15th Aug 2018
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Australian airports called out for neglecting older flyers
Airports failing older flyers

An Australian airport has been put to shame after 85-year-old Helen Sweetnam’s handbag was stolen during a regulation security check at Melbourne Airport.

Ms Sweetnam was asked to step aside in the security line after her pacemaker set off an alarm. While waiting for a female security officer to pat her down, her handbag, somewhat ironically, was stolen from the security conveyor belt.

In it was $630 in cash, her smartphone, wallet, credit card and medical records. Suffice to say, it was a horror start to Ms Sweetnam’s journey to Mt Gambier to see her daughter.

“I was feeling sick with shock,” she told the ABC. “I immediately said to them my bag was missing.”

Airport security were able to check CCTV and to recover the handbag – and find the woman who stole it – but not all of its contents were recovered. The woman who had the bag said she ‘took it by mistake’.

Ms Sweetnam was not happy, and has called on the airports to lift their game when dealing with elderly or disabled passengers.

“If I'm forced to put my stuff on that [conveyor belt] and then I'm moved away from it then it has to be their [Melbourne Airport’s] responsibility to take care of my stuff,” said Ms Sweetnam.

But her complaints have apparently fallen on deaf ears, and Melbourne Airport seems to have dismissed her concerns.

“I think it's bloody rude. There's been no response, and I feel that I'm just being treated like, ‘if we don't respond she'll go away’,” she said.

Council on the Ageing Victoria chief Ronda Held said complaints about the ‘undignified’ treatment of older people at Australian airports was commonplace.

“Not all people who need assistance have somebody with them to keep an eye on them,” said Ms Held.

“If you're in a wheelchair or if you're frail or if you've got a sight impairment then it's very hard to keep track of your luggage.

“It should be a basic protocol that people get to keep their luggage with them if they are going to be pulled aside for any period of time for a check.”

Have you suffered ‘undignified’ treatment at an Australian airport? Do you think it’s the airport’s responsibility to watch your belongings in the security line, especially under these types of circumstances?

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    COMMENTS

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    Rosret
    18th Aug 2018
    7:44am
    Melbourne. Have you flown Jetstar?
    Their terminals way way way away from everyone else. In total disbelief on a change over we couldn't work out where to go with heavy laden suitcases and all the other travel on extras. I politely asked an employee street side and he snarled some comment and replied in a heavy foreign accent.
    Without any sleep from the last delayed Jetstar flight and feeling rather intolerant I replied, "There is no need to be rude, I asked you nicely."
    With which he grumpily replied, "I am telling you." ...and then he explained properly.

    Sydney - if you want someone to pick you up from the domestic terminal the road side pick up has been set so far away that passengers may as well walk outside the actual area completely. It is so hard for the elderly. Its all because the best money is made from parking and the private railway.Try managing the later at the Wolli Creek exchange if you are elderly with a suitcase.(Yes, I know they have lifts but what about enough seats while you wait for the connecting train?).

    Airports are most definitely for the fit and able. The sad thing is I remember when flight was a luxurious experience and terminal time was so short that it really didn't feature in my long term memory bank. Now its a factor. Parking, the commute to the airport, long check ins, dirty touch terminals, dirty toilets especially on Sundays, long security check queues, long walks to the furthest terminal, frequent long delays - and grumpy people (standard). Do I drive or do I fly? I guess that's why the grey nomad fraternity is so popular.
    Rae
    18th Aug 2018
    8:56am
    Only once Rosret and swore I'd never do it again.No point travelling Jetstar if you have luggage.

    The new Qantas domestic has a long way from the departure lounge to a toilet. I like to go just before boarding as it was something I noticed. I think it has been designed with money in mind rather than travellers.
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    12:14pm
    Rae, like you, toilets are an issue for me and I want to go just before the flight. Planners don’t think of that or passengers’ comfort.
    George
    19th Aug 2018
    12:13am
    I agree Airports are designed for the fit and able.
    Sydney International Airport in particular has been designed to force all to walk a long way through many Duty Free shops to get to your flight, as well as on arrival when you return. No consideration whether the older people can walk long distances.
    TREBOR
    19th Aug 2018
    6:44pm
    Ah, yes - the Kingsford Smith Marathon....
    johninmelb
    19th Aug 2018
    8:01pm
    George, if you think Sydney Airport has long walks, then you haven't seen some of the major International airports overseas.

