View Full Version : Lost wheelchair MP slams Qantas

16th Jun 2003, 20:46

Lost wheelchair MP slams Qantas
June 16, 2003

A FEDERAL MP today accused Qantas of gross incompetence after the airline lost his wheelchair for a second time.

Labor MP Graham Edwards launched a blistering attack on the airline after flying in to Canberra from Perth last night to learn his wheelchair was lost in Melbourne.

Mr Edwards, a Vietnam veteran, said travelling with Qantas was often stressful and described management as a disgrace.

"I've had enough. Last night for the second time in 12 months, I arrived in Canberra only to be told my wheelchair was still in Melbourne and would not arrive in Canberra for another couple of hours," Mr Edwards told parliament.

"I cannot understand how a company, an Australian company, is so incompetent it can lose a person's wheelchair not once, but twice.

"Qantas enjoys a monopoly in our skies, they don't deserve it, and the sooner we get some decent competition the better."

Australia's other domestic airline, Virgin Blue, invited Mr Edwards to try its service.

"We'd certainly welcome him on board as I'm sure would the taxpayer," a Virgin Blue spokeswoman said.

Virgin is considering direct Perth-Canberra flights but said in the meantime, Mr Edwards could fly via Sydney.

Mr Edwards said his anger was directed at Qantas management and not ground staff or cabin crew who were friendly and helpful.

"I direct my remarks at the management of Qantas who think that the needs of people with disabilities are insignificant... I say to the management of Qantas you are a disgrace."

Qantas said it was looking into the matter.

"Qantas understands the needs of disabled passengers and offers a range of services to assist with their individual requirements within the airport and in flight," an airline spokeswoman said.

"Qantas is looking into Mr Edwards' matter."

Mr Edwards said he was also fed up with the damage caused to his wheelchair during the flight.

"I know from my own experience being reunited with my (wheel)chair following a flight, I often find the frame is bent, spokes are broken, the wheels are buckled," he said.


16th Jun 2003, 22:15
I sort of see this guy's point but....

If my Nanna's wheelchair got lost by Qantas would it make the press? Who cares!

17th Jun 2003, 06:18
Perth-Canberra direct. That would make for an interesting flight.

17th Jun 2003, 07:27
Sh*t happens. Even to the disabled.
Deal with it.

Uncle Festa
17th Jun 2003, 08:58

Interesting sentiment.

Do you need a wheelchair to move around or are you part of the QF management team that Graham Edwards is referring to?


Agreed. The loss of Nanna's wheelchair would not, in all likelihood, make it to the press. However the loss of such an item is no doubt just as much an inconvenience for any wheelchair bound pax as it was for Mr Edwards.

If Graham Edwards can use his position as a politician to draw attention to issues and influence change in a positive way, in this case, QF services for disabled pax, then I think it has be a good thing.

Travelling Toolbox
17th Jun 2003, 12:23
Got to agree with Uncle Festa on this one.

Also, it is inexcusable if the chair arrived at times damaged (as alleged) with bent wheels busted spokes.

Lift ya game QF

17th Jun 2003, 12:36
It was only a matter of time until QF's handelling of disabled pax came to the attention of the media.

All I can say is that I hope that they take it as constructive that the problem has been brought to their attention, and have the area fixed.

Chocks Away
17th Jun 2003, 12:58
"Qantas is looking into Mr Edwards' matter."

Qantas said it was looking into the matter.

Exchange "QF" for "Mirrors"

Going Boeing
17th Jun 2003, 13:05
The fact that the problem occured in Melbourne is significant. MEL stands out as the worst port that QF operates into (Domestically & Internationally) The attitude of a significant number of staff there stinks. :*

Sperm Bank
17th Jun 2003, 13:29
Boeing you are correct! The attitude of some staff is nothing other than apalling. They could not care less if baggage, freight etc makes a connection or not. Of course they would be the first to complain when going away on holiday and their bags were lost or damaged.

Im not exactly sure whether it is QF management to blame. Perhaps their policy of cutbacks is coming back to haunt them in an indirect fashion.

I have seen ground staff at DJ want to get the a/c out on time and send the bags next flight. My response is always, "no bags, no departure". Invariably the poor cabin crew cop a lot of flack when they have to advise the pax their bags did not make it. This is just one of those time honoured aspects we need to change in our (or ground handlers) thinking.

17th Jun 2003, 14:19
MP has dislike for QF
MP remembers how QF once lost his wheelchair
MP has been missing a bit of air time recently - must get noticed to inflate ego...too much time going to Kimbo and Simon
MP takes action to ensure high probability of wheelchair not arriving at destination.
MP thus gets required airtime.

Two of the most egocentric, lowest forms of scum known - a politician and a reporter.(no such thing as a journalist today, they are extinct)


Dan Kelly
17th Jun 2003, 14:57
I met Graham Edwards at a seminar several years ago.

He struck me as being well adjusted and fairly normal. Not at all egocentric or requiring inflation of his ego.

17th Jun 2003, 18:33
Pax was a dedicated ansett flyer for many years. I had many dealings with him as cabin crew. He struck me as a bloody good bloke. He has every reason to complain. It is just unfortunate for Q.F that he has the public means to do so.

