24 March 2013


I am sitting in yet another airport lounge. This time it is a Qantas one in Melbourne, Australia. I am waiting for the call to board my flight to Singapore. Another bloody plane. This time I am flying back to where I live. 

It is not my home though.

I would prefer to be sitting in the Singapore Airlines lounge that is next door to the Qantas Club and I would prefer to be flying Singapore Airlines as well. I cherish my PPS Kris frequent flyer points much more than their Qantas equivalent. I have already explained why I am flying Qantas to Singapore in an earlier article so I will not repeat myself.

I am only going to write a short piece now here in the lounge as my brother Richard has told me that he thinks that the articles that I am writing are now too long. He told me he thought that I was waffling on a bit in my writing and he doesn't like it. Out of respect for the brother that I love I am not going to write very much from the Qantas lounge. 

I am going to keep it brief.

Qantas is the national carrier for Australia and it was established in the year 1920 in a paddock in the town of Milton in Queensland. It has been around for a long time. Qantas claim that they started their commercial passenger services with just one plane. I would have thought that many international airlines would have started this way and perhaps most of them. 

It is nothing to really write home about.

Most people outside of Australia would not know that Qantas is an acronym for the “Queensland and Northern Territory Air Services”. Many Australians also might not know this. I learnt it at school. The logo of Qantas in a flying kangaroo. 

It is a red one.

The Qantas brand shot to some international fame in the 1980's when it was mentioned in the film "Rain Man." "Rain Man" starred Dustin Hoffman and a very young Tom Cruise. It may well have won an Academy Award or two and if it didn’t it should have in my humble opinion. It was a very good film. Dustin Hoffman played the part of an autistic character named Raymond and Tom Cruise was Raymond's younger brother.

The character Raymond's autism gave him an incredible ability of statistical recall and he was able to do very large mathematical calculations instantly in his head. He was unable to tie his own shoes though and had many quirky phobias. At one stage of the film Raymond announced that he was afraid of flying because of a fear that the plane would crash. Raymond also declared that Qantas were statistically the safest airline in the world because Qantas planes had rarely crashed. I don’t think any have crashed actually and to the best of my knowledge the airline is fatality free. Their service sucks though and I much prefer to fly Singapore Airlines whenever I can.

Like many of the national and international airline carriers Qantas has been doing it tough in recent times. They have battled for a diminishing number of airline passengers during the global financial crises. There is a lot of competition from budget airlines operating out of Asia for seats on the Australian route. Singapore are a hub for many of these airlines and it is cheap and easy to fly everywhere from there. I can attest to this. The Chief Executive officer of Qantas is an Irishman named Alan Joyce. Like many of the Irish that I have met and know, Alan Joyce appears feisty and gobby and smart. 

He is a talker and a fighter and as it turns out he is a bit of a fucker as well.

In October 2011 Alan Joyce bought the long fought battle between Qantas and a number of Australian Trade Unions to a head.  Qantas and their employees were in a dispute over wages and productivity matters. There were many issues and demands that were being made by the Trade Unions and the two parties were at loggerheads. A number of Trade Unions were involved in this matter with Qantas however it was being spearheaded by the powerful Transport Workers Union - the TWU.

In October 2011 Mr. Joyce endeavored to escalate the dispute by canceling all Qantas flights around the world. He did this suddenly and with little notice and the cancellations lasted for more than twenty four hours. Passengers were stranded all around the world. 

I was appalled by this move and I have tried not to fly Qantas since. As it turns out I have been unsuccessful in this instance as I am about to board a Qantas flight. However that is all I have to say on the matter at the moment because I have probably already written too much and my brother wants me to write shorter articles. 

He told me that he doesn't like it when I waffle on for too long.

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