Published: Thu, November 08, 2018

Aussie airline aborts veterans-first boarding plan before takeoff

Aussie airline aborts veterans-first boarding plan before takeoff

The move was backed by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, but some have described it as "US-style patriotism without substance".

Returned Services League president James Brown, meanwhile, said he would be "embarrassed" to be on the receiving end of Virgin's plans, and pointed out that "our priority list for veterans is clearly very different to the government's".

"Suicide, mental illness and homelessness are paid a lot of lip service. but it is more about proper funding for support for veterans".

The proposal echoes similar acknowledgment in the U.S., although some carriers also offer discounts to veterans. Others believed the net should be widened to include other sectors that also make sacrifices for the public good such as emergency workers and carers.

The announcement also comes as the federal government approved a 500 million Australian dollar, or about $360 million, upgrade of the national War Memorial, a sizable investment at a time when other national institutions are facing budget cuts.

A Qantas spokesperson said in a statement that although the airline has the utmost respect for current and former defence force personnel, they have no desire to follow in Virgin's footsteps. I won't fly you.

Morrison said it was while attending the recent Invictus Games that the message about "nurturing the respect for our veterans" was "brought home for me". The head of the Australian Defence Association raised similar concerns, pointing out that there are so many forms of service to the community worthy of recognition.


TALKING POINT | "Thank you for your service". "That's a really worry", he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

Virgin Australia plans to honour war veterans on all its flights, but not everyone loves the idea.

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"Once the veterans have their cards and lapel pins, they will simply need to present them during the boarding process to be given priority boarding and be recognised onboard", he said.

Many flyers were not happy though. I live in Oz not USA.

On Monday afternoon, Virgin Australia noted the pushback its proposal, taking to social media to saying it was "very mindful of the response that our announcement about recognising people who have served in defence has had today" and was prepared to drop in-flight announcements if that was the feedback from consultation. Not Americans, your American tokenism is not wanted or welcomed.

Qantas says it won't follow suit as its hard to single out certain groups when so many people serve the community.

The move reflects what is already done in the United States, where Australian servicemen and women will be given priority boarding and their contribution to the country publicly acknowledged on board during pre-flight announcements.

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