A passenger who choked on a Moreton Bay bug in a Qantas first-class lounge and spent two weeks recovering in hospital is still waiting for an apology from the airline, according to a report in a Sydney newspaper.
A Moreton Bay bug, for those unfamiliar with the creature, is species of slipper lobster from the Indian and Pacific oceans, also known as Bay Lobster, Bug, Shovelnose Lobster, Slipper Lobster, Squat Lobster, Mud Bug, or its Latin name, Thenus orientalis.
In Australia, it is more widely known as a Moreton Bay bug after Moreton Bay, near Brisbane.
Hong Kong-based sales director Luca Doneti carries a permanent reminder of the Moreton Bay bug he ate in the Qantas first-class lounge in Sydney, in the form of a shard permanently stuck in his throat, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported.
The paper said that Donati, 39, was flying out of Sydney to be with his wife and family last Christmas when he paused to eat in the Qantas lounge, choosing the spaghettini and Moreton Bay bugs from the Neil Perry Rockpool-inspired menu.
Doneti told the paper he had to ask what the bugs were and he was told they were crayfish with the shell removed. On his third mouthful he felt something sharp and started to choke.
He was rushed to hospital and specialists operated immediately, but a splinter 1.8cm long is still lodged in his throat. He is not sure quite what it is.
Donati said he ate the Moreton Bay bug and woke up five days later in intensive care, being fed through a nasal tube for 13 days. Finally he flew home to his wife and family on Christmas Day.
Donati said he was flying Cathay Pacific but entitled to use the Qantas lounge under the Oneworld alliance. He says neither airline would accept responsibility or tell him what measures they had taken to ensure such a calamity did not recur.
A Qantas spokesman told the paper “Mr Donati is in contact with Cathay Pacific and the matter is being addressed directly with Mr Donati,” the Daily Telegraph reported.
Donati feels he is caught the middle of a battle between the two airlines.
“I have been talking to Cathay for a year. I’ve heard nothing from Qantas,” he said.
Written by Peter Needham