SMH – DIRECT LINE TO THE PILOT

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, to tell them 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 regular CBD reader 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 being rocked by an engine explosion.

On that day De Crespigny had 21 out of the plane’s 22 operating systems malfunctioning in some way, including engines, brakes, hydraulics, pneumatics, pressurisation and cooling.

That puts a dodgy fridge into some perspective.

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