    Sydney is a piddly little shack compared to some of them. Sydney is just a short walk in the park by comparison. I really struggle now with Singapore, Hong Kong, Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur, etc, and many airports in the US, were gigantic even 20 years ago when I used to go there.
    George
    19th Aug 2018
    11:34pm
    Sydney Airport is fairly small, but it is their design to make you walk which I complained about. Never had any difficulty in Singapore which is very efficiently designed (many travelators, short walks in between, train / shuttle connections between terminals). Didn't have any trouble in Heathrow (10 years ago) either, or even several US airports, but found excessive walking at Frankfurt.
    Aussie
    20th Aug 2018
    2:39am
    I travel around Asian countries and always stop in Kuala Lumpur because I only travel economy on cheap tickets and is excellent for me .... I have all facilities I need, Clubs to rest and eat, charge my phone and tablet, hotels if I have a long wait and all kind of food all in the transit terminal and most of the services are free have a read here .....

    http://www.klia2.info/about-klia2/facilities
    Jim
    18th Aug 2018
    7:57am
    Why would anyone think that this was unfair on older passengers only, it would affect everyone going through security, mind you things going missing through security is not unheard of, I was travelling with my brother and sister in law, my sister in law had an expensive pair of pedicure clippers which they took off her, which was their correct procedure, but when she told me what happened I explained that she could have got them sent to my place, so we immediately returned to the screening area, ( about 2 minutes ) when I asked the security agent if we could have them sent to my place, his reply with a smirk on his face was sorry it’s too late they have gone. For future benefit anyone having things like that taken off you, you can ask for them to be sent to your home address, there is a cost involved.
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    12:16pm
    Jim, this was not my experience. They threw my scissors out.
    Jim
    18th Aug 2018
    5:10pm
    Yes they will, but you can ask them to send them to your home address, as long as it is in Australia, but there is a charge, from memory I think it was about $30:00, so Lu the item is not worth that much probably not worth it, the item I am referring to were short nose clippers.
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    5:28pm
    I asked to keep them for my return journey but they refused to fo that or consider any other alternatives. This was Canberra.
    TREBOR
    19th Aug 2018
    1:02am
    Some things - like any sharp metal object - will be confiscated. Again - I did security at Mascot during the Unibomber scare... we worked up to eighteen hours a day and no metal or liquid was allowed on any aircraft and all passengers underwent a body search,and we searched by hand every aircraft incoming. Some passengers lost some very fine bottles of wine etc which were enjoyed at home by some security staff (sorry 'bout that).

    Some interesting objects under seat squabs, let me tell you... and a pair of white cotton gloves didn't really give protection, but I have a fine collection of pens and coins and stuff.... and even found an empty under seat life jacket spot - someone took it with them!!

    People are funny beings.....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5Q6dB1IrVM
    TREBOR
    19th Aug 2018
    1:03am
    Better ....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkEFpyvAHHU

    Nick Cave....
    Lizzy
    18th Aug 2018
    8:19am
    Sydney International. We had already had a long delay from our domestic flight.
    Arriving at immigration and being told to use the Auto check in system with which I managed ok. I had gone first. My husband though not diagnosed at that time struggled with the process of placing his passport on the machine and sliding it in. I stood on the other side feeling helpless as the female worker yelled at him numerous times to follow the instructions. In the end she told him to go to the officer to be checked in. The start to our holiday was so upsetting and humiliating for him.
    He was diagnosed with Dementia after our return from holiday. He is not able to process all the steps that we take for granted.

    I have witnessed this before with the Auto check in and it is frustrating for the elderly that cannot process the steps, it is upsetting and humiliating for all involved.
    Maybe someone there to assist with the process would be better than someone truing instructions across.
    STM
    18th Aug 2018
    8:50am
    I have a knee replacement and each time I travel I have to place my handbag etc on the conveyor then ‘wait’ for a female officer to scan me. I always have to wait the longest at Melbourne airport and there is no security for my personal items sitting on the belt, anybody can pick them up and you are not allowed to retrieve them whilst waiting. If traveling with friends they pick them up, otherwise they just sit on the belt. Something has to be done to safeguard the items on the belt, I haven’t had anything stolen yet but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time as I am a frequent traveler. STM
    SuziJ
    18th Aug 2018
    10:03am
    I have the same problem @ Albury. At least I get to collect my backpack before I'm 'escorted' (dragged) off to secondary screening. No seating for me, just have to stand with my metal walking stick until they decide to 'wand' me down and find that I only have 2 scars which give away that I've had both knees replaced. Then EVERY time, I get EDT (explosives), too. Why would I ever want anything to do with explosives? No rest for the wicked in this airport.

