Qantas and the great Aussie clusterf*&^%

06 Apr

Well, that didn’t go as planned. To say that my trip down to Australia was anything less than a giant clusterf*&^% would be an understatement. Before I left, I joked that the journey would take something close to 90 hours. You know what they say… be careful what you wish for.

The first problem was my L.A.-Sydney flight was cancelled, and the lovely folks at Qantas (and when I say “lovely” I mean “assholes”) failed to let me know. Rather, they booked me onto a flight to Brisbane, where I’d have to make a connection to Sydney. That’s pretty much where the whole shitstorm began. First there was an hour-long delay on that flight. Then, as we were on the plane and about to shove off, a problem with the fuel pump was discovered. They kept us on the plane for three hours before deciding the problem couldn’t be fixed, so it was off to a hotel for an overnight stay for us.

We were ushered back to the airport on Sunday afternoon where a new jet awaited us. It had to be cleaned, so another delay. Then a number of passengers cancelled so their luggage had to be located, which meant another delay. Then, one of the engines wouldn’t start, so another delay. All told, it was another 2.5 hours of delay. We finally took off around 4 p.m., or 17 hours after we were originally scheduled to. I’ve experienced delays before, but that takes the cake by an order of magnitude.

By the time we got to Brisbane, it was too late to make any connecting flights to Sydney, so yet another overnight stay. By this point, things were coming down to the wire – I had to be in Sydney for my first interview at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday. As if Qantas hadn’t reamed us enough, they decided to bump a number of us from a 7 a.m. flight to one at 8:15. I actually almost got booted off that 8:15 flight because I lost my shit on the ground staff… there’s only so much a person can take! I literally got off the plane in Sydney and took a taxi to the ABC studios, arriving with five minutes to spare.

All told, I racked up 27 hours in delays, with a total travel time of 48 hours on what was supposed to be a 22-hour journey.

I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, boo-hoo, so Nowak had a few problems on this trip.” Perhaps, but this whole fiasco was enough to warrant national headlines in Australia. Qantas, apparently, can’t seem to field working planes. Bottom line: NEVER FLY QANTAS.

Anyhow, I’ve had zero time to take in any of Australia in my brief time here, two days late as it is. Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in some sights before heading to New Zealand on Friday (a trip I am dreading because my flight is with, you guessed it, Qantas). Tuesday was completely filled with radio interviews, which I’ll post links to as they come up. One of my favourites was a lengthy talk on The Guest Room, where the host Leon Compton asked some really incisive questions. They also actually played some of music suggestions (Pearl Jam, Jane’s Addiction, Beastie Boys), which surprised me as I was told they’re more of an easy listening station.

More on the land of Oz tomorrow…

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1 Comment

Posted by on April 6, 2010 in allen unwin, australia


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