travel news – Michmutters

Pilot reveals secret hatch on A380 where flight attendants sleep under passengers on TikTok

The next time you’re flying and notice a bump under your shoe, it might be a human.

A viral social media video has revealed a secret compartment on planes where flight attendants sleep underneath passengers.

The video, which has been viewed more than 550,000 times, was posted by the pilot of an A380, the world’s largest passenger plane.

It starts by looking down a hatch in the floor, with a set of steep heading into darkness.

After heading below, the video reveals a series of bunk beds in a large compartment that extends under passengers.

The beds are stacked two high and is where around half the crew rest for approximately three to four hours on longer flights, before swapping over with the on-duty flight attendants.

The pilot also reveals the crew rest area has an emergency exit, so flight attendants can get out of the aircraft directly from their sleeping quarters if needed.

One viewer asked if the crew wear pajamas, to which the pilot replied: “We do! They have ‘CREW’ written on the back. This is so that if there is an emergency it is easy to tell who is a crew or not.”

Another viewer asked why the airline doesn’t make the crew rest available for passengers. The pilot replied: “First and Business class have seats that fully recline into beds. They are a lot more comfortable and a lot less claustrophobic than this.”

The pilot also explained there are no toilets or showers below deck, meaning crew must climb back up and use passenger toilets when they need to go.

Another viewer comments: “mortuary”, to which the pilot replies: “Haha, hopefully not. We do have a body bag on board though – in case someone passes away during flight.”

While many found the video fascinating, one left the comment: “that looks awful.” The pilot replied, “Definitely a struggle for tall crew and a little claustrophobic, but when you’re jetlagged and exhausted a bed is a bed!”

Other aircraft types have crew rest areas in the tail of the plane, or even above passengers.

The pilot remains unnamed on his account and doesn’t reveal which airline he flies for – as some crew have got in trouble for posting on their accounts.

See also: How (and where) crew get their sleep on long flights

See also: No menus, no Michelin stars: The restaurant Qantas pilots flock to



Vegan Air Canada passenger served “meal” of water bottle and a napkin

A travel blogger has documented on social media her disappointment at the vegan meal options, or rather lack of any, on a recent Air Canada flight.

Miriam Porter, who goes by the name @TheKindTraveler on TikTok, was on a 10-hour flight from Toronto, Canada to Frankfurt in Germany.

She filmed the “meals” offered to her on the trip (language warning on video) – a bottle of water, and, well that’s about it.

“POV: You are on an Air Canada flight for over 10 hours and order vegan meals,” the video begins. Her first “meal” from her is a bottle of water, the second shows a napkin with nothing on it.

There have been more than 1.2 million views of her disappointment.

Porter did add that a flight attendant cobbled together some food from the pointy end of the plane: “Shout out to the kind flight attendant that got me fruit & dinner rolls from business class.”

She said she had ordered the meals well in advance and that it wasn’t the first time this has occurred.

“This has actually happened many times before. I always bring my own food in case but I was on a 24-hour delay and couldn’t make food to bring.”

More than 1000 comments are on the video with many sympathizing with the situation.

“Oh I flew business class for 14 hrs and they forgot to serve me breakfast and they had the worst flight attendant in business,” was one comment.

“15.5 hour flight and they kept running out of the vegetarian meal options in the first half of the plane,” added another.

One asked if the water was any good: “Quite tasty,” added Porter.

Air Canada has been approached for comment.



Tourist charged $865 for a 10-minute pedicab ride in London

A tourist in London has found out the hard way that some unscrupulous pedicab, or rickshaw, drivers are operating in the UK capital.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was charged a massive £500 ($A865) for a 10-minute ride last month.

The victim said he hailed down the rickshaw from Mayfair for a trip to nearby Soho.

He admitted that he had a few drinks inside him and said the driver distracted him as he put in his card details.

“I’d had a few drinks, and I should have realized but I blindly put my card in the machine,” he told The Local Democracy Reporting Service. “He was good at what he did.”

The man said more needed to be done to license pedicab drivers as currently they set their own prices.

“They obviously need to be regulated like taxis and they need to be licensed. At the end of the day, these guys could be anyone.”

New laws are due to be introduced to crack down on what the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called “the Wild West of pedicabs or rickshaws.”

