What you thought about Qantas’s refusal to follow Virgin’s lead of giving benefits to veterans


Updated

November 05, 2018 19:35:20

Qantas says it doesn’t have any plans to follow Virgin Australia’s lead in giving war veterans extra benefits when flying.

Virgin Australia said it would review the policy after its initial announcement received a mixed response.

Defence Industry Minister Steve Ciobo backed the move while some former veterans said they thought it was unnecessary.

But we wanted to know what you thought about the issue.

Here are some of your responses.

Many said there were plenty of people who would deserve recognition

Sally E said it was over the top:

“Qantas has a fair point. Veterans can be and are acknowledged in so many other ways. Singling them out on boarding flights is over the top.”

Jack T said others do more than veterans:

“Veterans are just regular Australians. They are paid for the work they did like any government employee. Everyday emergency workers, doctors and health workers do far more for regular Australians than veterans. It is inappropriate to announce and thank anyone at the commencement of a flight.”

Will A said plenty of people perform heroic acts:

“Not a veteran but I think Qantas’ statement makes sense. There are plenty of people who perform heroic acts on a daily basis, including veterans. Also, while it is a good gesture, I believe veterans would prefer more support once they return to the community more than anything else. Although, acknowledgment before take-off may be able to help to provide that support.”

Elise S said cultivating such an attitude to war may not be beneficial:

“I have great respect for our veterans, but wars impact people of diverse backgrounds in diverse ways. We are not a colonising empire. Passengers travelling on our planes shouldn’t be treated hierarchically. These tendencies creep into conscription practices, and into an attitude to war that is not beneficial to our culture.”

Others said the move smacked of ‘Americanism’

Denise J was not keen on following America’s lead:

“No, Qantas has it right. There are many exceptional people who serve our community and our country. It is unreasonable to single out one group. Anyway… this is sooooo American why do we we have to slavishly follow that morally and ethically bankrupt country?”

Glenn C likewise thought it was too American:

“I am a veteran and find this US level of nationalistic pandering completely unnecessary. The government seems to be trying to ride the coattails of the Invictus Games and score some electoral points that won’t cost them anything. They should be spending money on veteran mental health support and suicide prevention, not thoughts-and-prayers-level tokenism.”

Susan T was unimpressed as well:

“Glad Qantas are not joining in with this Yankee rot. Yuk.”

Mathew B said it was a facade of virtue:

“Not a veteran. Strongly disagree with Virgin, and hence agree with Qantas. Call it what it is — a facade of virtue. It’s using national spirit as a profiteering measure, and an attempt to introduce yet another Americanism into Australian culture.”

Some were concerned veterans may find it uncomfortable

Janelle W said acknowledgement could be problematic:

“I’m not a veteran, but provide counselling for veterans and I believe most would be very uncomfortable with a public acknowledgement, as it could lead to opening up potentially difficult conversations. For anyone who has experienced trauma, or struggles with PTSD or other mental health issues, the last thing you’d want is strangers asking questions about it. Think carefully, Virgin!”

Col said it could have negative effects:

“This is a ridiculous idea which not only smacks of glorifying war, it exposes ex-service ppl to the whims of anything from nutjobs to terrorists. And not everyone who served/serves does it for the romantic reasons offered up. Some ppl do it for money, others because of family tradition/history and some probably just for thrills or worse. This flag-waving jingoistic patriotism attracts and amplifies rednecks, terrorists and bullies (Trump, anyone). This is further Americanisation of Australia and we should regurgitate the idea immediately. It sucks.”

Claire F was also concerned about the potential impact on health:

“How about we respect our veterans by looking after them properly when they come home? Make sure they have all the support they deserve and need. Also, would a plane of applauding people affect a veteran with PTSD negatively? Would this just be adding another stress to their flight?”

Janet J said some would find it embarrassing:

“I’m not a veteran however my grandfather was, and the only time he talked about the war was with other veterans. He said he was one of the lucky ones who came back and it’s the ones who gave there lives who should be remembered. The ones who returned were just doing their job and were glad it was over. He would have found it embarrassing to be singled out on a flight.”

But some of you were strongly in favour of the move

Brett T argued veterans deserve it:

“Shame on you Qantas! I am not a veteran but yes they should be recognised for who they are, if the veterans of war did not stand up and fight to save our nation, well, it would be totally different today, we don’t know what this place would be. And as far as doctors, nurses, firefighters [and] police, as I said, if it wasn’t for the vets they would maybe not exist, so 5-10 mins to allow them to board first and get settled and an extra few words to recognise them during briefing — is that a major problem or interruption in any way? NO. It’s pretty simple to make someone special feel special. THEY DESERVE IT.”

Sky I said a little acknowledgement is not too much to ask:

“I’m the daughter of a veteran who has seen and felt the effects of having a father who has endured the horrifics of serving in war. I don’t think that priority boarding and a little acknowledgement is too much to ask QANTAS!! QANTAS has no respect! Proud of VIRGIN AUSTRALIA. I would only recommend maybe asking the Vets if they don’t mind receiving an acknowledgement or not, as I know my father probably would no. Priority boarding not too much to ask for though surely!”

Sally B said it could be a welcome change:

“As a veteran myself and the wife of a currently deployed member I find (in general) the Australian public fairly reluctant to acknowledge the sacrifices service personnel make, unless you ‘prove’ your service worthy. There is a great deal of ignorance around what military service means to an individual and to their families in our community, as is clearly demonstrated by the comments from QANTAS. In past eras there was support for service personnel and their families from the communities they lived in, but nowadays it is extremely lacking. I’ve always found it strange that within the country I served it goes unnoticed and unmentioned, but in the US I am thanked for it, eligible for discounts, and expected by Americans to receive priority service. By no means do I think we should become a mini-USA. I’m simply making an observation. With regards to Virgin, I think veterans being acknowledged is a welcome change.”

Helen C said it was a small thing to do:

“I’m appalled that Qantas won’t acknowledge or board soldiers or veterans first. It’s a small thing to do and other ‘special’ groups (I am a nurse) would never expect to be acknowledged in this way. This is very special, soldiers are very special. Get on board yourself, Qantas.”

Lisa S said it was disappointing Qantas didn’t get on board:

“After [my father was] spat on after returning from Vietnam, a pointless war that made my upbringing violent and full of alcohol abuse due to my father’s PTSD and continues to affect my family, I would love to see him and any other veteran get special treatment. And to say that veterans are like paramedics, police and nurses is bloody disgraceful. Being in a war and it’s effects are life-changing, and some of these blokes didn’t even want to be there. The alternative was jail or break your own bone. Really disappointing Qantas.”

Michael S said defence personnel have earned it:

“I’m not a veteran, but I believe they should get special treatment. Yes, paramedics and firefighters, doctors and nurses and police all protect and save people. There is one very big difference though: our defence force go overseas away from their families from months to years. That is a huge sacrifice. Give them boarding, priority seating and cheap flights. They’ve earned it.”

Topics:

defence-and-national-security,

veterans,

government-and-politics,

australia

First posted

November 05, 2018 12:06:18



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