Rabid reseller: Flying high

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This article appeared in the September issue of CRN magazine.

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Rabid reseller: Flying high

Got a call from a mate the other day inviting me to his wedding. He said he was getting married in Mosman, and then carried on about it like we didn’t know where it was, and asked if it was all right to expect guests to go that far for his wedding.

Sheesh! OK, so we don’t get out that much but Mosman is right next to Neutral Bay last time we checked. Then the wedding invitation arrived in the post and the first thing we spotted was he’d tried to save money using some cheap printing house, and for his trouble they’d spelled Mosman with two esses. “Mossman”.

Hah! A quick call to spread the jeer and me old mate says it’s spelled right and it’s just up the road – from Cairns. We laughed along too – not about to let him know we didn’t have a clue.

Right then, better get online and get some tickets to – Cairns? It transpires the only way to get there from here, without committing a felony to fund the adventure, is to travel with a “budget carrier”. That’s a politically correct term for so-cheap-you-almost-have-to-pedal-the-thing-yourself.

But once on board, the plane was big and wide just the way Rabid likes it, and the seats all seemed to be leather, or at least an expensive imitation. What with the anti-terrorist baggage checks these days you can’t exactly whip out the penknife to see if the stuff is fake.

Apart from the look of the plane the rest of the “service” was designed to remind you that real service is available from the big sister airline for the appropriate fee. Three dollars for a cup of coffee at the local café is about par these days but $3 for a cup of hot water and a ration of Nescafe seems a tad exorbitant. 

This cheapskate airline didn’t even run to TV screens. Instead they offered to rent you a portable wireless video player and then sell you some headphones so you can listen as well as watch. Strange how they give you stern warnings not to use any of your own electronics but their own toys apparently don’t interfere with navigation. 

Of course the stewards were less than impressed with Rabid’s entrepreneurial flair, renting just one viewer and charging the neighbouring seats $5 each to watch, while we provided the out-loud running commentary.

After surviving the flight and wandering onto the tarmac only to realise we’d left something in the overhead compartment, we attempted to retrace our steps. This resulted in a crash tackle from a burly bloke who said it was a breach of security to re-enter the plane. We did ask how we could possibly have acquired anything sinister, which we didn’t already have about our person, during the five steps between the bottom of the stairs and the spear-tackle incident, but it didn’t help our case.

No, we had to wait in the terminal while the security detachment retrieved the forgotten object on our behalf. And wait. And wait. It turns out Mr Security is also Mr Baggage-Truck-Driver, Mr Refreshment-Replacer, Mr Vacuum-Cleaner and Mr Wave-the-Orange-Lollipops-at-Departing-Planes.

One hour later he returned, having effected a Superman-style quick-change back into his security uniform, and tossed our forgotten item at our feet.

Off we went to collect the rental car and motor north to Mossman with two esses. As soon as we arrived at the car rental counter the operator saw the tag from our “budget airline” and said “what’s your horror story – everyone with one of those tags has one!”

We started to apologise for being late but he stopped us and said it was the first time the plane had arrived on time all week and he thought we were early. Oh well, you pays your money and you makes your choice.

Mossman was nice by the way, and so was the wedding, but the return flight proved the rental car man’s theory correct. We touched down two hours late, before waiting around for lost items.

Gotta go! Luggage to collect!

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