Westminster Council leader Adam Hug said unlicensed pedicabs “are a dangerous nuisance across the West End”.

“We’ve had enough of drivers blocking pavements, annoying residents and businesses late at night, and charging extortionate fares to visitors.”

It is not the first time that unlucky tourists have been forced to make huge payments to operators.

Two years ago, a 28-minute Uber trip across Coventry in the UK cost £606 ($A1048).

In 2018 in Paris, France, two unsuspecting tourists from Thailand were picked up by an unscrupulous taxi driver and charged an exorbitant fare.

They uploaded a video to YouTube showing their stand-off with a driver who charged them €247 ($A360) for the 45km journey from Charles de Gaulle airport into the city. The trip would normally cost €55. That driver was sentenced to eight months in prison.

See also: Don’t fall for this increasingly common rip-off overseas

See also: Ten things you need to know before your first trip overseas



Qantas customer’s $10k POLi payment gets ‘lost in a void’

A couple who used a popular online payment service to pay for more than $10,000 worth of Qantas flights are warning others of the risks after their money ended up “lost in a void”, with no flights to show for it.

On July 10, Giacomo and Nikki Lichtner booked flights to the UK for Nikki and their two children through the Qantas website. Giacomo had booked his flights separately, as he was traveling for work.

The Wellington-based couple made the $NZ10,894 ($A9853) payment using POLi – a service which enables customers to transfer money directly from their bank account to the merchant.

While the money left their bank account, the flights were not issued. The couple contacted their bank, which advised the transfer would likely go through the next working day. But as they had used a third party – POLi – the bank was unable to use its usual tracking process.

In the meantime, the couple contacted Qantas, which said it would hold the flights.

When the Lichtners contacted POLi through an online form, they received a response confirming there had been an error with the payment, and the status of the transaction was “receipt unverified”.

POLi sent through a screenshot, and advised the couple to share it with Qantas so the airline could confirm receipt of the payment, and either process the transaction or provide a refund.

On July 14, the couple again phoned Qantas, and were this time told their flights would be cancelled, with a refund to be issued within 14 working days.

Assuming a refund was on the way, the couple went ahead and booked new flights, this time through a travel agent, at a cost of $NZ9871.

However, in a subsequent call, Qantas told the couple they had no record of a refund being actioned, and they would need to contact POLi.

But POLi insisted Qantas had the money, and said they had no involvement in the refund process.

Nikki Lichtner said they were left feeling “frustratingly helpless”, and couldn’t understand how their money could just be “lost in a void”.

Following inquiries from Stuff Travel, a Qantas spokesperson said the refund had been approved and the funds had been expedited to be returned to the Lichtners.

“We are looking into what’s happened with these payments and will work with POLi to avoid this happening again.”

But the couple believed others should be aware of the risks when using POLi to book flights.

“If an error occurs during the transaction, both parties can point the finger at each other, leaving the responsibility for finding the money with the customer,” Nikki Lichtner said.

Giacomo Lichtner added it had been next to impossible to get answers, with Qantas being particularly difficult to engage with.

“The thing that really left us stranded was the lack of acknowledgment and any responsibility.”

Other Qantas customers have reported issues with receiving refunds from the airline after paying using the POLi system.

Nelson couple Simon Rutherford and Lisa Keenan waited more than 12 weeks for a refund after the airline canceled their flights. The couple was told POLi was holding their payment, however, POLi denied this.

The couple were eventually refunded after the New Zealand sales manager for Qantas stepped in following the publication of Stuff Travel’s story.

POLi has yet to respond to requests for comment.

What is POLi?

POLi offers a way of making online payments that uses your internet banking information, instead of a credit or debit card.

The Australian company is owned by a fully-owned subsidiary of Australia Post.

Using POLi’s portal, a customer logs in to their internet banking. It is free, with no further registration needed.

However, most banks advise against customers sharing passwords and login details with any third party, and doing so may breach their terms and conditions.

Banking Ombudsman Scheme policy & systemic issues manager Erica Penney said POLi did not fall within their jurisdiction, as they only looked into the actions of the banks.

