Flight attendant trainee suing Qantas for failure to provide shrink

Qantas flight attendantSo, you’re new on the job. In fact, your title still has “trainee” in it. And then something goes wrong. That’s enough to make you go home, pop the cork on a bottle of wine and lament the fact that you work for a third world company. Now, imagine the whole thing happening 30,000 feet from the ground. Yeah, it sucks. You need more than a bottle of wine to take the edge off at that point. In fact, there’s probably a good chance you’d want some counseling.

Well, that’s exactly what Jessie Holgersson wanted, and she doesn’t feel she got it fast enough.

According to AM, an ABC morning show in Australia, Holgersson, a flight attendant on the Qantas 747 that had an engine fire, didn’t get counseling until a day after the incident. Her attorney “says that was too late and claims that Miss Holgersson was discriminated against for raising safety concerns about the airline’s lack of care.” Yeah … lawyer. Discrimination. Do the math: Holgerrson is suing.

Says Holgersson:

I was on my second training flight, we’d just flown from Sydney to Singapore, and everything went great on that flight and we had a nice day in Singapore and then we were heading back home and everything seemed normal and fine and about sort of six minutes after take-off we had an incident with our engine nut blew out.

She adds that “afterwards we were told that it was a fairly normal occurrence and these things can happen and, you know, not to worry about it too much.”

To make matters worse, according to AM, “The trainee was not given a permanent job.”

Qantas says through a spokeswoman that “Miss Holgersson was being assessed for possible employment by a UK cabin crew subsidiary at the time of the flight, with any position to be based out of London.” The company cites her behavior in training as the reason it didn’t offer her a position – and that she didn’t want to work out of the UK.

As to the claim that the flight attendants weren’t provided with counseling, Qantas says that it provided immediate and appropriate support.

[photo by Skazama via Flickr]

Qantas luggage “all tied up” in Melbourne

Qantas airlinesIt must be those adventure travelers … they’re always so high maintenance.

A rock-climbing rope jammed up some of the Qantas baggage equipment at the Melbourne, Australia airport last night, and as many as 400 pieces of luggage are lying around, waiting to be reunited with their passengers. Of course, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, passengers are welcome to “search through the piles” if they are eager to get their bags sooner.

Meanwhile, Qantas has copped to “bag issues” but nothing more so far. The Sydney Morning herald writes that the airline “could not confirm the number of bags that still needed to be returned to passengers.”

Unsurprisingly, Qantas has offered an apology, something to which the airline has become accustomed recently. The article continues:

“Due to an item from a customer bag jamming the baggage system in Melbourne yesterday, the system was down for a period of time,” he said.

“As we did everything to move backlog bags, the system experienced another problem and we are in the process of clearing the backlog as soon as possible.”

[photo by Skazama via Flickr]

Qantas mile-high club: what happens when you get caught

A woman got nailed in the early stages of seeking mile-high club membership. The Qantas passenger was flying form Melbourne to Los Angeles at the beginning of last month. The lights went low, and she and the man next to her let their hands go wild under the blanket. The cabin crew caught on and split up the passengers, who apparently never bothered to try the lav.

The best part: the woman works for Qantas. And, she still does. A spokesman said, “The employee has returned to work.”

Now, be honest: don’t you want the cubicle next to hers?

[photo via Simon_sees via Flickr]

Qantas flight attendants restrain would-be murderer

A man threatened to kill the other passengers on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong, forcing flight attendants to restrain him. An airline spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm what some were saying – that the would-be murderer was praying before threatening to kill himself and others and said, “You will all die.”

The Sydney Morning Herald continues:

But an Australian passenger, Helen, said another woman on the flight told her a man, whom she believed was praying in Hebrew, suddenly started shouting: “I’m going to kill myself, you are all going to die, it will be God’s will, what will be will be, I’m going to open the door.”

Helen noted that the crew was “fantastic,” adding, “the boys held him down and subdued him and one of the female crew cuffed him.”

The crew turned the passenger over to the authorities in Hong Kong. Apparently, they are trained to handle these situations.

So, if you get annoyed about not getting your beverage service quickly enough, keep your mouth shut while you’re flying Qantas.

[photo by notsogoodphotography via Flickr]

Australian airlines see obese passengers as growing problem

In the United States, finding ways to accommodate oversized passengers may be the subject of uneven enforcement, but in Australia, it’s uncharted territory. In fact, this in-flight service problem is so ignored that the terminology isn’t even standard. According to Virgin Blue, being too grande for the seat is considered an impairment, while Tiger Airways isn’t sure if it’s a “comfort” issue or a “medical” issue. And last year, Jetstar demonstrated the genius of making one large passenger by two seats: both of them on the aisle. A spokesman for Jetstar, by the way, says, “Obesity is not a disability.”

Then, pray tell, what is it? Distinction from does not equate to definition of. And an inability to define imperils the formulation and enforcement of any policy … not that that’s a problem for Jetstar, whose spokesman added, “There’s no rules around what requirements we should do for somebody if they’re above a certain height or weight.” Virgin Blue also doesn’t have a policy for this.

Qantas has received complaints, too, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, but it punts responsibility back to the passengers: “”The only way for a customer to guarantee extra space is to purchase two economy tickets or fly business- or first-class.”

Needless to say, the majority of Australians support a formal system for addressing obese passengers, according to a study by companytravel.com.au. In fact, 70 percent of survey respondents weighed in favorably believed that “obese or largely overweight people should have to purchase two economy-class seat tickets when travelling by plane.” Only two years ago, 53 percent felt this way.

Clearly, this is a growing problem for Australian airlines. The county’s Department of Health and Ageing puts 41 percent of men and 25 percent o women in the “obese” category. Twenty years ago, the rates were only half as large.

[photo by didbygraham via Flickr]