    I've only travelled once overseas from Sydney. I asked to go thru the scanner, not x-ray. They said OK after I notified them of my implants.

    I have no idea why people don't want to go thru the scanner - they only get a female/male form with any external devices marked on the form. So much easier than having to go thru the humiliation of a 'wand' down.

    When you're travelling solo, then demand that you get your items from the screening belt BEFORE you get taken away for secondary screening. If they're going to deny you the opportunity, then ask for security to collect your belongings and return them to you without delay.
    KSS
    18th Aug 2018
    1:35pm
    I do the scanner and still get the wand down every single time no matter domestic or international flights. I'm fine with it because I'd rather be safe than sorry! Try the experience in the USA then complain. It took an hour
    last time and they were really quite aggressive in their manner. But then I don't blame them when you see how people bellyache about being subjected to extra checks!!
    Swinging voter
    18th Aug 2018
    8:53am
    Our group did the long walk from Melbourne's busy cafe/waiting area to the T4 terminal. We had one elderly disabled person with us who gazed at a parked mobility vehicle, plugged in for re-charging. She hobbled to the departure lounge, taking 15+ minutes, almost collapsing after 5 minutes of what is notified in lights as a 10-minute walk. The current Jetstar Australia CEO is gaining experience that seems like a preparation for taking over Qantas when Joyce is flagged to leave in 20/20. Consider the amount of money spent by parent company Qantas on homosexual rights advertising, painting their planes in rainbow colours and promoting costly personal causes, then consider how Jetstar elderly are treated like second class citizens on that long Melbourne T4 terminal walk. No readily available staff in sight, and some security who speak with thick foreign accents and become irritable when you ask a simple question. As for taking things off customers who have mistakenly left nail scissors in carry-on what do they do with all that stuff? They should have pre-paid postage bags to hand so that these terrible old thoughtless trouble-making wrong-doers can pay to have their confiscated things returned or at least keep them on hold out the back to be collected on the return journey.
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    12:18pm
    Scissors. I was told they dispose of them.
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    12:18pm
    Scissors. I was told they dispose of them.
    johninmelb
    18th Aug 2018
    1:49pm
    You're blaming the wrong organisation.

    Much as I dislike Qantas and loathe Jetstar with a passion, the idiotic situation in Terminal 4 is NOTHING to do with them.

    Responsibility for his debacle lies solely with Australian Pacific Airports, the owners of Melbourne Airport. It is them you should directing your venom, not Qantas.

    As for scissors and the like, we have had these restrictions for years and years now. Everyone knows the rules. It is OUR responsibility to check our bags, purses, etc before we leave home to ensure we are not carrying any non-compliant stuff. I got caught once 16 years ago, now, when I start packing for a trip, I completely empty and check every bag I am taking before I start.

    I am leaving for overseas on Monday night, and I can see now the chaos I will have to deal with at the airport with people not up to speed on the new "powder" regulations. Even now, years later, we still have dingbats professing ignorance of the liquids and gels regulations.

    It's not hard, we older people have more common sense and nous than a lot of the braindead youth we see every day.
    Farside
    22nd Aug 2018
    12:45pm
    Hope you were not flying Jetstar into Perth; last time I flew if the long walk in Melbourne wasn't bad enough,it was then almost 30 minutes from the aircraft parking apron into Perth terminal. Fortunately Qantas, Virgin and Rex terminals in Melbourne each provide much appreciated transport to assist disabled folk.

    At Brisbane a bus takes passengers from the flight to and from the terminal when the flight is parked so far from the terminal.

