play there.

June 23, 2011

Retro Camping Style

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 12:35 pm

Michael and I were at the car show last week and we saw this truly awesome truck and camper. Click on it to see it full-sized.

Click to embiggen: Retro Camping Style

I stepped inside and took a peek at the camper and it was the most efficient little space I had ever seen. I imagined myself going to Yellowstone in the sixties and feeding bears out of the window. Maybe we would have taken it to see Old Faithful.

Old Faithful

Motorhomes and trailers today are HUGE. I have never camped in a trailer, but I think that a small one like this might be enough to tempt me.

June 16, 2011

Time for a Visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan

Filed under: Michigan,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

After seeing this video, I immediately wanted to hop on a plane to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Throughout the entire video, I was trying to figure out which city it was. I had pretty much decided that it must be Austin, Texas, because they were the coolest city I knew with bridges and a population willing to participate in a video like this.

This is a LONG video (over ten minutes), but it is totally worth it right to the very last minute. Give it a watch:

Video via: I’m Not Working Hard Enough – Amazing Video | Nice Photography Magazine – The “Why To” Magazine about Creative Photography and Film Making

June 15, 2011

Old West Las Vegas

Filed under: Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 1:35 pm

Mike and I found this old photo of Las Vegas in an antique store a few months ago.

Modern Version of the Old West - Las Vegas, Nevada

The caption reads:

Modern Version of the Old West – Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas Studio

The cars in the photo look like they are from the late Forties or early Fifties. The I can see Hotel Apache and its casino, the Boulder Club, Overland Hotel, Hotel Sal Sagey, The Las Vegas Club, and Boulder Drugs.

Seeing the Boulder Club and Boulder Drugs in this photo, made me think that it wasn’t a photo of Las Vegas at all, but rather Boulder City, Nevada. That city, however, hasn’t allowed gambling since 1932, so it couldn’t be a photo of Boulder.

Adding to the mystery is the handwritten note on the back of the photo:

Side Street of Vegas?

It reads:

This must be one of the side streets, as main street has neon the full length and full height of the buildings.

So, even the person who sent this picture to a loved one so long ago didn’t recognize which street in Las Vegas it was. I was able to find an old postcard for the Apache Hotel on Flicker, but it didn’t have an address.


Hotel Apache was most definitely in downtown Las Vegas. In fact, in 1932, when it was built, it was the first building with an elevator in Nevada. You can find out more about it here:

It appears to have NOTHING to do with the current-day Apache Motel that is on Main Street of Las Vegas. The building is completely different.

Apache Motel

To me, the best part of this touristy photograph is the title: Modern Version of the Old West. Eighty years after Hotel Apache was first built, this picture is looking not very modern at all.


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