Tuesday, January 05, 2010

QANTAS again -- this is getting to be almost daily

Passengers should have been transferred immediately to other flights so that they could arrive nearly on time -- but QANTAS wouldn't know how to put their passengers first. QANTAS are so bad that I have started a QANTAS blog just to keep track of how constantly they fail. I have taken it back only 6 months so far but there are still a LOT of troublesome incidents on it

Qantas passengers who sat on a defective A380 for five hours at Melbourne Airport yesterday finally departed for Los Angeles this afternoon, after yet another delay. Flight QF93, originally scheduled to take off yesterday at midday, was pushed back to 11am this morning. After another delay the flight finally left the terminal at 12.10pm, 24 hours late, and took off at 12.27pm.

A Qantas spokesman said engineers were this morning still working on the problem, in consultation with Airbus, that caused yesterday's delay. He said today's delay was due to the large volume of A380 passengers boarding at Melbourne Airport.

One passenger told Traveller that frustration boiled over during yesterday's delay and an "altercation" between another passenger and a Qantas representative was met by applause. After the flight left the gate, the problem reoccurred, forcing the superjumbo back to the terminal. Passengers were not allowed to disembark for more than five hours due to new security measures for US flights, which made it unfeasible to re-screen all 450 of them, they were told.

Business analyst Jeff Lobo said the delay had been "pretty horriffic." As a result of the flight postponement, he said he had missed hosting a clinical research workshop for over 20 people in North Carolina, a meeting difficult to re-convene. He said Qantas had been "ever apologetic, but decisions should have been taken much more quickly." "There was no depth to the explanations" offered by Qantas, which led to annoyance amongst those affected, he said.

After spending five hours on the grounded A380, "another couple of hours" were spent dealing with customs, which appeared ill-equipped to cope with the volume of affected commuters, Mr Lobo said. Mr Lobo did not get out of the airport until eight o'clock and stayed at the nearby Hilton Hotel overnight.

Another passenger, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had decided to go home rather than take up the Qantas offer of overnight accommodation, arriving home after 8pm last night. He said "there were issues, one after the other" all day yesterday. "There were different messages from different people (representing Qantas)," he said, over whether baggage should be left at the airport or taken with passsengers, and the availability of taxis.

Delayed travellers were told to go to the domestic taxi rank for transport, but rank marshals there were unaware of the arrangement, according to the passenger. "By seven o'clock there were a lot of angry people, a lot of tension" he said. There was an "altercation" between a frustrated passenger and a Qantas representative, which was received with loud applause.

The passenger heavily criticised the lack of "recovery effort" from Qantas following the delayed flight. Qantas said refreshments were served to passengers during the delay and that in-flight entertainment was available. The Qantas spokesman said overnight hotel accommodation would be provided to passengers who required it. "We sincerely regret any inconvenience that this has caused and we're doing everything we can to look after customers tonight," the spokesman said.


And QANTAS subsidiary Jetstar is just as bad

A Christchurch woman who was left to worry about her teenage son's fate after a dispute with Jetstar says the airline has agreed to investigate the incident. Stephanie Kelly said she was told by Jetstar staff last week that her 18-year-old son, Jordan Kelly-Houston, did not board a flight from Sydney to Honolulu. However, the teenager was on the December 31 flight, and arrived safely in Honolulu.

Kelly said she spoke to Alexander Knigge, head of commercial services at Jetstar Airways, yesterday. She said the airline had agreed to reimburse her for the phone calls she made to Sydney and the United States in an attempt to find her son. "He's [Knigge] agreed to investigate the conversations that went on," Kelly said. "He has offered to compensate [me] for my phone calls around the world and the extra night's accommodation we had to book in Honolulu."

Kelly-Houston was due to leave Sydney on December 30, but that flight was delayed until New Year's Eve. He was travelling – via a stopover in Canada to visit family – to take up a tennis scholarship at Florida State University. On arrival in Honolulu, Kelly-Houston had to wait for a new connecting flight to Toronto at 10am the next day.

