Qantas Business Class BNE-TSV

Almost there!

Spent half the time in transit on the phone to a family member who was going to pick me up at the airport in Townsville. Lots of logistical stuff to sort out when you’re moving yourself from one end of the country to the other like that!

The Qantas business lounge in Brisbane hasn’t changed any since the last time I was there. It started out relatively empty, but still gets a bit overcrowded around 7am, but it’s not as bad as the general Qantas Club, or the general departures lounge outside, so I made do. Had a hot shower and some breakfast. Gluten free museli with fruit. And coffee.

After the mess on the Perth-Brisbane flight with the catering, I wasn’t holding my breath on the Townsville flight getting it right. So figured I should eat in the lounge. Need not have worried.

No pre-departure drink, but offered one very quickly once in the air. Just got water. Wasn’t feeling very well, and even the thought of coffee made me feel queasy. Then the meal was served. Lo and behold – it was actually vegan! And mostly gluten free!

It included:

  • Grapes (seedless ones even!)
  • Ciabatta roll with lactose free spread (more on that in a minute)
  • Sandwich with avocado, chargrilled vegetables (cold), and mixed greens
  • Cranberry and apricot cake thing

Obviously the grapes were fine to eat. The ciabatta roll was out. The lactose free spread is a nightmare. It’s never clear whether it’s actually dairy free or not. A lot of lactose free products use regular dairy, and add lacteeze (or an equivalent product) to it to make it “lactose free”. It doesn’t mean it’s actually dairy free. I never eat “lactose free” products unless I can see the ingredients list for myself. I ate the avocado, chargrilled vegetables and mixed greens, but left the bread it came on. And the cranberry and apricot cake thing had the ingredients on it, and it was actually vegan and gluten free! It was also awesome!

The regular brunch meal looked to be some kind of soup and a toasted ham and cheese sandwich in case you were wondering.

IMG_0617[1]My VGML from Brisbane to Townsville!

What I don’t understand is how they can get it right on a short haul regional flight from Brisbane to Townsville, but screw up so epically on the medium haul major transit route from Perth to Brisbane?

Anyway, flight was totally uneventful. I still wasn’t feeling well when we landed (on time). Bags were first off the plane, and then it was off to start my new life!


Qantas Business Class PER-BNE

Bye Perth!

I’d say it was nice knowing you, but it kind of really wasn’t. I loved my job in Perth, but I hated living there. So off I return to the east coast!

This trip was a logistical pain in the ass. I had to be at work all day Friday, and then my flight didn’t leave until 2310. So I had to have 3 suitcases and 2 carry-on bags at work all day, because I’d already had to hand the keys to my apartment to the landlord at lunchtime. It’s a pain trying to get a taxi that fits that much luggage. Then trying to get that much luggage from the taxi drop-off zone to the check-in counters. $4 to get a trolley for the 100 meter walk from the road to the counters. Yay Perth. Then the random Qantas staff wandering around the check-in area inevitably tell me I’ve got too much luggage and I’m going to have to pay for excess.

Yeah…No. See, there’s this awesome benefit of being a platinum frequent flyer – more luggage allowance! And on top of that, even though my new employer only bought me an economy class airfare to get to my new home, I have roughly half a million frequent flyer miles – I upgraded myself. Ergo – 3 checked bags. And I had the standard 2 allowable cabin items (1 larger, 1 smaller). So there! Yes, you should totally imagine me sticking my tongue out right now!

Anyway, I check myself in at the counters, rather than the self-service kiosks. It’s a frequent flyer benefit, I’m going to use it. Confirmed my VGML was loaded. All good!

The Qantas lounge was surprisingly very quiet. It’s usually quite loud with all of the FIFO workers heading home at the end of the night. But the free food, drinks, and decent wi-fi call my name every time…A mild improvement over my last visit is the platters of fresh fruit on the work tables in the lounge. Also, Mr Barista. Always my favourite person.

Anyway, flight boarded on time. And then shock of all horror, two people failed to board because they’d gone to the casino. So then we ended up departing 20 minutes late because they had to find and offload their bags.

While we were waiting, we got offered the obligatory pre-departure drink. I got water. Then one of the cabin crew came and spoke to me about my VGML. And…Fail.

The supper option was pasta. Not vegan. Not gluten free. The breakfast option was fruit salad with yogurt. And a savoury muffin. I could eat the fruit salad, but the yogurt was full cream, and the muffin wasn’t vegan or gluten free.

IMG_0615[1]This is the regular menu that was on offer in business class. I was basically offered the “vegetarian” option which amounts to a VOML (ovo-lacto vegetarian), not a VGML (vegan/strict vegetarian).

This is what Qantas has to offer for a VGML for it’s premium class customers? This is complete and utter bollocks. I could forgive the VGML not being gluten free. But when it’s not actually vegan? It’s unacceptable. Yes, what they were offering me was vegetarian, but it wasn’t vegan. The pasta had egg in it, the yogurt was dairy, and the muffin had dairy and egg.

Ugh. When I specify VGML, I expect to get the strict vegetarian meal. Not the VOML which contains dairy and egg. If you can’t provide the VGML, then don’t offer it as an option.

I spent most of the flight watching Sherlock. Because he’s pretty.

My original intention was to sleep, because the pre-flight information said that the plane had lay flat seats. It didn’t. Must have been a last minute plane change or something, I don’t know.

All in all, the flight was uneventful. Just incredibly disappointing with regards to the catering. I’ll be sending Qantas an email about it. This shouldn’t happen.

And this says it all…

I recently resigned from my position at work to take up a job offer interstate. This was for a variety of reasons, but it had little to do with where I was working (I liked it there), but was primarily due to personal circumstances.

That aside, as is common when someone leaves the workplace, they threw me a small farewell event. I’d worked there for 7 years, everyone knew I was allergic to dairy (the veganism was more recent and may have been forgiven).

What happened during my farewell? They bought a creamy chocolate cake and pastries.

No, I’m not even kidding.

This sums up the attitude of a lot of people I know. I’ve had problems with this for years. My employers were told up front when I started work there about my dairy allergy. They had to know in case of an emergency. But ever since I started work, they’ve ignored it. Every time we had to cater for a work function and I told them I needed dairy free food – they told me I was being difficult. Of course, they catered for the Muslim and Hindu staff in the department. Because heaven forbid you offend someone on religious grounds. But still, they refused to cater for someone who had a potentially life threatening food allergy. I’ll give them credit though, they realised what had happened very quickly when everyone except me was eating my “goodbye” cake. I got an apology.

Attitudes like this are rife. Nobody would dare refuse to cater for someone on religious grounds, because that would lead to calls of discrimination and would be all over the media. Yet, I fail to see how it is not discrimination to refuse to provide appropriate food for me on medical grounds when they’re already catering to people’s special religious needs.

I’m used to it, but I won’t pretend that it doesn’t frustrate me.

Time to fly away!