Should Australian airlines acknowledge members of our armed forces?

Should Australian airlines acknowledge members of our armed forces?

TALKING POINT | "Thank you for your service”. Anybody who has flown on US domestic airlines will be familiar with this refrain, made in acknowledgement of veterans before a flight and usually accompanied by priority boarding.

Moves to introduce a similar salute on Australian airlines are gathering momentum, with Virgin Australia joining a Federal Government campaign to recognise defence force members and Qantas facing predictable pressure to follow suit.

The government scheme would see members of Australia's armed forces receive a discount card and lapel pin so that participating businesses can offer discounts or benefits to veterans (putting aside that in Australia we traditionally use the term veterans to describe retired members of the armed services).

"We acknowledge the important contribution veterans have made to keeping our country safe and the role they play in our community," said Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti in launching Virgin's initiative over the weekend.

"Once the veterans have their cards and lapel pins, they will simply need to present them during the boarding process to be given priority boarding and be recognised on board."

Defence Industry Minister Steve Ciobo said it "would be terrific" if Qantas matched Virgin's pledge, although Veterans Affairs minister Darren Chester allowed that "Australians, by nature, tend to keep their light under a bushel. Some would be happy to get on the plane without anyone knowing they are there."

A spokesperson for Qantas said the airline had the "utmost respect for current and former defence force personnel” and special announcements were made on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day."

"[But] we’re conscious that we carry a lot of exceptional people every day, including veterans, police, paramedics, nurses, firefighters and others, and so we find it difficult to single out a particular group as part of the boarding process [with the exception of passengers with special needs]."

However, this afternoon Virgin Australia issued a statement in response to public backlash which indicated the airline was reconsidering its decision.

"We are very mindful of the response that our announcement about recognising people who have served in defence has had today. It was a gesture genuinely done to pay respects to those who have served our country," the airline said.

"Over the coming months, we will consult with community groups and our own team members who have served in defence to determine the best way forward. If this process determines that public acknowledgement of their service through optional priority boarding or any announcement is not appropriate, then we will certainly be respectful of that."

Should Australian airlines adopt this US-style plan to recognise and honour servicemen and servicewomen on every flight? Vote in our online poll and have your say in the Comments section below.

 

Readers are reminded to keep their comments on topic, to add value to the conversation and to be respectful of others, even if you disagree with their opinion.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

63 comments

  • LatteLaptopLoon

    LatteLaptopLoon

    5 Nov, 2018 03:34 pm

    Veterans/Defence personnel are humble enough not wanting this kind of attention everytime they get on a plane.
    Members who gave thanks

    nclfrk799, Pegasus, ADL_Traveller

  • h15t0r1an

    h15t0r1an

    8 Nov, 2018 02:00 am

    Plus it could become a security risk. the initial comment made was correct. Ambulance drivers, fire fighters, etc.... where does it all end?
    No member give thanks

  • Daniel Barreca

    DanielB

    8 Nov, 2018 12:27 pm

    I don't know why people are vehemently against this. Surely it is a GOOD THING to give honour to our veterans that fight away from home and put their lives on the line. Why? So that we can write and post articles like this without redress (called freedom of speech) . I don't see a problem with it. So when the airlines make the announcement for boarding, allow the veterans the right to say no. Give them the choice to be humble and not take that privilege away from them. Yes we need to do other things for them in practical ways like jobs, medical care etc. But this is another good thing added to the bunch of good things we can do. I wonder if the issues people raise against is more reflective about them than the issue itself....now watch the knives come out...
    No member give thanks

  • Alex

    tm_smile

    5 Nov, 2018 03:48 pm

    This type of behaviour is no becoming of Australians. It is not representative of the egalitarian society to single out a particular group of people in our community. We show a deep amount of respect on remembrance day and ANZAC Day, which would really be better backed up with money and initiatives to be provided to support our defence force personnel rather than the lip service and frankly cringe worthy display of fawning that isn't a part of Australian culture.
    Members who gave thanks

    Pegasus, tracyd

  • Daniel Barreca

    DanielB

    8 Nov, 2018 06:09 am

    tm_ smile - we must also remember that it because of people like this we can have an egalitarian society as you say. People who put their lives on the line for our freedom should be acknowledged. Why not? I know they don't do what they do for this type of accolade but let's respect them yes with practical help but also things like this help as well. They do it in the USA and like it. there is no embarrassment, it is just something they do and everyone runs with it. But let me also add this "Are we as egalitarian as you say?" We like to talk egalitarian but why do we have 1st or business class or lounges for people like that? That s not egalitarian. But they earnt the privilege....and so do our soldiers...
    No member give thanks

  • Flying High

    Flying High

    5 Nov, 2018 03:49 pm

    If vets are acknowledged, should we not do the same for cops/ambos/firies/nurses/etc?

