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Qantas: Spirit of Australia (Humor)

This has been around the block a few times, but figured I share for those who may not have seen it before:

Recent work on incident reports and analyses revealed this tidbit 
which appeared in the Qantas Flight Operations Newsletter dated June 
1996.

QANTAS – Boeing 747 -The Spirit Of Australia

Sir,

In your icy, indeed hostile, telephone call of yesterday, you 
requested a report about the alleged proceedings involving my crew at 
the Qantas 75th Birthday celebration at the slip port. As the reports 
from the local authorities and the head of the Australian Legation 
were undoubtedly a complete fabrication and a misstatement of the 
facts, I take the opportunity to put the truth of the matter on file.
 
Qantas management's kind offer to "buy a round of drinks" was taken on
board by the crew who decided to upgrade the event to its correct status. 

Therefore, appropriate quantities of libation and food were 
purchased, with festivities being held in my hotel suite.

An enjoyable evening ensued but insufficient supplies had been 
obtained, so several members of the crew left for further purchases at 
a local bar. In a truly magnanimous gesture, ten bar girls from that 
establishment helped carry the beer back to the hotel. To demonstrate 
our appreciation of their assistance, we served them some cool drink. 
They then offered to show us some local culture, and, in order not to 
offend, we allowed them to dance some of the local, exotic dances.

The banging on the walls of my room by other hotel guests was 
reprehensible. Quite honestly, it become invasive and it was 
disturbing the fertile atmosphere of the dances, so we arranged an 
amusing little deterrent that rose to the occasion and offered great 
style.

S/O Brown's impersonation of the Police Officer was excellent! In 
full Qantas uniform, with an aluminum rubbish bin upside down on his 
head, he goose-stepped to each room and harangued the occupants with a 
very witty diatribe about disturbing hotel guests. I personally heard 
nothing of his alleged threats of life in Alcatraz or the Gulags, as 
claimed by the sister of the Minister of Police whose room unluckily 
was next door.

I have no doubt that this woman was the sneak who called security and 
hotel management, and I absolutely refute that the shout "Look out, 
here come the Indians! Circle the wagons!" was made by anyone in our 
party. The simple coincidence of security arriving just as we stood 
the double bed on its side across the door to make the dance floor 
bigger is obvious and stands on its own merit.

The major damage to the room occurred when a group of gate crashers, 
whom we could not know were hotel security, forced their way in just 
as most of us happened to be leaning against the bed watching the 
cultural dancing.

The subsequent events in the foyer of the hotel are an equally vicious 
distortion of the facts. I was explaining the importance of the 75th 
Birthday to the General Manager of the hotel and noting that other 
guests were fabricating stories of noise, drinking and singing at the 
celebration, when F/O Smith (ex-SAS) and several other fitness 
enthusiasts, in keeping with their almost monastic pursuit of health, 
organized the race up the drapes. These drapes, which hang along the 
foyer wall, say nothing for the workmanship of some of these nations. 
That the fittings were torn from the wall before most of the crew were 
even half way up is ample testimony.

In an amazing display of international posturing, the Governor of the 
city, who was attending the National Day cocktail party in the foyer, 
cast some denigrating remarks about Australian culture. Although he 
misunderstood our gestures of greeting, female flight attendant 
Williams rescued the situation with her depth of knowledge of local 
culture.

Her rendition of the Fertility Dancing Maiden in the foyer's "Pool of 
Remembrance" was nothing short of breathtaking. Normally this dance 
is performed wearing just a sarong skirt so FFA Williams' extra step 
to nature was a bold step forward.

Unfortunately, during one intricate step, FFA Williams slipped and 
fell beneath the fountain, so we were lucky that S/O Brown, who had 
the great presence of mind to strip to avoid getting his uniform wet, 
leapt in to help. That the tiles of the pool were slippery is beyond 
dispute, as it took nearly ten minutes of threshing about before S/O 
Brown could actually complete his rescue. Such concern was there for 
these two exemplary crew member's safety, that the rest of the crew 
were forced to assist, and I deny that this massed altruistic rescue 
attempt could be construed as a "Naked Water Polo" game! This 
slanderous accusation was first put to me by the Chief of The Riot 
Squad, whose storm troopers had erroneously been called by some over 
zealous Fascists at the cocktail party.

It is important to note that order had nearly been restored when the 
fire started.

I prefer F/O Smith's version of events that the drapes had caught fire 
from being against a light fitting, and that he dropped his cigarette 
lighter whilst trying to escape the flames. Had hotel management 
fulfilled their responsibilities and used fire retardant material 
instead of velvet, the fire would not have spread to the rest of the 
hotel. This offers further evidence of inadequate standards of 
inspection by this nation.

The responsible attitude shown by my crew in assisting the bar staff 
to carry out drinks from the cocktail party is to be commended, not 
condemned. The attempt by male members of the crew to extinguish 
pockets of fire using natural means has been totally misrepresented in 
some quarters. And I must add that the efforts made by several FA's 
to help evacuate the hotel is a standard of which Qantas has long been 
proud. The fact that many crew were only in their birthday suits 
shows the extraordinary personal risk to which they were subjected. I 
cannot overstate how strongly I resent the assertions made in the 
Chief Fire Officer's Report about interference.

I made an official protest about these matters when the head of the 
Australian Legation visited us at the Police Station the next morning. 
However, not only did Ambassador Jones not attempt to refute the 
preposterous allegations made against me and my crew, but also by 
failing to secure our release immediately, caused the subsequent 
aircraft delay.

I did not know Her Majesty was to be aboard our aircraft, but I am 
sure that her 12-hour visit to that country was appreciated by local 
dignitaries and probably HRH herself. (I must mention that the local 
manager is far too obsequious. Smarmy! Smarmy! You should have seen 
him bowing and scraping. Never make a Prime Minister that chap!)





Finally, I note that not since "Rainman" has Qantas been mentioned in 
so many newspapers. (Some people in Qantas would die for coverage 
like that). The main newspaper at the slip port coincidentally 
mentioned Qantas 75 times on its front page alone, although some of 
the coupled epithets can only be described as the worst journalistic 
excesses of the gutter press.

I trust that now I have outlined the correct version of events. I 
propose that we allow ourselves a discreet smile as to the lack of 
social sophistication of some of these developing nations and put all 
this behind us. As far as I am concerned, the crew carried on in the 
finest Qantas traditions.

Regards,

A.J. Smithers, Flight Captain
Trip No. 776

P.S. I checked amongst the language qualified members of the crew, 
but no one was up to speed on Latin. Can you recommend anyone in the 
International Department who could translate "Persona Non Grata"?