Qantas is failing Adelaide?
Tourism Commission chief Andrew McEvoy is right. Good on him for sounding off.
It is time Qantas was held to account. But perhaps Mr McEvoy has not gone far enough.
Perhaps Qantas is failing Australia.
It is not just that it is not putting Adelaide on its flight paths. It is that the national carrier has turned into the worst of all aerial cattle trucks. It insults its passengers –we good people who pay its bills and keep it aloft.
It packs us in mercilessly with never a seat to spare – and, worse, with less leg room than one finds elsewhere. Mean, nasty skimpy 31inch seat pitch which means that the moment the person in front reclines, one is pinned in. Trapped. Don’t even think about crossing your knees.
It is a sickening irony that Qantas plays inflight DVT (deep vein thrombosis) exercise videos to passengers who can’t move a muscle. Unless they are in Business or First, of course.
Don’t believe what you hear projected by the marketing spin doctors and travel writers. They all travel Business. They have no idea what hell we real people go through. Of course the executives will be screaming with indignation and saying that I am absolutely wrong in my descriptions. But this is my opinion and not theirs. My experience and not theirs. I’ve done the hard yards - a decade of trans-Pacific flights in Qantas economy. I have watched conditions worsening year by year, fewer cabin crew working harder, tempers fraying. Less oxygen, too, perhaps. I always seem to get sick after one of these flights.
The other trick Qantas has learned is to deny its passengers choice in seat allocation.
There is a mystery to this procedure now. Apparently only uber-platinum frequent flyers can get a decent seat allocation.
The rest of us can consider ourselves lucky if we even get to sit with our travelling companions.
No blame to the staff, poor darlings. It is not their fault they deliver the bad news. And, however frustrated, we passengers must never take it out on them.
Nonetheless, I am regularly dumped at the very back of the plane by the check in staff. It does not matter how many months earlier I have booked or how early I arrive at the airport. The seating hell is the same. Hateful. I have ended up feeling very demoralised because over and over again, I have been denied the one simple request I make – a window seat, please.
What has happened to Qantas’s ability to perform civilized seat allocations? What has happened to our once-cherished, national pride airline?
This year I baulked and flew United where, at least, one has an option for Economy Plus seating which provides a dignity of leg room but, otherwise, conventional economy conditions. Yes, they actually let you choose seating when you book. And, that bit of extra leg room is all one wants on the long hauls. Ahh.
United, however, gives lots more. It is a very pleasant airline, albeit they tell me it has been in a financial crisis for years.
I used to be so proud of Qantas.
It was a symbol of my beloved country, my laid-back and friendly fellow countrymen, our high standards and good quality of life...
The flying kangaroo used to warm the old heart wherever one saw it.
Now, I apologise for Qantas to my international friends. How embarrassing.
Qantas has retained the best safety record, which remains a significant point of pride – but it has cheapened itself with the worst economy cabin conditions and ever-declining passenger service.
So I was not surprised, on an Internet airlines standards page, to read:
Qantas' A330s "make the live sheep boats to the Middle East look positively luxurious (the boats have more room, fewer travellers and more interesting conversation).”
It is downright sad - not just for the airline but for all Australians on whom it reflects.