    And before you know it half the population will getting a mention. Meanwhile, all the passengers on the plane just want to get to their destination as quickly and as safely as possible.
    Member who gave thanks

    Pegasus

  • Alex_upgrade

    alex_upgrade77

    6 Nov, 2018 05:34 pm

    Totally agree. I'm a cancer survivor. Should the amazing doctors and nurses who saved my life and countless others also get recognised? What about my accountant who saved me thousands in tax this last year? Everyone has something to offer and this move by VA reeks of opportunistic PR and nothing more.
    No member give thanks

  • Daniel Barreca

    DanielB

    9 Nov, 2018 06:08 am

    Hi Alex...I don't want to downplay your cancer situation but this is just the normal course of life that people face. In one shape or form we will have some kind of health issue...and those you mention like doctors etc are part of society. I see the bigger picture as this....people who serve in the armed forces give up something like potentially their lives, to fight on our behalf against foreign invasion. If they (and others) did not exist then our way of life and freedom that we have is highly threatened. In other words the fire fighters, accountants, doctors and anyone else you want to throw in there could not do their jobs properly...and you and I would not be able to have this type of conversation. Why? I know this as I have lived in some of these countries over the years and see the conditions these type of people and the ordinary people lived under...me...I'm all for it.
    No member give thanks

  • Kerry  Ward

    brisflyer

    5 Nov, 2018 03:50 pm

    I think most veterans and defence force personnel would not want the attention. Why not acknowledge their service by Qantas and Virgin giving them access to a business class lounge or upgrading them if upgrades available. It gives the recognition but in a more private and respectful way.
    Members who gave thanks

    Albinoni1967, apostilb

  • Phil Young

    Phil Young

    5 Nov, 2018 04:04 pm

    Why not? Because many of the airline Lounges are already very full. And you want them to be even busier!
    No member give thanks

  • humanuscomotose

    humanuscomotose

    5 Nov, 2018 03:56 pm

    Very well articulated brisflyer. I totally agree. Make the recognition something tangible and of benefit.
    No member give thanks

  • Phil Young

    Phil Young

    5 Nov, 2018 04:08 pm

    Then the airlines would also need to give equal recognition to current and past Police, Fire & Ambulance workers, SES volunteers, and others who risk their lives in the service of the community. The airline Lounges aren't that busy, eh? Consider the consequences.
    No member give thanks

  • Aleks Popovic

    SYDINI

    6 Nov, 2018 01:07 am

    Vets are at federal level and would apply across the country, the rest is at state level though.
    No member give thanks

  • AJW

    AJW

    7 Nov, 2018 05:40 am

    Why does state or federal make any difference?
    Member who gave thanks

    Frank

  • BJ01

    BJ01

    5 Nov, 2018 04:05 pm

    I've always kind of admired the way American airlines do this but I didn't think it would work in Australia - we are cut from a different cloth.
    I feel a bit sorry for VA and the backlash - I honestly think their intentions were honourable but they may have misjudged the Australian psyche...
    No member give thanks

  • Dan

    Dan22

    5 Nov, 2018 04:32 pm

    What’s new! You can’t do anything these days without people spreading their opposition and negativity through online platforms.
    No member give thanks

  • Agfox

    Agfox

    5 Nov, 2018 04:14 pm

    The Government should be putting more resources into the welfare of ex-service personnel rather than supporting this type of fluff. I suspect many Australians will consider this yet another example of 'creeping Americanism'. What's next, the National Anthem & hands on hearts before each major sporting event?
    No member give thanks

  • Albinoni1967

    Albinoni1967

    6 Nov, 2018 02:42 am

    Well said
    No member give thanks

  • tom merrett

    thomasindo

    8 Nov, 2018 11:37 am

    Agreed. The jarring thing in the states is you have these empty acknowledgements at every opportunity whilst the cities are full of veterans living on the streets and no one seems to care less....
    No member give thanks

  • RK

    Ryan K

    5 Nov, 2018 04:16 pm

    This move by Virgin Australia is nothing more than jingoistic, nationalistic nonsense. This is Australia, not America. I really hope VA do a back flip on this.
    Member who gave thanks

    Eli

  • Eli

    Eli

    5 Nov, 2018 06:04 pm

    Well this has backfired big time on VA. Nice, I agree with you, I live in the USA and have to endure listening to this nonsense before every flight. Happy to see 73% said a slap in the face NO to VA.
    No member give thanks

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    6 Nov, 2018 11:33 am

    Jingoism is typically defined as extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy. How, pray tell, is merely thanking servicemembers for their service "extreme patriotism" and how does it have any connection whatsoever to aggressive, warlike foreign policy? It is a completely apolitical thing to say. "Thank you for your service" =/= "I entirely approve of those unnecessary and aggressive wars the politicians are throwing you and your friends into."

    And of course you bring up the looming spectre of America, but bipartisan majorities of Americans are actually against jingoistic foreign policies. Yet they still believe in thanking servicemembers as a civic norm. Such gratitude, therefore, should be understood not as an outgrowth of jingoism, but as something that exists in spite of whatever foreign policy dementia is being excreted from DC.
    Member who gave thanks

    h15t0r1an

  • h15t0r1an

    h15t0r1an

    8 Nov, 2018 02:03 am

    "How, pray tell, is merely thanking servicemembers for their service "extreme patriotism" ... It's politically correct marketing drivel. And on reflection, I suppose a Virgin company is more likely to be susceptible to that.
    No member give thanks

  • StuParr

    StuParr

    5 Nov, 2018 04:20 pm

    I would be embarrassed if that happened to me. My belief is that we went into it as a job that we were honoured to have and did our best for our colleagues and the nation. What makes us any more important than others who serve the community? This isn't who we are as a nation.

    I feel that the real money and effort should be put into support networks, better mental health programs and continued access to medical support for those who were physically injured, rather than, quite frankly, empty pats on the shoulder and thanks. Such attention doesn't make those who continue to wear the physical and mental scars feel any better, in fact it could make them feel worse.

    So, no, Airlines should never do that. If they want to help, they should give the charities funds that provide the support that is required above.
    Member who gave thanks

    ADL_Traveller

  • samueljones561

    samueljones561

    5 Nov, 2018 04:37 pm

    Go to any domestic flight and it’s clear already that Qantas cannot organise priority boarding for the current PAX who are meant to. If priority boarding actually worked as advertised then by all means do it. Until they can figure that out though there is no point.
    Member who gave thanks

    Christo6

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    5 Nov, 2018 04:40 pm

    Gees this is so left of field for VA, I really wonder who thought of this idea maybe a new CEO from America?
    No member give thanks

  • mitchimus

    mitchimus

    5 Nov, 2018 07:51 pm

    Sadly it was probably listening to Scomo who started this conversation to try and give the govt. 'a win' and a 'feelgood' story. Sadly his tin ear missed the spot again.
    Members who gave thanks

    Supertech, thomasindo

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    5 Nov, 2018 04:51 pm

    My experience in the US is the terminal makes general announcements about veterans but on the boarding calls I have heard; it it current personnel on duty i.e. going to or from work, which is more part of an enterprise agreement. That has been my experience on AA
    No member give thanks

  • delly

    delly

    5 Nov, 2018 04:53 pm

    We don’t need or want acknowledgement, and many, like myself, aren’t allowed it due to security reasons. I have only flown once in uniform with 2 other men. We received special acknowledgment from the crew, and we were given a Qantas lapel pin.

    This is a nice gesture from Virgin, but the issue at large is the fact the government has passed the buck to the corporate world to avoid financial and moral responsibly in areas of concern such as PTSD, drug trials etc...

    The backlash is towards the government but corporates such as Virgin have been caught in the crossfire as it appears they are kissing arse to a certain group for their own acknowledgment.

    Member who gave thanks

    thomasindo

  • Anna80

    Anna80

    5 Nov, 2018 05:41 pm

    My father is a veteran, formerly with the Army, and he tells me he appreciates the gesture but doesn't want to be singled out for special recognition, and certainly doesn't want to have priority boarding and be seen to be "pushing in" ahead of his fellow travellers. I think this attitude would be common to most servicemen.
    No member give thanks

  • readosunnycoast

    readosunnycoast

    5 Nov, 2018 07:01 pm

    I am SO disappointed at the results of the poll. I travel to the US quite frequently and am impressed by that "favour" done over there. The military are "loathed" by the left here until the invasion is imminent. At that point they will complain at the lack of preparedness , caused, naturally, by the other mob.
    No member give thanks

  • James O'Mahony

    Ourmanin

    5 Nov, 2018 09:02 pm

    Readosunnycoast “until the invasion is imminent”????????? I’ve got to ask. Who is going to invade Australia? Really? New Zealand? Fiji? If there’s one problem we don’t have to face in Australia it’s imminent invasion.
    No member give thanks

  • Albinoni1967

    Albinoni1967

    6 Nov, 2018 02:55 am

    Ohhh please give me a break, first off whose going to attack Australia, China, North Korea, Afghanistan, perhaps our neighbour Indonesia. Look let's face it, if China wants to take over this country, they will do it with ease. First off their military personnel is way more powerful than ours, their weaponry is far more advanced than ours including their jet fighter's, if Indonesia wanted to take over this country they would of done it years ago. Ohh and aren't Russian Migs more agile than the American jet fighters
    No member give thanks

  • Marcus

    desafinado74

    5 Nov, 2018 07:59 pm

    Nothing more than virtue signalling from Virgin, Newscorpse and trying too hard to be cool Scomo. If not for Virgin's partnership with SQ, i would not have bothered with Virgin and Velocity. Also, better to give veterans heavy flight discounts, and lifetime platinum/gold status than empty, jingoistic gestures.
    No member give thanks

  • Dredgy

    Dredgy

    5 Nov, 2018 09:22 pm

    There's a multitude of reasons I don't like this, or want this to happen. Full disclosure - I'm from a military family though have never served myself.

    In no particular order.
    • Anything that makes plane travel more like the US is not welcome. Qantas tried to serve me just one glass of coke the other day instead of a full can. Not having it!
    • No one should ever be told or forced to participate in respecting someone they don't. Or if you do respect someone, you should be able to express that personally, not be forced to acknowledge. I just spent 3 weeks in North Korea, and I got tired of having to listen to "thanks to Kim Il-Sung..." everywhere I went. Same deal when travelling the US when even at theme parks you stand up to thank the troops or whatever.
    • Nationalism is not in Australia's culture. We aren't America. While it goes without saying we love our country and I'm sure everybody here respects our troops, most Australians don't blindly respect things such as a flag. Our patriotism is much more restrained and we don't like to shout about it. I do not think anybody here really wants to become like America in other regards either (suggest tipping in restaurants or taking shoes off at security! :p)
    • Our vets are awesome and humble. They are deserving of benefits for the job they did/do. By all means give them priority boarding, discounts, whatever they deserve it. But they should be between the company and the individual, not everyone else who's strapped into a seat.
    • Safety announcement, captain giving their spiel after takeoff - airlines should be actively trying to cut down on the number of word said on board so people can get to their destination in peace!
    I'm sure some of this contradicts itself, and I don't actually feel that strongly about this, but find it interesting and it would possibly affect which airline I choose to fly. Feel bad for VA, they couldn't really have predicted it would backfire so spectacularly.
    No member give thanks

  • Timothy Hallifax

    Tim H

    7 Nov, 2018 08:49 pm

    Actually I think they could have seen it being out of step
    No member give thanks

  • willygee

    willygee

    5 Nov, 2018 09:38 pm

    Veterans should be recognised for their service. However I don't believe singling out veterans for acknowledgement before flights is the correct way of doing this.

    My problem with singling out one group over another for frequent public acknowledgement is, where do you stop?

    Without meaning to take anything away from the sacrifices veterans make to protect Australia, it could be argued that people who are members (both paid and volunteer) of the nations emergency services also make huge contributions to the country and the public, People in charge of keeping the nations infrastructure (electricity, water, communications, gas, transport etc) networks running are important to the nation too - are these folk to be acknowledged also?

    Does the acknowledgement also extend to all public transport trips, and taxi/uber journeys? Why only specifically flights?

    I would imagine, as others here have suggested, real support for veterans, provided by government, would be more useful than corporations issuing public acknowledgements.
    No member give thanks

  • Andrew

    andyf

    5 Nov, 2018 10:00 pm

    I'm not a fan of this either ... however if VA wanted to do it without making a fuss they could just add veterans in with the Platinum/Gold members priority boarding. I'm not advocating that, just saying that it gives a 'perk' without singling them out. Surely they could also grant booking discounts - don't they already have that for other groups of people?
    No member give thanks

  • ExLibris76

    ExLibris76

    5 Nov, 2018 10:20 pm

    On a cultural level, it's fascinating how/why this is done in the U.S. Having seen it, it does seem to work for them. But this particular form of 'Americanism' just won't fly in Australia (no pun intended) because it's just too....American.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong or lacking about our low-key/discrete acknowledgement of military service in Australia; it's confined to special days of the year, but it's real and widespread throughout the community. To have it trotted out every single day before every single flight would cheapen the significance of service. Not to mention being cringe worthy for both civilians and vets alike. Let the public be at the forefront, not corporations. Remember how Woolworths got whacked for it's ANZAC "Fresh....in our memory" campaign?

    No member give thanks

  • AJW

    AJW

    8 Nov, 2018 06:24 pm

    Americans just love to hero worship not just service people but everyone. I saw a clip on Facebook the other day where a female bus drive noticed a lost kid and stopped to help. Great thing for her to do but the fawning and the hero worshipping comments were sickening to this Aussie.
    No member give thanks

  • charlie18

    charlie18

    6 Nov, 2018 12:40 am

    From an ex crew perspective, I think that Qantas' statement nailed it on the head AND I agree with others here who say its far too 'american', and that ultimately, we are losing far more ADF personnel to suicide than we are in combat - so more money on support services and less on lawyers trying to prove some poor bugger doesn't have TPD.
    As someone else alluded to, they should be making safety critical announcements only - for both safety and comfort.

    This is not Virgin's first foray into making politically motivated announcements on board. I was working there as crew when they introduced the 'welcome to country' pa's. They were an unmitigated disaster (albeit with noble intention, as I believe is the case here). They copped flak from people who wanted peace, from aboriginal folk who were upset their name was being mis-pronounced, from people who opposed it on principal, and from people who would otherwise support it, but saw it as commercialisation of a sensitive issue.

    They should know better - from experience alone, if not from having a vast (and expensive) corporate image/marketing department.
    No member give thanks

  • Albinoni1967

    Albinoni1967

    6 Nov, 2018 02:37 am

    Really, no disrespect here, I take my hat off to our war veterans but this is just far fetched, Christ Jesus this country is becoming a real suck hole to the American's, whatever they do we must copy. Did any politicians like offer them free access to say a VIP lounge, or say even a free flight a year etc. To be honest I don't think most veterans would want this. So do others in our armed forces eg police get a welcome and goodbye salute as well.
    No member give thanks

  • Flying Fish

    AWA2602

    6 Nov, 2018 03:49 am

    Absolutely not! Where will it end? What about Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, etc, etc, etc? I don't see why we have to continuously become more and more Americanised. Unsurprising that this push is being driven by Murdoch media.

    I have huge respect and appreciation for all current and ex-armed forces personnel, but rather than these hollow announcements and having them embarrassingly singled out, it would be better for QF and VA to do something meaningful that would be appreciated. Something as simple as giving them priority boarding status on their boarding passes so that they can board along with all other Group 1 pax; or giving them a complimentary pass to the lounge; or an upgrade; or waiving an excess baggage or seat selection fee; or making a financial contribution to organisations that support returned and active armed forces service personnel. Actions speak louder than words.
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  • jenko13

    jenko13

    6 Nov, 2018 09:25 am

    I thought is was a nice gesture from Virgin Australia, I have also seen it often in the USA and it seems to be unobtrusive. Being a retired Police Officer and ex serviceman I believe this belongs with the Services, no other job is inherently as dangerous and comes with a real risk of death, for usually a lot less pay than any of the other jobs mentioned.
    No one is forcing any person to use this offer it is a personal choice and I am somewhat disappointed at the lack of support from many who have obviously never served or are confusing this with other issues.

    No member give thanks

  • AJW

    AJW

    8 Nov, 2018 06:20 pm

    I think the stats might show that the police are at far greater risk of injury, including psychological and death on a daily basis compared to our service people.
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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    6 Nov, 2018 11:20 am

    For one thing, I'm absolutely shocked that this is considered a big deal. Why is this controversial in any way? For that matter I don't think choosing not to make such announcements should be controversial either, but why is the issue of whether or not our servicemembers should be given a special discount of perk by a private business somehow a big deal in the first place?

    For two, a lot of the statements in the comments just reek of a reflexive anti-American prejudice. "We shouldn't thank our servicemembers because that's what they do in America" - what, pray tell, is inherently wrong with the United States? Why is "American" necessarily a bad thing? Just because Americans do it doesn't constitute an argument against it. Sure, the United States isn't perfect, but that doesn't mean it never produces ideas which are worth adopting. The Genetic Fallacy is not an argument.

    Finally, one of the arguments I saw in the comments is that we shouldn't be doing this because "nationalism isn't part of Australian culture." That's a self-contradictory statement. The proposition that there is such a thing as 'Australian culture' is by definition an affirmation of nationalism. Nationalism is simply the position that there are natural political units, typically bound together by shared history/culture/geography/political & civic norms, and sometimes ethnicity, called 'nations.' The concept of a national identity or a national culture is nationalist by definition.

    Not to mention, acknowledging servicemembers is not an endorsement of any particular direction in foreign policy, so I don't think this has any genuine political valence at all. Foreign policy is decided by politicians, not servicemembers, and if you feel displeasure over certain foreign policy positions then you shouldn't take out your anger upon those who served.

    I think I know what this is really about. Its about a reflexive anti-Americanism, a disdain of anything that "feels" culturally conservative (in the "Moral Foundations Theory" sense, i.e. anything that seems to appeal to the purity/loyalty/authority instincts) even when it is apolitical in nature, and all of these feelings being aggravated by the fact that the previous US Presidential Election was won by the Giant Douche rather than by the Turd Sandwich.
    No member give thanks

  • James Zhang

    pkjames

    6 Nov, 2018 12:59 pm

    just do something real, give gold, pt status. i dont mind.
    just stop using veterans as a way of free PR. I am glad that this backfired badly.
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  • Ross

    Ross

    6 Nov, 2018 02:52 pm

    More nationalist dog whistling from a media outlet bereft of original ideas.

    NO!!!!
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  • Nick  Sydney 348

    Nick Sydney 2

    6 Nov, 2018 03:00 pm

    No. Let individual pilots make an announcement. As did Captain Richard de Crispigny when I was on QF2 back from London a few years ago. Veterans of WW1 returning from France were on board and the Captain made a very respectful announcement whilst in flight. On landing in Sydney he had arranged for the five gentlemen to be seated at the aerobridge just outside the aircraft and departing PAX had a chance to just shake their hands and say thank you. A very kind, respectful act by the Captain and QF. Something like this stays in the mind.
    Member who gave thanks

    Frank

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    6 Nov, 2018 03:54 pm

    Captain de Crispigny's gesture was indeed an exceptionally tasteful and respectful one. I do think this is a far better war way to respect our veterans than simple rote announcements.
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  • Jazzop

    Jazzop

    7 Nov, 2018 11:10 am

    I'm a veteran and every veteran I know don't want this. What they want is fair indexation of pensions and fair support from DVA. Through in some recognition for the skills, experience and behaviours learnt in service, and you're helping. If ScoMo and his right wing media friends want to honour veterans then do that.

    But, from my experience US airlines don't allow veterans to board first. They allow active duty service people to board first.
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    7 Nov, 2018 04:00 pm

    That’s correct. They must be active duty and in uniform. No special treatment for veterans.
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  • Brian Kirkham

    Supertech

    7 Nov, 2018 03:54 pm

    No! Recognition of our service personnel should be generous, willingly given, and provided by the Government on behalf of the Nation. I only served as a National Serviceman, but I have five members in my close family who are presently serving. None of them would welcome being singled out for recognition in this way.
    Most service personnel travel in civvies, but Qantas crew know who the military are, and often give them extra food and space to kip if available, much better than a few spoken words.



    No member give thanks

  • Adrian Granaghan

    tungaroa

    7 Nov, 2018 04:18 pm

    As ex-military, I'd rather more was done along the lines of mental health support services, financial assistance and reintegration into a different workplace environment that doesn't rely on a chain of command, etc.
    I, and others, don't need a specious announcement from an organisation that doesn't understand the circumstances of service or the reasons we do it. The thought is nice, but I personally appreciate firefighters, ambulance officers, police, SES, etc, as well...just not politicians :)

    Now they could stand to lose some of their travel privileges :)....
    No member give thanks

