Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Qantas hostage drama takes it toll

With recent rising fuel costs it seems Qantas has come up with an ingenious solution to keeping profits in the black. Keep the passengers locked up in a plane on the tarmac until completely broken down they will surrender and haul themselves over to the virgin desk to book themselves another flight out of there. Perhaps this explains the new route Sydney - Guantanamo Bay, via Perth which was the flight I was on last Friday. 
It all began on the Thursday when my colleague Spratty and myself treated ourselves to cook your own toast and crap coffee in the very exclusive qantas lounge whilst waiting for a our 8.45 flight to leave. We then experienced a bit of departure time creep... boarding 9.45, 10.30, 11.45, 12.30, 1.45, we finally left at 3.30pm. Not that I'm complaining. I'd rather be delayed a few hours than be the special guest star onAir crash investigations. I turned the other cheek and we went on our way. It was the flight on the way back I really objected too. 
 Departure was at 4.00pm Friday. Thankfully I found out in advance from a work friend that the flight was delayed until midnight. I went out to dinner, had a few drinks and went to the a airport ready for my red eye delayed special. It was then that we found out flight was diverted to Abu Graib. The torture began when they started messing with our heads Your attention please passengers... Qantas apologises for the inconvenience... we're having
 a few problems with the fuel injection on engine number 4... we apologise for not communicating with you for the last 4 hours but we didn't want to pay for a night accommodation in perth etc etc
By now it was 4 in the morning and the sleep deprivation approach was really working. We'd been on the tarmac for the 3 and a half hours and hadn't been allowed off and were now taxi-ing back to the gate. By now I'd become  some zombie like creature out of I am legend with the glazed eyes smelly underarms, bad breath, rumpled clothes ready to attack anyone with a qantas logo on their blazer. Thankfully I received a $7 refreshment voucher. After shelling out 4.80 for a regular coffee I was ready to strangle any flying kangaroo who happened to cross my path. Once again Qantas apologised for the inconveneice but I coudn't really give a shit. I had now been standing in a queue trying to book a flight out of there for 2 and a half hours. Apparently there were 4 seats free on  jetstar flight at midday. That got the 282 passengers in front of me really excited.  By now we'd been divided into two groups, platinum frequent flyers and those who were still assessed to be terrorist risks. It was impossible to leave the queue to go to the toilet as sods law has it that will be the moment the queues actually starts moving. Finally at about 9am I found myself on a new flight out of there. My return flight to perth consisted of  33 hours waiting/ flying time. Actual time in Perth not in an airport was 24 hours. 

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