As the flight to Honolulu was delayed, Stephanie Kelly had to spend $900 on the new flight to Canada. Jetstar had not committed to reimbursing her for the connecting flight, she said.

Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway confirmed the airline had been in contact with Kelly-Houston's family. "Today, a senior manager of our airline spoke directly with Jordan's mum," he said yesterday.


Tony Abbott defends government private school subsidies and 6pc fee hike

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has defended the public subsidisation of elite private schools and said they have the right to increase fees. "Well in the end these are private institutions and it's up to them to decide what their fees should be,” he said in a radio interview today.

Mr Abbott was responding to a report in The Australian today showing wealthy private schools are increasing fees by an average of 6 per cent this year despite acknowleding parents are feeling the pinch.

The Opposition Leader also defended the introduction under the Howard Government of the SES funding model that is set to deliver non-government schools $28 billion in taxpayers' money between 2009 and 2012. “Every Australian child is entitled to government assistance towards his or her education,” he said.

“Now, whether people choose to utilise that assistance by going to a public school or whether they choose to go to a private school and receive a reduced level of support, but nevertheless a substantial level of support, that's up to the parents of the child, so we don't support these schools because we think they should be free or almost free we support these schools because every kid is entitled to get government support towards an education.

“Now, obviously it would be better if fees were lower and the increases were less but in the end it is up to these schools to make their own decision on”.


South Australia: "We asked for help - but they took our kids"

Social workers are an arrogant lot worldwide -- mini-Hitlers. They wouldn't know the meaning of "help"

TRIGGER-HAPPY social workers are taking children from their homes and creating a new "stolen generation", a group of distraught mothers claim. The four women, with 26 children between them, say what started as cries for help became the catalyst that destroyed their families. They say care workers bullied and threatened them and coerced them to put their children into care. In some cases, the children were ripped from the arms of their parents outside court houses and schools without any warning.

The mums also say their children are now living in situations worse than the conditions they had at home. Some have unsupervised visits with fathers convicted of child neglect and other crimes, others are separated from siblings and children as young as three have run away from foster homes.

Recent FamiliesSA figures show that at the end of June last year, there were 2111 children under care and protection orders, an 8.6 per cent increase on the previous year's 1943. There are now about 1780 children in state care, the office of Families and Communities Minister Jennifer Rankine confirmed yesterday.

The minister's office provided reasons for FamiliesSA intervention in each of the cases of the four mothers, and emphasised it was the Youth Court that assesses the department's applications and makes the protection orders. But the mums argue they face no charges of neglect and believe they are good and capable mothers who were "tricked" into handing over their children to the state when they asked for help. The mothers say FamiliesSA social workers have been "jumpy" and "trigger-happy" since June, 2008 when 21 children were found living in squalid conditions at Parafield Gardens. Six people face child-neglect charges over that case.

All four mothers who approached The Advertiser to tell their stories say they have never been charged with any child neglect crimes.

MUM 1, a 21-year-old from the southern suburbs, has lost the neat, comfortable rental property she had secured to raise her two young children. She says FamiliesSA has not only "stolen" her children, but also her joy of being a mother. She first came to the attention of the service when she and her mother asked for help to deal with her six-week-old daughter. "They told me that they would help me to get on my feet, that the order would only be for six weeks and I would get her back," the mum said.

"Three months after she was born, I was pregnant. The order got extended to 14 months and throughout my pregnancy they threatened to take my baby away when he was born." Her daughter was returned to her care and she looked after both children until December, 2008, when her son, now aged three, was admitted to hospital with head injuries sustained while he was in the care of a babysitter. The mother claims her son was in the babysitter's care for just 15 minutes. No charges were laid over the incident but both children were taken from the mother and are now in the care of their father's parents.

The father lives in the home with the children but an order states he is not to have unsupervised access to the children, the mum says. The mother says she now lives with her parents and they would like to help her raise her children in that home. But they have only recently been allowed limited unsupervised access to the children.

She said she is required to undergo a psychological assessment before her case can progress and that the current guardians have taunted her, saying she would never get her children back because they are now accredited foster carers.

