Check the Claim: Does an Austrian airport have a help counter for people who thought they were flying to Australia?
SKILL: Check the Claim
SUBJECT(S): Pop Culture, General
Students use a keyword search to learn that claims that there is a help desk for travelers who accidentally end up in Austria instead of Australia are based on a joke from an advertisement, not a genuine service.
Due to the similarity of the names “Austria” and “Australia,” people sometimes confuse the two places. As a result, it’s common to find joke t-shirts and souvenirs in Austrian tourist shops that say there are “No Kangaroos in Austria.”
About the Example
Note: If you can’t access TikTok at your school, you can access the video clip here, hosted on the CTRL-F YouTube channel.
A TikTok video by the travel account @fit_nomads claims: “If you’re having a bad day, just remember that the airport in Salzburg, Austria has a counter for people who flew to Austria instead of Australia.”
No one could possibly think they’re booking a holiday to Australia and end up in Europe, right?
Let’s check this claim using a quick keyword search (“help counter austria australia”). We’ll find multiple reliable sources debunking it, including news organizations like AP News and Washington Post, as well as fact-checking organization FullFact.org.
Clicking on the link from FullFact, we learn that the claim originates from a photo of an ad for a communications company. Turns out this is just an old joke in a new form (it’s still pretty funny, though).
- Show students the TikTok video, and ask them to identify the claim.
- Have students check the claim using a keyword search (“help counter Austria Australia”).
- Have students click on the link from FullFact.org and ask them what they find. Guiding questions:
- Is the claim mostly true, mostly false or something else? Explain your reasoning.
- How did this claim originate and spread?
- Why do you think this claim went viral and was reshared on so many different platforms? Explain your reasoning.