Travelling home from the CES - Qantas needs to pay more attention to catering and cabin maintenance
As my regular reader(s) know, I went to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show and a Windows Vista Lab courtesy of Microsoft (Microsoft paid for flights, I paid for accommodation).
Although the frequency of my travel has reduced over the past 6 months or so, I am still a Gold Frequent Flyer with Qantas and they were kind enough to upgrade me to business class for the Melbourne to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Melbourne legs of my trip. I purchased an upgrade to business using points for the Perth to Melbourne leg. I did have the opportunity to purchase a points upgrade to business class for the final Melbourne to Perth leg, but they could not guarantee me a meal so I decided to stay in economy because I had an exit row seat anyway.
Now, the international legs of my travel with Qantas were wonderful, but the local flights, even in business class, revealed problems with catering, and cabin maintenance.
For the business class Melbourne to Perth leg I chose the salmon for my meal. When it arrived it was badly overcooked, dried out and hard - certainly not what I would expect from a business class meal - it was nearly inedible.
For the Melbourne to Los Angeles leg the controls for my Qantas Skybed were not working properly. The seat would only move an inch at a time, instead of reclining or raising smoothly, and the control buttons had to be pressed over and over and over before I could position the seat to my satisfaction. But, that being said, the food was sublime. The gentleman sitting next to me also had problems. The entertainment system in his seat was not working and the steward had to organise for the system to be reset for his seat, at which time it started working.
The flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne was the most successful of the lot. This time the seat worked, and the food was fantastic as well. But, that being said, the laptop power at my seat was not working - both powerpoints worked when first plugged in, but then the power slowly faded away. I had to move to another seat which did not have power problems to get my work done. Also, the tube of moisturizer in my Business Class travel pack had leaked, and what was left was dried out and unuseable.
My final leg, from Melbourne to Perth (this time in Economy class), revealed more problems with Qantas catering. The bread roll that I was given was stale and hard, there was only half a dozen tiny bits of beef in my hot meal, and the mashed potato was the sloppy consistency of overwatered, reconstituted potato powder. Everybody seated nearby had the same complaints about the bread rolls. I know that times are tight, and that airlines have to cut costs, but serving up bread rolls that are so stale they are only edible if soaked in the pre-mentioned sloppy mashed potato is simply not acceptable.
I then decided to watch the movie, but there was a problem with the sound service. Only one side was working on the headset, and the volume control in the armrest was not working, so I was left to try and watch the movie with the sound blaring at full volume into only one ear. I tried another headset but the problem continued. I tried reversing the way that the headset was plugged in and all that did was move the blaring sound to the other ear. Having been spoilt by the Bose style sets in business class I decided to forgo deafness and not watch the movie.
The trip from Melbourne to Perth, with the bad food and not being able to watch the movie, could have been long and boring except for the fact that I had some fun company. I was seated next to a gentleman by the name of Steve Wall whose wife and friend were also sitting nearby. Steve and his wife were great company, and I had a ball demonstrating my Ferrari 5000 laptop and Windows Vista to them.
My Ferrari is running Vista Ultimate so I was able to show Steve and his wife virtually everything, including Media Centre. My only regret was I did not have Dreamscene installed so I could not demo that.
I had a great time demonstrating Vista to people who have never seen it before, on a system that is powerful enough to do everything I asked of it (and I think Steve may want to buy a Ferrari now).
Apparently Steve will be telling the guys at work that he met me on the plane and got to see one of the infamous blogger Ferrari 5000s as well as Windows Vista in all of its glory. Just so these guys know that he's not telling porkies, here's a photo of Steve that was taken on the plane using the camera that is built in to the laptop
BTW, Steve and his wife run a mining spare parts business called Critical Spares which has a Web site at www.criticalspares.com and yes Steve, I can confirm that the site works just fine in IE7