Thursday, July 21

In the Nose

At the height of the SARS epidemic a couple of years ago I was about to fly to Europe by myself - to see & help out JD's family, and see friends in Spain. The day before the flight I had freaked myself out so much that I was going to get SARS - yes I am rather paranoid at times - and I wanted to limit the amount of contact I was going to have with fellow commuters and airport staff in Singapore. I especially hate the toilets on planes and how dirty they get a few hours into a flight.

My darling JD unselfishly gave me 100,000 of his well earned Qantas points and I upgraded myself there and back from cattle to business class.

On check in I was feeling rather chuffed and arrogant as I stood in the business class line and I never looked at my boarding pass until I was walking down the ramp to door of the plane, wanting it to all be a surprise when I got to my seat knowing it could be either great or excellent - I was actually hoping to be upstairs in the top deck.
As I handed the flight attendant my card, and then saw her pointing down the aisle to the back of the plane, I slowly started to realise what an idiot I'd been for not having looked sooner. My allocated seat was 68D. Not good and not what I'd organised.

I made my way back to the desk in the airport where I started to describe the misunderstanding. What happened next was appalling. Firstly they looked me up and down not believing my story. Then they man handled me, threatening that if I didn't get on the plane now - they would take my bags off and I wouldn't fly at all. They raised their voices which was highly embarrassing and started going red in the face they were so angry with me. The whole time not once did they listen to my request to contact the Frequent Flyer (FF) program people to see if I was telling the truth. I was in shock and close to tears and felt they were really treating me badly and intimidating me. I called JD & my Mum to try and sort it out, but FF had them on hold for so long that I was left with no other option but to take my seat in row 68.


Within minutes of sitting down, I was given a bottle of Bollinger, a business class toiletry bag, magazines, and many apologies. The entire way to Singapore I got extra special treatment. Why were they treating me like this if they didn't believe my story, and if they believed my story then why didn't they just give me my seat in business?


Just before take off JD assured me he would have everything sorted for the next longer leg to Frankfurt. On arrival in Singapore, I checked the transit desk straight away. Before I even spoke they said "Ms. D", and I said "yes" and they gave me my new boarding card. 3A sounded pretty good to me.
It was in the nose end. There were lots of wealthy looking people around me. Everyone knew it was my first time - as I didn't know where anything was or how to use anything, but several people helped me - the atmosphere was cosy not stuffy at all. Everyone changed into the Qantas pajamas. It was surreal. The flight attendants were so ├╝ber friendly and helpful. The only bummer was that I was so tired from not having slept a wink on the Sydney-Singapore leg because I was fuming and irritated by what had happened that I promptly fell asleep as the first meal was put in front of me. I hadn't eaten much since getting on in Sydney and my blood sugar levels must have been so low that when they woke me up for breakfast I felt so nauseas and dizzy - and instead of relishing the amazing food in front of me - I had to run quickly to the loo. As I held my head over that loo I was so grateful it was a nice clean 1st class loo instead of a scummy SARS infested poo saturated stinking economy class one.

Once I'd arrived back home in Australia, I complained to Qantas about their hideous treatment. After a couple of months I received an apology and $200 worth of David Jones gift vouchers. Nice enough of them but I would have preferred the lack of drama and intimidation.

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