MUM 2 is a 26-year-old mother of six who was herself under the care of the state as a child. "I was under the guardianship of the state from 11 to 18 and I learnt what I know about being a mum from FamiliesSA," said the southern suburbs mum, who is pregnant. "When I needed help with my five-week-old twins, I had to turn to them for help . . . that's all I knew to do. "They said I would get my boys back, but I can't see that I will get my boys back and now they have taken my other four children. "I am pregnant and I am scared they will take my baby away, too."

The young mum said her infant twins were taken from her more than a year ago and her other four children - whom her current partner had helped care for - were placed under a protection order in November. She said she now only has supervised visits with her children, for a few hours twice a week, while the father of the four eldest children has unsupervised access despite having being jailed for child neglect of her eldest son.

"The three eldest kids were taken from school . . . We didn't even know it was happening," the woman's partner said. "We had our three-year-old daughter with us and they were forcibly removing our girl from my arms. I was distressed and they handcuffed me when they did it."

The mother said: "They are creating the new stolen generation. "I just want to be a mother. I want for my children to not have to go through what I went through as a child in the care of the state."

MUM 3 lives in the northern suburbs, has 11 children, and seven of them were living with her. In November, five children were taken from her outside the Youth Court under a protection order. She said the children who were put into care, aged 3-11, had all tried to run away from their foster home. These included a four year old and a five year old who had both tried to hitch-hike home. After a month in foster care, they were placed in the care of their grandmother.

The mother's lawyers wrote to the mother, saying the magistrate overseeing her case deemed the foster care home had not provided "superior care" to that which she had offered.

In May, the mother admitted in a TV interview to being a neglectful parent when she was evicted from a rental property because of the putrid environment she lived in. This week, she told The Advertiser she had done the best she could and had asked for help in a bid to adequately provide for her children. "This is the worst experience of my life," the mum said. "The minister . . . needs to come out here and talk to people like me to work out what's going on."

MUM 4 is the 32-year-old Frewville mother who had seven children removed from her care on Christmas Eve. She said she handed her children to social workers on the promise they would be kept together. She first visited the children briefly five days after they were removed and she says they are being cared for in four different homes.


2009 Australia's second hottest year on record -- according to the BOM

But now we know how Australian temperature records are compiled, you would be gullible to believe them

THE past calendar year - 2009 - was the second warmest on record in Australia since 1910, the Australian government's Bureau of Meteorology reported today. The bureau said the high temperatures were driven by unusual or extreme heatwaves, with a temperature trend consistent with global warming, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Australia's annual mean temperature for 2009 was 0.90 degrees Celsius above a 1961-90 average, making it the nation's second-warmest year since high-quality records began in 1910, the bureau reported in an annual climate statement. The warmest was 2005.

High temperatures were especially notable in the south-east during the second half of 2009, with Australia nationally and the states Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales independently all recording their warmest July-December periods on record.

Extreme heatwaves occurred across much of southern Australia during late January/early February, resulting in a new maximum temperature record in the Victorian capital Melbourne of 46.4 degrees and a new Victoria state maximum temperature record of 48.8 degrees.

An unusual winter-time heatwave occurred in August over large parts of the inland and resulted in Australia's warmest August on record, while a prolonged heatwave occurred during November across central and south-east Australia. "Based on the analysis of daily maximum and minimum temperature data...there are clear upward trends in the number of hot events and downward trends in the number of cold events over the period 1960 to date, consistent with global warming," the bureau reported, without citing a cause for global warming.

The end of 2009 also saw the end of Australia's warmest decade on record, with a decadal mean temperature anomaly of 0.48 degree above a 1961-90 average [Picking an arbitrary base-year for your averages is fun]. This meant that in Australia, each decade since the 1940s has been warmer than the preceding decade, it reported.

As for rainfall, the overall Australian mean rainfall total for 2009 was 453 millimeters, down a little from a long-term average (1961-90) of 464 mms, it reported. During July to October 2009, serious rainfall deficiencies were experienced over large areas of Queensland and isolated parts of New South Wales, consistent with the development of an El Nino event during this time.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Four women....with 26 children between them......HMMMM. And the fathers are.....?