However, if funds went missing during a payment – ​​whether it be a credit card payment, an internet banking payment, or a payment initiated by a third party like POLi – their expectation would be that the bank would assist the customer to try to trace and recover the funds to the extent they were able.

“At the end of the day if there is a dispute between the person who sent the funds and the agency that received them, the resolution of that issue falls outside of the banking relationship, and the customer might want to seek some legal advice about what Options are available to them if a merchant they have paid funds to denies receiving their funds, or hasn’t provided the service they’ve paid for,” Penney said.

“The more parties you have involved, the murkier the waters get. If a third party like POLi and the merchant are pointing the finger at each other, that can be really confusing for consumers.”

See also: Right now, Australia hates Qantas. But it won’t last

See also: Couple ‘seething’ after Qantas cancels flight, rebooks baby on separate flight



Boeing 737 MAX arrives in Australia

The first aircraft for Australia’s new domestic airline, Bonza, has arrived at its new home on the Sunshine Coast.

The Boeing 737 MAX, designated flight AB001, took off from Boeing’s facility in Seattle on Friday, making stops in Hawaii and Fiji for refueling before landing at the Sunshine Coast.

Bonza is hoping to launch flights from September, pending regulatory approval, and plans to initially fly to 17 destinations on 27 routes. Twenty five of these routes are not currently serviced by other airlines, according to Bonza.

It is the first new airline to launch in Australia since the now-defunct Tigerair in 2007, which shut down due to the pandemic.

“This is an exciting time for Australian aviation and most importantly, the Aussie traveling public who will now enjoy more choice,” said Bonza’s chief executive Tim Jordan.

Jordan has previously said that the low-cost carrier’s fares will be about half the price of those offered by full-service airlines and similar to those of Jetstar.

Along with the Sunshine Coast, expected destinations include Albury, Bundaberg, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Gladstone, Mackay, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Toowoomba Wellcamp, Townsville and the Whitsunday Coast.

Bonza will fly into Melbourne Airport but not to Sydney, with Jordan citing better commercial terms and landing slots on offer at other facilities.

The new Bonza plane’s interiors will be completed in Australia. The single-class cabin will have 186 seats with different seating options, according to the airline.

“It seems only right that we bring home our first aircraft to have its final touches put on by Australians locally,” Jordan said.

Bonza has already broken some Australian aviation conventions, even before it launches.

The airline will only sell fares through its own app – bookings won’t be available through third-party websites. It will also have Australia’s first non-gender specific uniform rules for its cabin crew, allowing staff to mix and match a variety of clothing options.

Bonza’s plane is the first Boeing 737 MAX to be based in Australia and will be part of a fleet of new aircraft. The airline expects a second MAX aircraft to arrive later this month and another in September, with a total of eight to be delivered in its first year of operation.

The 737 MAX, which first entered service in 2017, was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after a faulty flight stabilization system saw two of the jets involved in fatal crashes, killing more than 300 people.

America’s Federal Aviation Administration cleared the plane to resume service in November 2020 after changes were made.

Virgin Australia also has four 737 MAX plans on order, reduced from an original order of 23.

The 737 MAX offers a 15 per cent fuel saving on previous versions of the 737.

The arrival of the 737 MAX comes one day after Jetstar took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo, the arch rival of the MAX, with similar size, range and fuel efficiency.

See also: Bigger seats, longer range: Jetstar’s new Airbus touches down

See also: Superjumbo comeback: The airlines still flying A380s to Australia



Faster checks at Terminal 3 as new scanners go into operation

Travelers passing through Sydney Airport have been beset by long queues for security in recent months, on occasion stretching out of the terminal and down the footpaths.

But some passengers, at least, will now enjoy quicker checks after the airport finally rolled out new baggage scanners that no longer require travelers to remove their laptops or aerosols when passing through security.

The three-dimensional CT scanning technology aims to cut waiting times by up to 50 per cent, but have only just started operating at Sydney Airport almost three years after they first went into operation at some other terminals around the country.

During the Easter holidays, when travelers experienced long waits at the airport, questions were asked as to why the new scanners, that could help alleviate the problems caused by COVID-19-related staffing shortages, had not yet been rolled out.

Now, almost four years after the Department of Home Affairs mandated the upgrades, the new scanners are operating at Terminal 3, where Qantas domestic flights depart from.

Sydney Airport did not confirm when the new scanners went into operation, but a staff member said they had been online for about a month. They will be rolled out to the other terminals but no timeline has been provided.

Despite a large queue on Thursday evening, passengers moved quickly through security with wait times just 10 minutes.

But the problems travelers face are not over yet. On Monday morning lines again stretched outside Terminal 2 and down the footpath, with the airport citing heavy fog and a “technical issue” with security for the delays. Airlines continue to recommend domestic passengers arrive 90 minutes before their flights.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Airport confirmed the new scanners were now operating at Terminal 2 for international flights, while Virgin Australia passengers, who currently go through screening at Terminal 3, would soon be moved to an expanded Terminal 4 security check, which has had the new scanners operating since late 2019.

See also: Right now, Australia hates Qantas. But it won’t last

See also: Ten key tips for surviving the current travel chaos



Airlines, airports and others seek thousands of staff amid shortages

Ashley Hodak’s new career is about to take off.

The 27-year-old former childcare and administration worker just finished her five-and-a-half-week flight attendant training program with Virgin Australia. Next week she will join a fellow cabin crew for her first flight from Sydney, destination Hamilton Island.

“I’m so excited!” she said.

“I’ve experienced the nine-to-five Monday-to-Friday routine, but I wanted a different lifestyle, and I’ve always had a passion to be a flight attendant. Now I absolutely love it, and how the days will be all so different. It’s so cool to get paid to travel and become a part of people’s holidays.”

If you’ve ever dreamt of a career in the travel industry, there’s never been a better time to join, with thousands of jobs now on offer in Australia – and often at better-than-usual pay rates.

Those roles range from flight attendants to pilots, baggage handlers to airport café workers, travel IT specialists to agents, accountants to flight check-in staff, and everything in between.

“It’s an absolutely wonderful time to be thinking about joining the travel industry, with all sorts of jobs on offer, from entry level staff to pilots,” said Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond.

“The industry has essentially lost a whole generation of workers from people leaving during the pandemic, and it’s now offering more money because it needs to fill these vacancies from a recovery perspective.”

Virgin Australia, like many of the world’s major airlines, is now recruiting for hundreds of roles within cabin crew, baggage handling, guest services and corporate, with perks including heavily discounted air travel and annual travel credits.

“We strive to create a workplace culture which emphasizes an authentic, fun loving, hardworking and irreverent challenger nature,” a Virgin spokesperson said.

Qantas and Jetstar have just recruited more than 1000 people into operational roles, and are still seeking many more, especially with international flights restarting, new aircraft on order and additional routes being planned.

“Restarting an airline after a two-year grounding is complex, and aviation labor markets, as with many others, are extremely tight,” said Qantas domestic and international chief executive Andrew David.

New Australian budget airline Bonza – set to launch in September – is also recruiting for its Sunshine Coast and Melbourne bases, with assessment centers running in parallel with crew training schools.

“We have around 100 cabin crew and 50 pilot roles being filled in a two-month period,” said Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan.

“We’re also hiring a number of other legends [staff] to join our team including crew controllers, operations controllers, and flight dispatchers on the Sunshine Coast, as well as specialist roles such as in e-commerce, marketing, operations, and finance.”

Middle East carrier Emirates is also on the lookout for prospective Australian candidates to join its cabin crew, with a series of recruitment open days around the country.

Emirates’ divisional vice president for Australasia Barry Brown said “as the travel demand continues to increase and we ramp up our operations locally and globally, naturally we need to continue building our cabin crew team in the sky.

“Australians are well represented in our global workforce, and with significant interest in our previous open days in Australia, we have great optimism that this next wave of recruitment will welcome more Australian talent to our workforce.”

Qatar Airways has similarly been advertising globally for new staff, looking for all categories of cabin crew, lounge staff, call center workers, ground operations and catering staff, especially in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup in Doha later this year.

Singapore Airlines is also recruiting operational and commercial staff, with particular emphasis on ground handlers, catering and ground operations; it recruits cabin staff from Asia.

The main airports at Sydney and Melbourne have also been running jobs fairs to attract applicants to the hundreds of vacancies both still have, alongside their ground handling companies recruiting baggage handlers.