17th Jun 2003, 18:37
Alright alright!!
So he is the one decent politician!!!! :ouch: :O

Airspeed Ambassador
17th Jun 2003, 18:53
Newsflash mmmbop, it often takes an incident like this, to highlight a real issue involving airline service (in this case, a lack of service). Some might see this simply as a politician using his position to seek retribution, but I can assure you that this kind of thing happens to ordinary people every day. And it’s not just Qantas that is guilty of poor service in the baggage area.

I have crewed a Virgin flight (out of Melbourne would you believe!) on which a disabled pax made a late connection with our flight. The pax involved was concerned that their personal wheelchair had not made it onto the flight in the rush and questioned the cabin crew as to whether it had been loaded. The reply came back from the ground staff that ”yes, everything is ok, your wheelchair is aboard”. We get airborne, call the company to make the standard departure report only to be told, “Oops, that wheelchair didn’t get loaded”. The pax concerned had to wait an hour in Brisbane to collect his wheelchair, which travelled on the next flight. A very poor piece of service indeed!

Did someone just forget to load it? Or did someone decide that on time performance was more important? Surely airlines should not view wheelchairs (or similar equipment) as just another piece of baggage to be left behind as easily as any other.

Anyone who thinks Graham Edwards could bring about a change by making a “quiet” complaint to the airline is dreaming. Good on him! The ordinary folk who have their bags left behind everyday should thank him. I hope both airlines are listening.


17th Jun 2003, 19:55
Qantas will no doubt do a "smoke and mirrors" effort here but it belies the fact that as a World Airline it is second rate at best with regard to pax service both on the ground and in the air.

It may have some of the best airborne equipment and the "sharp end" is of World Standard, but the rest of Qantas is Sh#t as far as staff attitude is concerned particularly cabin service, but ground service is no better.

As an example a few years ago I paxed to AKL whilst my bag did a world tour courtesy of United Airlines, during the period of my inconvienence UAL reimbursed me NZD80/day for my trouble, and gave me daily updates as to it's location, then as I had returned to my abode in Aus delivered my bag intact at my door the next day - unfortunately they wouldn't credit me with the Mileage Plus the bag had done :hmm:

I had a similar experience with QF, not only did they not give a f#$k when they did locate my bag about a week later (after 15 f#$king phone calls - when they said they would ring back and never did) The ar#$h$%es wanted me to pick up the delivery charge because I lived 100k outside the Metro Area.

As far as I'm concerned QF is the last f#$k$%g Airline I travel on it's [email protected]#t from top to bottom and a bl#$dy disgrace to Australia. :yuk: :yuk: :mad:

17th Jun 2003, 20:41
1. Graham Edwards is a bloody good bloke, even if I didn't vote for him. :D He deserves better.

2. FarQ2 I take it from your post that you weren't happy with the service then. :D

17th Jun 2003, 21:53
I agree that Mr Edwards seems a decent fellow and has a point against Q that will hopefully be rectified. Maybe at the same time he could also address recent behaviour by other MPs on airline flights and advise us of what parliament is doing to address this disgraceful behaviour.

Cap10 Caveman
18th Jun 2003, 18:50
So QF [email protected]#$*d up? I'm sure there have been many similar instances with DJ that went unnoticed because the passenger wasn't a criminal, I mean politician.

DJ haven't been around long enough for a considerable number of people to have a bad experience with them and have them consider flying another airline - the time will come!!

A relative of mine recently travelled to BNE (ex ADL) with DJ, having suffered a bad case of emphysema she now requires oxygen 24/7. After a trip to the airport and 2 phone calls to make sure they knew what they had to do with regards to special procedures, they thought everything was okay.

However, when they arrived at the airport for their trip, it took 45 minutes before everything was sorted out, nobody knew the correct procedures. Arrived in BNE, made sure everything would go smoothly on the return trip by consulting with staff before leaving the airport, do you think this helped? Hell no. This time it was over an hour before they would let them check in and the staff were extremely rude - apparently you can only carry oxygen cylinders in the cabin if they are empty??????????? This would have been okay if she was an advocate of Phillip Nitscke, but she has a few years left in her yet.

Sure QF are not perfect, but is any airline? It's unfortunate that QF has received so much bad publicity lately, but it's about time we got behind this great Australian company and stop defaming it! :ok:

Cheers, CC.

19th Jun 2003, 15:53
I find it interesting that this chap states that his quarrel is not with Q cabin personnel and ground staff, but with management, yet complains that his wheelchair tends to get there damaged.

Having sat on a number of occasions and watched the way that ground staff treat passengers luggage, it would seem to me that damaging his chair and/or forgetting it is the staff on the grounds fault and not management. Or is he talking in a holistic sense that everything that happens is managements fault? Hmmm, interesting concept.

19th Jun 2003, 16:08
Of course it is managements fault flyboy6876, they create the working environment and ethos of the organisation.

19th Jun 2003, 18:15
would be interesting to see if dj are serious about per-cbr direct or just using this as a chance to have a shot at qf over their poor service, don't think that route has been done bewfore by either qf or previously AN.

19th Jun 2003, 18:55
...which all goes to prove...

that Qantas and Virgin are the airlines you have when you don't have an airline!!

19th Jun 2003, 19:43
I think Mr. Edwards problem is that he misses Ansett and nothing has come up to par since. He was a pax on many of my flights, and as a CM I always found him happy and polite. I don't remember his wheelchair never being there for him and we never flew direct PER- CBR. It was always via MEL or SYD to CBR from PER

20th Jun 2003, 11:10
PER-CBR RPT has never been done before.