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Will Qantas immortalise an in-flight drinking legend?

May 24, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A legendary, though disputed, in-flight drinking feat by a former Australian test cricketer just might be commemorated by Qantas in the form of a name for a new Dreamliner.

Qantas is calling on Australians to suggest names for the airline’s fleet of B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, due to operate non-stop Perth-London services from next year.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline had a longstanding tradition of naming aircraft for symbolic and sentimental reasons.

“Reflecting the importance of the Dreamliner to the national carrier, we’re naming these eight aircraft after Australian icons,” Joyce said, “and we want Australians to help us choose the names. They can be people, places or things, so long as they reflect the true Spirit of Australia.”

David Boon

Some voiced serious doubts about the wisdom of the promotion. A similar invitation in Britain, in which the public were asked to name a new polar research ship, resulted in the name Boaty McBoatface topping the polls. In high-handed, po-faced manner, the authorities later quashed the result and named the ship RRS Sir David Attenborough.

According to the Australian Financial Review, the leading name in the Qantas quest (with over 8000 entries already received) is not Planey McPlaneface but David Boon.

Why David Boon? The stocky cricketer is known for his distinctive moustache and 7000 runs at Test level. He is also renowned for allegedly having downed 52 cans of Victoria Bitter (VB) lager on the Australian squad’s flight to Britain for the 1989 Ashes – though he denies the story.


According to Wikipedia: “This has never been confirmed by Boon, although the feat was confirmed by his teammate Geoff Lawson. Responding to the story, Greg Chappell said, ‘In my day 58 [sic] beers between London and Sydney would have virtually classified you as a teetotaller.’

“Boon has always denied the story, adding ‘If people haven’t got something else to talk about they have led a f***ing boring life’, but, as Rob Smyth reported in The Guardian, ‘there are enough witnesses, one or two of them sober, to suggest that it happened’.”

Boon became the face of VB beer for its 2005/06 & 2006/07 summer advertising campaigns, called “Boonanza”.

Here’s a 30-second reminder:


Would Qantas go ahead with the name, in the finest Aussie larrikin tradition, if the public backed it? Perhaps we shall find out.

If you want to influence the result, there is still time. You can enter up to eight different names, one for each of the B787s, via a dedicated page on with entries to close this Friday, 26 May 2017. A shortlist of 24 names will then be released, with the public asked to vote for their favourites before the final eight are revealed.

To suggest names for the new Qantas B787-9 fleet visit

Written by Peter Needham

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