Qantas was quick to fire stewardess Lisa Robertson after her mid-flight fling with actor Ralph Fiennes, sending the strong signal that the airline won’t put up with such unprofessional behaviour. But were potential Qantas male customers hearing a different jingle? You may not be a movie star but when it comes to getting lucky, you … might just be in with a chance.

Here’s a grab of comments from the Daily Mail‘s comments section:

Qantas will now be inundated with bookings from male travellers! — Graham Forshaw, Preston, Lancs Wow, this is the modern woman we all seek. Qantas sales are about to skyrocket, this is what men really want. — Pete, Adelaide I suppose it is one way to wile [sic] away the time on long haul flights… cetainly [sic] beats the hell out of reading the in flight magazine. Do the “no frills” airlines provide this service? — Roy, Middlesbrough

But while the Fiennes romance may have restored the “60s view of the swinging stewardess”, it is more likely to be damaging than helpful to the airline, according to Stephen Downes, principal of QBrand Consulting.

Qantas should be concerned about how the latest bout of free publicity will be read at the “pointier end of the plane”, says Downes. This is where flight attendants’ discretion is paramount, with business people and celebrities demanding “the same level of confidentiality as in a high class hotel”. And that’s where Qantas wants to be pitching, drawing a clear line between itself and airlines known for “slapdash service and questionable safety”.

The fact that Robertson was barely dressed before she sold the story to the UK tabloids is the most worrying thing for Qantas. It’s not the activity that’s the problem, “it’s the gossiping”, says Downes.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey