Heckler August 09, 2012
Illustration: Simon Letch
I FLY a lot. After all these years I still like it, despite the just-plain-rude Sydney airport charges. I try to just go with the flow.
I don't get annoyed about the behaviour of my cattle-class colleagues - the armrest wrestle, the guy behind me who uses my seat-back as a high-diving springboard just as I'm nodding off, the guy in front who reclines his seat with nuclear force just as my ''meal'' (a muffin - yum!) is served. I don't even mind being squeezed into a corner by the sumo wrestler beside me.
OK, I cringe when an oversize bag is forced into the locker above on top of somebody's Krispy Kremes. And I'm peeved at the self-important ''suit'' who pretends to turn his phone off, then insists on surreptitiously SMS-ing during the flight whenever the hostie-persons aren't on patrol.
Two years ago I splurged and paid for lounge membership as I spend a fair amount of my life hanging around while the Mexicans get the blame - ''due to the late arrival of an inbound flight … from Melbourne''. And it was worth it. Great coffee. Nice showers. Wine. Comfort food - sometimes. But a tad annoying to receive a letter from Qantas a week later promoting me from Silver to Gold because I was flying so much, together with complimentary annual access to the lounge. D'oh!
But Gold is good for me because I take lots of luggage. I'm film crew - often with big cameras and a tripod. Try stuffing that into a single bag. So I wrote to Qantas last year railing against their ''single bag'' policy and thankfully they dumped it. But baggage limits and rules change constantly. As I found out yesterday when I arrived with one bag.
''I'm sorry Mr Greaves, new rules. Your bag is too heavy. You have 25 kilos and the weight limit is 23.''
''But as a Gold member, I can take up to 46 kilos.''
''Yes, that's right. But not in one bag. Two bags is fine.''
The wet fish of irony slaps me in the face. A pause.
''OK then. What if I was just a Silver member?''
''That would be no problem - you could take up to 32 kilos in one bag. But you're Gold now.''
''Right. What if I were a Qantas Club member?''
''No problem. You could take up to 32 kilos in one bag.''
''But … [eyes rolling] I AM a Qantas Club member!''
''Ah … but your Gold membership takes precedence over your lounge membership, too - so you can't. Unless you pay.''
I'm stuck in a Monty Python sketch and my fondness of flying is diminishing every day.