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Qantas Mean Girl

Qantas Mean Girl

This is a story, about how one, or two bad experiences can poison the well of brand reputation.

I’m a Qantas fanboy. Did I mention that I’m Platinum? Oh I think I just did.

Qantas is the airline I travel most on domestically. I don’t necessarily think its the best, but in Australia, it has the best route network, and the best frequency, and belongs to the One World alliance.

Hand Luggage

I try and travel domestically – when a trip is between 1 and 4 days – with only hand luggage. I also like to do the right thing, so it is not unknown for me to pack my hand luggage, weigh it on my probably far-from-accurate bathroom scales, and ruthlessly cut what I have packed so my roll-on meets Qantas Luggage weight guidelines. Let me tell you that’s hard to do when you are carting around a 15″ laptop.

With the new hand luggage guidelines from Qantas, I have adapted my carryon to comply. I now carry a roll-on which I keep to under 10 Kilo’s per the guidelines, and a computer bag, and a ‘personal item’ – my Jack Spade shoulder bag. If there is room, I will put the shoulder bag inside the computer bag. Fewer items to leave behind at security.

Officious Junior Employee

On boarding the plane, a very tall, young, and I think junior employee checked my boarding pass. He looked sideways at my carry on, doing a double take. He was on my left, and all my carry on (suit bag, roll-on and my trusty Jack Spade) was on my right. He said:

“It’s OK this time, but just reminding you that technically you have three bags, and you are only allowed two.”

Qantas ‘bitch, trog, slut from hell’*

To which I speedily replied: “Oh I am sorry. I thought this (indicates Jack Spade bag) was classified as a personal item. Am I mistaken?” (I so am not!)

This was met with cat’s bum lips, and an implied wave through.

Excerpt from Qantas carry-on baggage guidelines. Full guidelines

Now I said this in a neutral enquiring tone – well at least that was my intent. I have been told by my husband that what I think is ‘neutral’ in these circumstances, can be quite steely.

Now, this interaction would have qualified as slightly annoying, but forgettable – if not for the next encounter.

Rubbing it in

On board, I settled myself into 2D (15,000 points upgrade to Business from Economy Red e-Deal), appreciated that the flight manager seemed to be extremely hospitable in all his interactions, and the flight staff quite professional.

I waited with my suit pack on my lap until boarding had nearly ceased, and then handed it – as it happened, it was the same flight attendant who had ‘boarded’ me – for hanging. He took it, and then (because he lost the serve over the three pieces of luggage) did a little ‘that’s heavy’ mime as he weighed it with his hands.

Why this annoys me

I get that people try and bring on the equivalent of a complete household as carry-on – gosh!, I’ve seen it myself. But this was gratuitous. He had made his point during boarding, and now he was just rubbing it in because I had beaten him at his own ‘baggage rules’ game. What was he going to do – throw me off the plane, make me check it? The doors had already closed!

It was just spiteful – and made me see red. So I stewed.

Now, look, you could have knocked over a small child with my suit bag (indeed there were two well behaved and supervised by their dad behind me). It was loaded with a jacket, a couple of (maybe 3) shirts, two pairs of trousers and a tie. So that little pot of guilt is probably adding to my anger.

I said nothing.

But I was writing this story in my mind. So, a tall flight attendant on a Perth to Adelaide flight yesterday – please don’t pick on an old tired queen, who is last minute travelling to attend the funeral of his best friend’s mother, just to make a point about hand luggage, that you are technically wrong about, and are not going to do anything about anyway.

Some people might call it an abuse of authority. Not me, obviously.

*Apologies to Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous

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