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"?