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“Mortified” Gay Couple Sues Airline For Putting Sex Toy On Display

dildo-luggage.jpgLast year a gay couple returning from a trip to Costa Rica  got quite a shock at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport the airport: Luggage handlers had gone through their bags, found a dildo, removed it and taped it to the exterior of their suitcase—so all the passengers could see it as it made its way down the baggage carousel.

Bilerico Project’s Michael Hamar, who knows the aggrieved couple well, posted a portion of an email from them:

As we arrived in Houston, Texas (“IAH”), we shuffled through the line for Immigration, and then picked up our two (2) checked bags as required by law upon our return into the US from a foreign country.

With bags in-hand we continued while making our way through a security checkpoint, then approached the area we were to check the bags-back-in, picked up our bags which were in sound and undamaged condition prior to handing them to the attendant who then sent them through the X-ray machine that housed a conveyor belt which sent them to wherever they go from there.

After arriving at our home airport while waiting around the baggage carousel, [he] kept looking for our last bag to come out. Then, a bag did in-fact emerge that had a similar appearance to ours; however, it appeared to be wrapped sporadically with CLEAR plastic tape bearing the logo “Continental” and seemed strangely malformed. As it got closer and much to his surprise…and moreover, his HORROR, he saw a sex toy we had packed, had been removed from the middle of the bag and taped right on top of the bag for everyone to see. SO EMBARRASSED, ABSOLUTELY MORTIFIED…just knowing that everyone in sight had already seen it and after looking at their faces that depicted disbelief, some were snickering, others completely astonished, and of course, disgust was ubiquitous. . . . .

[He] grabbed our bag . . . . then began quickly striding for the exit while clenching the bag towards his chest, struggling to conceal the open end of the bag while in total discomfiture and despair. [Our friend who was picking us up] is a witness. She saw it. She was completely flabbergasted and appalled that United/Continental Airlines OR ANYONE for that matter would do such a thing to begin with . . .

Though their luggage had two men’s names on it with one address, it’s not clear if a baggage handler could know it belonged to gay men, and thus was acting out of homophobia, or just some twisted sense of humor. Regardless, United/Continental should have immediately conducted an investigation to find the guilty party and terminate them. As Hamar points out, “If ‘someone else’ vanadalized the bag, why didn’t Continental personnel—the last to handle it— simply put the bag in a box and avoid the spectacle? Or better yet, why [wasn't] the bag simply zipped closed? The zipper is still 100% functioning.”
At the very least these guys deserve free first-class tickets to Australia for Sydney Mardi Gras.
By:           Dan Avery
On:           Aug 28, 2012
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 12 Comments
    • Pitou
      Pitou

      Good Christ… How were they able to walk after taking that tree trunk? I mean really, that purple monster is almost as big as the duffel bag that carried it! No wonder it was checked!

      Aug 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QJ201
      QJ201

      I swear, except for the flight crew, the rest of airline personnel wouldn’t last working at a 7-11

      Aug 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gattsuru
      gattsuru

      Unfortunately, this is pretty typical behavior for airline baggage handlers. Not necessarily homophobia, but a general disregard for private property and privacy. I’ve had luggage ransacked by folk unable to reseal the bag, and computer equipment the company I’m working for has been mauled and mangled and even destroyed as a result of being checked as passenger luggage. Worse, they won’t compensate for anything they’ll judge normal wear and tear, and define normal wear and tear to include knocking a hole in ToughBook material — something I’d be hardpressed to do with a hammer.

      It might well not be homophobia here, given things like the “Get your freak on girl” signature from the TSA about a year back. It’s not terribly hard to imagine stupidity rather than malice, such as someone tasked to leaf through a bag he or she lacks the ability to repack, hence the damage and tape, nor the time necessary to think clearly, hence the dildo at the top. Not the only explanation, but not an improbable one. Of course, that’s not exactly a terribly good explanation, either; security is bad enough if it were invasive alone, and far worse if it were invasive and stupid.

      @Pitou: The photo’s probably not representing scale very well; if that’s the type of bag that I think it is, the sex toy’s probably only on the slightly large size.

      Aug 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petensfo
      petensfo

      Sorry, folks… the luggage had two names; the handlers definitely understood what was going on & decided to have some fun at the traveler’s expense.

      I’d never have the guts to travel w/ something like that.

      However, rather than being mortified I would have screamed from the baggage carousel until a supervisor arrived, while asking fellow travelers if they also had their baggage ransacked.

      Of course, I live in CA, not TX…

      Aug 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • yaoming
      yaoming

      Did they bring that thing on vacation for self-defense?

      Aug 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE
      MikeE

      @gattsuru: “baggage handlers” do not have the authority to go through a passenger’s luggage.

      and if anyone has to go through your luggage, they are required to do so in your presence.

      so no, this was most definitely NOT “typical” behaviour.

      this WAS an act of vandalism.
      as such, criminal charges should be brought.

      Aug 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NYEsq
      NYEsq

      I’m sorry, but did these guys not know their bags are open for public search? Leave the personal/play toys at home. They deserve the public scrutiny and embarrassment.

      Aug 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blizair09
      blizair09

      @NYEsq: No, in fact, bags are not open for a public search. They are subject to screening and search for security purposes only. Last time I checked, a sex toy was not among the banned items. This is no different than taping someone’s computer game to the outside of their bag. Does a World of Warcraft enthusiast deserve public scrutiny and embarrassment for taking their game along on a trip?

      Aug 29, 2012 at 12:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Captain proton
      Captain proton

      He mentions passing through Texas – they have pretty strange laws about sex toys in that state.

      Aug 29, 2012 at 1:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE
      MikeE

      @blizair09: “Does a World of Warcraft enthusiast deserve public scrutiny and embarrassment for taking their game along on a trip?”

      Well, considering you can download it from anywhere, LOL, yeah, a WoW enthusiast who drags around the game disks WOULD deserve SOME form of public embarrassment. :-p

      Aug 29, 2012 at 9:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blizair09
      blizair09

      Touche. That wasn’t my area of expertise for sure, I was just trying to make a point. :-)

      Aug 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • oilburner
      oilburner

      How funny

      Aug 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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