Cool head puts Joyce in shade

Cool head puts Joyce in shade

When Qantas dishes out some end-of-year gongs for customer service, CBD reckons one particular pilot deserves a medal to add to an already impressive trophy cabinet.

More than 400 passengers aboard QF9 to London via Dubai were at first impressed when their pilot informed them they were aboard the second-newest addition to the national carrier's fleet - a shimmering A380.

They weren't so impressed when he interrupted the flight just 90 minutes out of Dubai, telling them to "take out a pen and paper and write something down".

They were told the plane's refrigerator had broken down and they would not be getting breakfast or lunch, due to fears the food might cause illness.

Grumpy passengers were also told that food would be available in the lounges at Heathrow for frequent flyers and Qantas Club members after landing, while others would get "vouchers to have breakfast at one of three eating establishments". "A few passengers were still grumpy, but the clincher came when the captain told everyone to write down his name and mobile number," said one CBD reader who was making the kangaroo run to London.

"It was Richard de Crespigny, the pilot who avoided the near-disaster, and he gave everyone his mobile phone number. He said if anyone didn't get a voucher or they weren't happy with the service, to call him personally and he would fix it. Bet Alan Joyce wouldn't give out his mobile."

Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny is, of course, the hero of QF32, which made an emergency landing at Changi Airport in 2010 after an engine explosion.

On that day de Crespigny had 21 of the plane's 22 operating systems malfunctioning in some way, including engines, brakes, hydraulics, pressurisation and cooling. That puts a dodgy fridge into perspective.

The hole story

One man who will be happy to hear that Qantas is providing top-notch service is Emirates Australia boss Barry Brown. Not that he needs much cheering up at the moment - golf-mad Brown was at Augusta National for Adam Scott's drought-breaking triumph at the famous tournament.

Not only was he at the course, but Brown and his mates arrived at the course at 7.30am to secure a prime position just 10 metres from the last green.

"No doubt the moment was electric at home on TV, but words cannot adequately describe the tension and excitement felt around the 18th hole," Brown told CBD.

"We were drenched, and cold, as people behind could not see with umbrellas raised, but we had box office seats for one of the great Australian sporting triumphs." Brown watched Scott drop his putt on the 72nd hole ("I thought he had won it then") before Angel Cabrera hit his approach shot inside a metre. "It was a cauldron, but Scott had plenty of Aussie support around the last," Brown said. "We saw the two putts that counted from Scotty on 18. He hung tough and won this fair and square."

O'Farrell head-on

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell did his best impersonation of a talking Easter Island statue at Tuesday's news conference for his government's white paper on a new planning system for the state. With a bank of TV cameras at the back of the room, the Premier answered all questions standing stock still and staring straight ahead. It was a lesson in self-control given he referred to the journos by name without making any eye contact, except to the all-important red button on the camera. No doubt he will be practising the same MO when he meets the Prime Minister on Friday for the COAG meeting. If you want his attention, then bring your camera.


Let's hear it for the Australian government's top commodities forecaster, the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BREE), which does not have a contact phone number on its website, and is not listed in the White Pages. How are you supposed to contact BREE? You're not.

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