    And you learn to avoid Adelaide for connections if flying into the Rex terminal to catch a Jetstar at the far end of the main terminal. Bugger me when it happens the first time, bugger that when it happens the second. Easier to drive.
    littlehelenb
    18th Aug 2018
    9:04am
    I was pulled aside at Gold Coast Airport because I had a metal plate in my ankle. I was told to take off my lace up shoes and stand over at the side. I managed to remove my shoes and then walked again through the X-Ray but then was completely abandoned. I had no way of getting my shoes back on, let alone getting them laced up; There was no low chair for me to sit on to get the shoes laced up again and I felt tipply topply trying to do it from a standing position.
    There just seems to be no notice taken of the fact that older travellers cannot stand for long periods without pain, and might need benches to sit on to get shoes laced up when requested to take them off.
    It is so humiliating and puts you off air travel.
    I should also mention the horrors of finding there is no air bridge and hauling yourself up and down steep stairs.
    I'm pleased we did most of our trips when we were younger.
    SuziJ
    18th Aug 2018
    10:13am
    If you notify your airline in advance of your travel, they'll 'usually' have a mobility vehicle or a wheelchair available for you to get to the plane and when you get there, they have 'lifts' available to get you onto the plane.

    I've done this several times travelling from Albury with Virgin. Never had any problems.

    My trick to having to take off shoes is to wear 'slip-ons'. No need to then have to put shoes back on and tie them up. Just make sure there's socks on your feet when you take the shoes off. I certainly wouldn't want to go barefoot thru security. You don't know what's on the floor, both seen & unseen.
    Noodles
    18th Aug 2018
    9:15am
    The very first time I encountered those security checkins years ago where you put your things out of your pocket into a tray (i.e. wallet, keys, belt) I was concerned.