  • Edwin Taylor

    Pointsman

    7 Nov, 2018 04:31 pm

    Wow, lot of heavy reading here folks and many opinions. As a Veteran I always wear my lapel pin with pride. Should someone recognize it usually another member of the forces, usually you've made a mate!
    I am not keen on the US way, I would rather go unnoticed like most vets here in Aus, but thanks for the thought VA.
    I smiled reading Alex_upgrade's comment. Well, I'm a vet, got blown up shor at and called names and now have that dreaded cancer, Yes Alex, those nurses and docs are my real heroes too friend.
    I shall quietly board 'The Business' on 19th Dec as a gold member and everything will be perfect.
    Just my opinion.
    No member give thanks

  • R M

    Rxm

    7 Nov, 2018 04:32 pm

    Instead of veterans I think the airlines should acknowledge when a politician is flying at tax payers expense. Maybe even set up a special lounge for such people. Oh, and offer them free upgrades and priority boarding.
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  • John

    VZ1_60

    7 Nov, 2018 05:54 pm

    no disrespect to any Veterans, however this is just a Virgin "try hard" stunt aimed to get attention and polarise opinions
    No member give thanks

  • Bavarian

    Bavarian

    7 Nov, 2018 06:13 pm

    I do understand the idea of recognising the service for Australia, but there are plenty of other services, such as SES, CFS, ambos, nurses among others, that serve the country.
    Allegedly there are even politicians that claim to be serving Australia. However that might be an urban legend.
    Anyways, with that many people, priority boarding would replace general boarding and the advantage was gone.
    I'd rather like to see a "volunteer" or "Serving Australia" card where, as a recognition, those that serve the country would get like 1.5 times the points (or 10% more or whatever) on flights as a recognition. Which in fact provides them with a rebate.
    On the other side of the globe, where I sometimes reside too, there is a volunteers card, which provides those volunteering with some lower fees in parking garages, reduced entry to museums etc. A concept like this could be extended to veterans.
    Member who gave thanks

    Pointsman

  • AJW

    AJW

    7 Nov, 2018 06:39 pm

    As someone who has worked very closely with military personelle I need to ask why do they need any special treatment anywhere?

    Now I am speaking in the context of modern times they all get paid well for what they do including extra allowances and tax treatment in the rare case they are deployed. They all entered into those jobs freely and with some obvious limitations are free to leave at anytime. They are no different to anyone else and as others have pointed out many are not exposed to trauma on a daily basis like others are like doctors, nurses, ambo’s, fire fighters police and a dozen other professions.

    In the rare cases where one does get deployed and traumatised the survey what they AND their family need is proper support and care no priority boarding and salutes.

    Make no mistake this whole brain fart is about normalsing and hero worshipping the military for nothing more than political gain.
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  • peajay

    peajay

    7 Nov, 2018 06:52 pm

    IMHO Australian Veterans, particularly wounded Vets (like the Invictus participants) are not given the recognition they deserve by way of reduced fees and costs on a whole range of services, especially government services and public acknowledgment. Having said that it's also definitely NOT the Aussie way to publicly announce "thank you for your service" which sounds empty and silly and very 'Merican.
    I think the gesture of allowing Veterans (see Invictus..) to board first is absolutely a very positive gesture: "Ladies & Gentleman at this time we invite Business Class/Platinum Gold../ ADF Veterans to come forward for boarding" ...sounds good and additionally provides a great example to all Aussies of the importance of acknowledging these men and women.
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  • John Ruming

    jcr737

    7 Nov, 2018 07:58 pm

    VA...Virgin Australia or Veterans Affairs? Most veterans I know would be embarrassed being singled out in public. As others have posted, give them Gold or Platinum status or say two free flights per year. That then becomes a "Thank you for your service" acknowledgment. This would cost VA money but would be a greater PR exercise than this nonsense.
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  • Stephen Doggett

    Stephen D

    7 Nov, 2018 07:59 pm

    Nationalistic garbage, as bad as Abbot reintroducing knighthoods. There are too any deserving people in this world that could be mentioned, and whom contribute daily to this nation much more than service people will ever do so. JB, this is an idiotic decision and you deserve the flak you are receiving.
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  • Stuart Ager

    69Shania69

    8 Nov, 2018 10:02 am

    NO. As has been stated many times above, they are part of the greater community who protect us (both here and overseas) from danger and preserve our way of life. Soldiers, Ambos, Doctors, Police, Fireees, the list is endless. The whole thing has been started as a political points scoring exercise and it should be recognised for being just that. ALL of the above people and many more are the ones that we already acknowledge for doing such a wonderful job. VA move on, you are wrong on this one.
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20 May, 2019 12:52 am

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