“Now that the uncertainty caused by lockdowns and border closures has ended, we hope that more people will consider a career with the airport or the airlines,” said a Melbourne Airport spokesperson.

“As one of the largest employment hubs in Victoria, there are hundreds of roles that need filling.”

Sydney Airport has similarly been advertising more than 5,000 jobs in retail, government agencies and terminal service providers, after having lost 15,000 jobs during the pandemic. Its jobs fair on June 16 had 4600 applications for jobs, with people lining up at the airport from 6am for the 10am start.

The average salaries in the travel industry

Pilot: $104,461 per year or $53.57 per hour plus allowances (depending on the size of the aircraft being flown, and the years of experience)

Flight attendant: $66,670 or $32.00 per hour

Baggage handler: $61,000 or $29.33 per hour

Airport cafe worker: $55,000 or $26.44 per hour

Airport payroll officer: $71,384 or $34.31 per hour

Airport engineer: $90,000 or $43.27 per hour

Security supervisor: $71,469 or $34.36 per hour

Airport receptionist: $60,000 or $28.85 per hour

Air traffic controller: $109,661 or $52.72 per hour

Source: Fair Work Ombudsman,, and



First A321neo LR delivered, promising larger seats, longer range

Bigger seats, larger overhead bins and a quieter cabin are what passengers can look forward to when flying on Jetstar’s newest plane, the Airbus A320neo.

Eleven years after ordering the plane, Jetstar’s first A320neo touched down on Sunday at Melbourne Airport, after making its way from Hamburg, Germany, via Mumbai and Perth.

The jet, an A321neo LR (long range) variation of the A320neo, arrived to a crowd of Jetstar employees and their families with INXS’s New Sensation blasting throughout the hangar.

The jet’s engines are 15 per cent more fuel efficient than Jetstar’s current A320 fleet, and it is 50 per cent quieter and can fly up to 1200 kilometers further.

Fuel efficiency is a key selling point for Airbus (“neo” stands for “new engine option”), as airlines look to reduce emissions and fuel costs amid soaring oil prices.

“Even if the price of oil hadn’t changed, it’s essential,” said Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans. “The biggest challenge for the industry as a whole over the next decade and the decades beyond is sustainability.

“We’ve recognized that, as the Qantas Group, with some of the most ambitious targets out there – 25 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050. The neo is part of that journey along with sustainable aviation fuels.”

Evans said Jetstar had made other changes to the neo to reduce weight and fuel costs. There are lightweight galley carts and freight containers, and even the plane’s paint has been developed to lighten the load. The new paint cuts weight by 50 kilograms and, combined with other changes, removes 170 kilograms from every flight.

“This translates to a saving of 1.2 million kilograms of fuel annually, a reduction of almost 4000 tonnes of emissions,” Evans said.

He said Jetstar was operating roughly the same number of flights as before COVID, amid soaring passenger demand.

“We’re trying to manage supply, demand and obviously the impact of the fuel bill, so we have taken some capacity out,” he said. Reducing the number of seats available increases the loads on other flights, making them more cost-effective.

The A321neo LR is the widest single-aisle plane on the market, with Jetstar’s 232 economy seats on board offering seat pitch (leg room) of 74 centimeters, and 45.7 centimeters of width. That’s the same leg room as on other Jetstar domestic aircraft, but a marginally wider space.

Passengers will also have 40 per cent more space in the overhead bins, device-holders built into seats and a streaming entertainment service.

Unlike the airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners, there will be no business class.

“Primarily, these planes will be flying domestically,” Evans said. “This is an aircraft that is going to be able to move between the two networks [international and domestic]but at the same time we’ve made sure we’ve got good seat pitch and elements that improve customer comfort.”

The aircraft will first be deployed on the Melbourne-Cairns route in early September, before rolling out to other domestic routes and some international destinations including Bali.

Jetstar has ordered 38 of the A321neos. The first 18 are to arrive in the next two years, followed by 20 longer-range versions by 2029. Airbus has received 8,100 orders from more than 130 customers worldwide for the plane. About half the A321neo fleet will be based in Melbourne, Evans said.

See also: World’s largest twin-engine jet makes incredibly steep take-off

See also: Superjumbo comeback: The airlines still flying A380s to Australia