Its been a long time since I have flown QF internationally and there was a good reason for that. It is a premium airline and not as price competitive as some of its equals in other words too expensive. It was cheaper to go with a low cost carrier although the service and in flight offerings were often underwhelming.
Qantas was also being bagged unmercifully during the latter days of the Geoff Dixon iron fisted rule and the controversy over the Joyce choice as CEO and the media also ran many negative safety stories, cabin crew were rude, disinterested, underpaid, overworked, were being recruited from overseas at lesser pay all of which diluted confidence in our national carrier. So what was I doing on a QF flight. Good question, going to South Africa forINDABA and the flights were courtesy of South African Tourism and we were ticketed on SA and Elizabet6h the SA airport manager in Sydney die a great job organising our media seats.
Fast forward to now as I sit in the exit row in economy and marvel at how good it is and how things have changed.
As I entered the Longreach (747 400) to the genuine strains of “Welcome aboard Mr. Savage enjoy your flight.” It is obvious the culture has changed. Were they forced to front a spin doctor and do a civility to passengers course.!!! When I make it to seat 60C its near the exit row and Alinda is ushering passengers to their seats. She smiles and announces this is her first flight after five years on leave so she says I am a bit apprehensive.
No need to be she slots in as if she never had those three kids although she laments the uniform size has appreciated (wrong word) three sizes. I am apprehensive too as I perambulate around the much more foot roomy exit row waiting for the doors to close. When they do I swoop and when we level off I am offered a strong gin and tonic with a smile and without asking.
Alinda’s galley mate, Karina a tall blond says she loves Johannesburg and although its not her usual aircraft or destination she is looking forward to the trip. A dual trained stewardess she mostly works on the A 380 but has been on call for a week and received a summons by phone for this 10 am flight at 6 am. The company pays for a taxi and that thought brings a big smile to her face.” It costs $130 from home” she chimes. Karina only has an hour and a half to make it to the briefing centre following a call. She lives with her partner at Castle Hill and the spare room is full of her pre prepared gear ready to be piled into the case and off you go. “I dial up the
weather forecast at the destinations before packing and usually get it right” she says Airline food has improved unbelievably over the past 10 years (tell me something I don’t know already I hear you say) The pony tailed Perry did not get a mention in our Sydney to Joburg menu but it says we were eating off exclusively designed Marc Newman table wear. Sorry Mark Newson If I knew how to delete I could have camoflarged this mistake (the alcohol is really kicking in now) The plastic fantastic table wear didn’t really effect the enjoyability factor of the very tasty slow cooked beef and barley casserole I tried to get into the lounge with my QF frequent flyer card also had a very expensive guest card to entice one of my colleagues is QF equipment but alas “sorry it’s a South African airways flight” More to come from INDABA when in Durban
Written by : John Savage