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Retro-Roo over-excitement, Qantas club ‘food’ & back stairs entry

Retro-Roo over-excitement, Qantas club ‘food’ & back stairs entry

Over the weekend I did a quick trip to Adelaide, which I do about once a month to catch up with my family.

Club food downgrade

Nothing really to mention, except the inevitable drop in the quality of food at the Qantas Club – which I have been a member for 20+uninterrupted years – until recently – but that is another story. I remember when there used to be a queue for the party pies! They seem long since gone, like Alan Joyce’s 2014 bonus.

Other than making my own toastie – for which there was a queue (the overwhelming choices were cheese, tomato, and ham), the only other hot food option was some not-quite-chili-con-carne. The chili was fairly mild, and the ‘carne’ was mince. I arranged it attractively on my plate, but it still looked like something the dog threw up. It did taste better than that. My point is that the range and quality of food in the club are decreasing. I’m pretty sure Accor is in charge of catering these lounges these days. I think they took over in 2013 – which is when I would say the quality started to decline.

On-Board snack downgrading

On the flight, our choices were pretty limited, and certainly not in the ‘meal’ category. We had options of a ‘Boston Bun’ which no one seemed to be choosing. It looked like a fruit bun with sort of dark, dull pink icing. The other choice was dry sandy crackers with a sweet/sourish eggplant dip, plus some sort of extruded potato product snack coated in an orange powder not dissimilar to the colour of President (Ha!) Donald Trump’s face.

They were still flogging the Boston Buns on the return flight a couple of days later, and still no takers. The dip and crackers had been replaced with salt and (balsamic)vinegar chips in a packet so tiny that even the flight attendants were making jokes about passengers being careful not to gorge themselves. Maybe the savings they make here help pay for Alan Joyce’s record 2017 bonus? OK, that is unkind, especially since he’s donated that $1,000,000 for marriage equality.

It also seems that the wine options have been downgraded. My memory is that there was a two white wine choice as standard, plus a sparkling. On both flights this weekend, it was a sauvignon blanc or ‘Emily‘ sparkling. And the days of flight attendants taking your money, and returning with change equivalent to exactly what you gave them, plus a 2nd bottle are long gone.

The highlight of the return flight was that the assigned aircraft was the ‘Retro Roo’, featuring a paint job reminiscent of the Qantas branding of the 1960’s. Qantas has two of these aircraft which were painted to celebrate Qantas’s 95th year of operation. Retro Roo II (VH-VXQ) has the same livery that featured on Qantas’ Boeing 707 jets from 1959 to 1961. Unfortunately, the interiors of the refurbished 737-800’s are part of the interior upgrade started in 2015 with Q-streaming and possibly the tiniest bathrooms in the air.

Banned devices

I took a couple of snaps from the (excellent) Adelaide Airport terminal, and some from the tarmac, as rows 16 on were encouraged to use the rear stairs. I got soundly told off by a Qantas staffer for using my ‘electronic device’, which is apparently banned from use between the terminal and the aircraft. I was a bit embarrassed, as I try to be compliant with rules and regulations, even if I think they are silly. I can see a few reasons for this rule – not least of which is delaying boarding, but I’ve also asked Qantas media to confirm the policy and the reasons for it. I hope to update you before the end of the week. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority leaves the question open:

Are there restrictions for using a mobile phone on the tarmac?

There might be restrictions in place due to various hazards including moving vehicles, baggage trolleys, tugs, catering vehicles, toilet and water servicing carts, engineer servicing vehicles and refuelling trucks. These can vary for different operators and airports so passengers should follow the directions of the crew.

Rear Stairs embarkation, and disembarkation (I love using that kind of language!)

This seems like a new thing at Adelaide Airport for Qantas flights. On both flights, passengers from row 16 on were requested to use the rear stairs. I was just a bit surprised, since Adelaide – after so many years without them, now has shiny new air-bridges. It is summer, so it’s not like you will get soaked or anything, but you do definitely feel like you are entering/leaving the building by the back entrance. I am presuming that it is a measure to make aircraft turnaround quicker and smoother. Again I have asked Qantas media for confirmation.


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