Richard Davoren writes: Re. “Qantas: Katter says buy it back, Xenophon wants audit of losses” (Wednesday, item 2). Listening to Alan Joyce and his big plans for Qantas and noting his statistic that 82% of Australians who fly overseas, don’t fly with Qantas I thought of my low-cost solutions to improving his figures. You see, Alan; passengers are less concerned about the livery and where the crew are trained, than poor service from the non-technical staff. For example:

  1. When your bag goes missing in New York instead of baggage services switching the telephone to an answering machine (I tried 22 times to contact them on the number provided, over the weekend) have them answer the phone or at least listen to the messages and deal with the problem immediately. Must be cheaper and better for customer satisfaction than forwarding the bag, in my case, to the Azores one week later.
  2. Have their security staff at Singapore desist from tipping most of your belongings onto the floor, searching for and confiscating, a small pair of nail clippers of a type that have been allowed on board Australian aircraft since 2009.
  3. Warn passengers that, while the A380 is a comfortable plane, when it arrives in Melbourne from Singapore, passengers after a sleepless night, will be required to wait on the tarmac for 40 minutes while Qantas rustles up a tow vehicle at 4.45am (on July 31) and wait a further 10 minutes while those lucky enough not to be in economy, can leisurely leave the plane. The pilot said that A380s must be towed to the gate and not under their power. Qantas passengers may understand that to have the luxury of an A380, then sitting on the tarmac for 45 minutes is a small inconvenience to bear for supporting the Flying Kangaroo. Of course, watching those passengers next door, travelling on another airline from the same city in its little Boeing 777 that arrived 15 minutes later than Qantas, and were well gone before we left the cabin, didn’t help our frustration.

Humphrey Hollins writes: I was amused by “the defence of Qantas yesterday by J.Gleeson (yesterday, comments). He suggested that a world’s best workforce was being replaced by unsafe Third World convenience.

Those of us who live in Asia have a wonderful choice of air transport. I usually fly to Australia with either Air Asia or Jetstar as do many others who wish to save a dollar. Sometimes I use Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways or MAS. I don’t find any of them to be at all unsafe and service even on the budget airlines is friendly and the aircraft often brand new.

I often think of a comment made by a friend of mine who lives here in Cambodia who worked for Ansett. He told me once that it was a fantastic airline. Well, after thinking back to what we paid to travel interstate in those days, my reply was that Ansett was a fantastic airline for the unionised employees, but no good for the public. I believe that the days of national airlines are over, why do we need them when we have Air Asia?

The ex-Qantas boys can go and get a job in the mines, especially if they are the world’s best workforce.

UK riots:

Glen Frost writes: Re. “London riots: a street war without end seems possible” (yesterday, item 14). Confused about the political babble coming out of Westminster?

Here’s a quick guide to the slogans of British Prime Ministers over the past 30 years:

  • Thatcher: Tough on crime
  • Blair: Tough on crime and the causes of crime
  • Cameron: Crime has a context and we must not shy away from it


  • Thatcher: Race riots to Poll Tax riots
  • Blair: Anti-war riots to anti-globalisation riots
  • Cameron: Hoodie riots

Does anything change?


Alan Kennedy writes: Far be it from me to doubt the bona fides of Jon Faine (yesterday, comments) when it comes to his mode of transport but I am puzzled about the BMW he mentions in his letter. Does it really have an engine made in Stuttgart? If it does. it would make it unique and would be the cause of much comment over the  weisbeer in the beerstubes of the Marienplatz in Munich.

Harold Thornton writes: Jon Faine states his ’74 beemer is a “two-door pillarless coupe with bodywork by Karmen”. A rare vehicle indeed. All I’ve ever heard of had bodywork by the rather better-known coachbuilder Karmann (Wilhelm Karmann GmbH of Osnabruck).

Peter Fray

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