Flying Qantas

You’re strapped into your seat. The engines are throbbing. Then the elderly pensioner sitting behind you says worriedly, “I think I can smell smoke”. Not reassuring at all – especially when you’re flying with an airline that has been in the news for several technical faults. Fortunately though, it’s quite normal to get a whiff of fumes when an aeroplane is readying for takeoff. Or so says the husband of said elderly lady. Actually, this was probably the most dramatic moment of my Qantas flight to Singapore.

I did have other moments though – exciting ones, interesting ones, thought-provoking, puzzling…ah well, you get the drift. Anyway, it was quite an entertaining flight. Not the in-flight entertainment, which was almost non-existent unless you had the neck of an emu to be able to view the giant screen in front. There was more action outside my window. We followed the West Australian Coast, right until we reached the fascinating tongues of rock that extend into the sea along Carnarvon.

My fellow passenger calmly consults the map in the in-flight magazine to figure out where we are. We agree that it’s a beautiful country.

“There’s a Carnarvon in the UK, isn’t there?” I say. He’s from Bristol, and seems impressed with my geography. I wonder if the coastlines have anything in common. Why would anyone use the same place name halfway across the world? I mentally add Carnarvon to my cultural to-do list.

My Australian friends have prepped me well. The drinks list really is very impressive. It’s longer than the lunch menu. I settle for ginger beer, probably disappointing my Aussie gurus in the process. Alright, so I’m still working on the cultural experience. Glorious food – I manage to finish everything on my tray. Who needs a Masterchef anyway?

The three flight attendants who see to our needs – all male, to my surprise – are all solid policeman-like types who look like they should be having tattoos up their sleeves. I’m sure they do – or they should. They’re wearing grey silk ties with an aboriginal print. There won’t be any misbehaving on this flight – not with these guys on the watch. I doze off for a bit, and wake up in time for the UNICEF collection.

The captain isn’t John Travolta, but he gives a  good geography lesson. I’m almost disappointed that we’ve made good time, but the teacher in me mentally awards a gold star. I’m still puzzled though… this is no longer just the Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services. So why is the airline still called Qantas? It doesn’t really matter though. The bottom line is, I’ll happily fly the kangaroo way any day.


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