Two Yanks Downunder

A blog about the experiences of two Americans on their first visit to the fabulous continent of Australia

Friday, July 21, 2006

Qantas Rules! And How They Were Violated (By Us)

The airline employees started boarding our Qantas flight around 11:20 p.m. PDT, which for MN would be 1:30 a.m. the Friday of what was Bastille Day. So, while you library comrades were dreaming of the party at work for the next day, our adventure was just beginning, and Don had been up nearly 20 hours!

The interior of the Qantas aircraft was quite spacious with two aisles and ten seats in each row; 3 on each side and 4 in the middle. We were in row 63 F & G right next to one another, (the right two in the middle section), and would now pay the price for that decision.

It turned out that our seats were just behind the galley (or kitchen), so we had no chairs in front of us under which we could place our carry on luggage, and therefore way less leg room! Every seat had a private screen for viewing from a large archive of films and TV shows and music videos on the seat back in front of them EXCEPT for us! No only that, but a family with 3 young girls all under 10 and one baby were taking up all the rest of the seats in our row to our left (except the dad who was behind) AND the baby was right next to Wendy! Then all the People to People kids poured into the area and occupied or vanished into seats a few rows behind us.

The big questions were: How quiet would those P to P kids be? Would this be a HELL flight of 14 hours with a crying baby? Was the almighty punishing us for being childless by providing hours of unavoidable close contact with children who could unleash unstoppable vocal smart bomb like disturbances targeted at us defenseless middle-aged travelers?

Action was required, so we decided to place our carry on luggage beneath our own feet where it was NOT supposed to be and we would not tell the Qantas stewards. But what else could we really do, and would this modest act of defiance compensate for all the other iniquities?

The Qantas stewards consisted of several mostly 30 and 40 something very fit men, (there were a few women, but they were in the forward area of the plane) who I believe were placed in our area to deal specifically with the potentially rowdy People to People children. Skipping ahead, during the flight there were only a few instances that the stewards mildly reprimanded any of the youngsters, but the children did not EVER challenge these men and that kept one of our worst fears from manifesting.

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