    Said to my husband "don't put your wallet on there it will get stolen". Thankfully he took my advice and before we even get to security check in we put everything inside our carry on bags so that way we only have to keep any eye on one item each and the chance of someone picking up the bag is a bit more remote than something like a wallet sitting tantilisingly in a tray. No one is checking to see who picks up what items. Also put a bright ribbon on your carry on bag as so many look alike these days.
    splinter
    18th Aug 2018
    9:20am
    Wife & I travelled Jetstar from Melbourne to Gold Coast & as we knew that it was a very long walk out to boarding area ( I think it is 11 minutes ) & had to climb steps to the plane, we had the wife booked for wheelchair assist. When we went through security wife had to wait until female assistant came & I was made to wait with her & all our personal things on the trays went on the scanner & out the other side. When I was allowed to go through & get my wallet & other things from the tray my wallet was not there. A man came forward & said he just picked up this wallet by mistake , had I been a few seconds later my wallet would have gone. I should have been allowed to follow my personal items through the scanner. Had no problems on return to Melbourne as I was allowed to follow our trays through the scanner.
    Aussie
    18th Aug 2018
    2:14pm
    Yes is terrible ..... what I do this days I request a wheel chair he he he he
    HDRider
    18th Aug 2018
    9:44am
    Never have a problem myself, try a lockable Sy bag, ask to get it off taken aside for further checking, or ask security to hold it. A thief isn't going anywhere fast after stealing it, and besides, that's exactly why you purchase insurance!
    I go through the virgin lounge checkin area, much bigger if you have gold or above, always worth thinking about.
    Chooky
    18th Aug 2018
    11:32pm
    HDRider what is a lockable Sy Bag? I just googled it but got results for lockable dry bag.
    HDRider
    19th Aug 2018
    2:45pm
    Chooky, Sy is the abbreveviation for security.
    There are many and varied types of security bags that are lockable. Even modern computer bags have locks on them.
    With the cabin allowance, a small lockable suitcase, you can fit your handbag in it. So, no excuse really for losing a handbag/ purse.
    KatieG
    18th Aug 2018
    10:41am
    I remember one time I was 'ordered' to go over there. Having no peripheral vision, I couldn't see where he was pointing. I told him I was vision-impaired (pointing to my badge) and had no idea in which direction he wanted me to go. He grabbed me by the arm and dragged me. I was furious. My husband had already cleared security and I was on my own. This turkey actually left red marks on my arm where he grabbed me. If I hadn't been so tired from an all night flight, I would have taken the matter further. Mind you, this guy was "apparently" a uni trained customs officer. What a joke!!
    patti
    18th Aug 2018
    10:42am
    This has always been a fear of mine since a friend had a laptop stolen at airport security. I also have to stand aside for seperate screening, as my titanium knee always sets off the security alarm. Before I move away, I tell the security people that I want them to retrieve my belongings from the conveyor belt, and bring them to me, before they start the frisking process. I also always ask for a chair, so I can sit and wait while this happens, then I can sit down when the frisking is over, and put my shoes back on. So far I have been fortunate, and mostly encountered politeness and willingness to help.
    Not a Bludger
    18th Aug 2018
    10:43am
    Melbourne Airport, by any international comparison, is appalling.
    Poorly laid out, insufficient staff, those who are there shouting “youse queue here” to non English speaking tourists and shouting louder when not understood, officious immigration officials who say things like “go there I am the law around here” whilst bemused arriving tourists try to figure out what they are supposed to do with endless queues and difficult so called automated arrival systems, customs officials who simply throw arrival cards in a rubbish bin and the list goes on.
    patti
    18th Aug 2018
    10:44am
    It is also possible to phone ahead and organise some help at the airport. I have had wheelchair assistance, and help with my luggage at different times. Certainly when I went through Changi airport last year, no way could I have walked the distance, and two train stops required. Just call the airline a few days prior to departure.
    Sen.Cit.89
    18th Aug 2018
    11:00am
    My family in WA are considering visiting me in Qld for my 90th birthday in March 2019.
    I was considering visiting them instead. After reading the comments on this subject; my mind is now made-up... 'DONT'... I've was a regular Air traveller in my working and younger days and could cope with anything. Not anymore.
    Lescol
    18th Aug 2018
    11:12am
    I frequently travel OS for work and so I can easily compare international airports. Sydney departure is without a doubt the worst encountered. Far too many shops, poor signage and Customer facilities are a joke!
    KB
    18th Aug 2018
    11:24am
    The frail and elderly should be given extra assistance Put off by air travel and would not go by myself, Airports need to step and help people more. Handbag and her luggage should have been made secure for the woman. Traveling should be a great experience rather than horrendous wxperience
    casper dude
    18th Aug 2018
    12:04pm
    My husband and I are fairly fit retirees
    and fairly regular air travellers. I have had a hip replacement in both hips. Of course I never fail to set off security and have the pat down or a full body scan each time. I always have to remove my shoes. I am used to it but hate the public embarrassing process as I choose to have it done in full view of everyone and not taken aside to a private area where I may lose sight of my personal items. I usually chat to the female personnel who is patting me and in most cases they do seem quite human and chat. While this is happening my husband is watching carefully our items on the conveyor x-ray. Security and particularly signage is very poor in most large airports in Australia. Walking distances in some cases would be a real challenge for people less mobile than us. Australia, Please take some lessons from the amazing Changi Airport in Singapore. Brisbane airport doesn't seem too bad at the moment but the pick up area at the International Terminal arrivals is a fairly long walk, out of the terminal and into the open air with poor signage. Its not even under cover. Tired passengers after a long haul are confused of where to go to meet their families or escorts. More signage please Brisbane.
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    12:08pm
    Although I “look” normal, I have mobility issues and am slightly deaf. I once booked ahead for assistance, but when I arrived early at the airport (as requested) and asked for help, the check-in staff shrugged their shoulders and refused to assist - could not care less. I complained to the airline and they made appropriate noises, but the service has not improved markedly. Also, my Dad, when travelling in his 80’s, always had to take his shoes off. This was physically difficult for him. No chair to sit on to take shoes off or put them on again. He didn’t have belongings stolen but it would have been easy to do so.
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    5:30pm
    Dad had slip on shoes but even those he had trouble with. Couldn’t stand unaided.
    Jim
    18th Aug 2018
    12:10pm
    The treatment of aged people at security check is deplorable. I have two knee replacements and absolutely dread air travel because of the treatment at security check: no where to sit while removing and replacing shoes; stood aside like a naughty child while awaiting security personel; no security for belongings awaiting collection while I await a check; generally treated like a problem. Then having found somewhere to sit and put my shoes on, I am lined up for a "random" explosives scan. I now avoid air travel when possible. Jim
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    12:21pm
    Jim, I’m always at the airport early and for some reason this means I get the explosives scan! Who knows why.
    rtrish
    18th Aug 2018
    12:21pm
    Jim, I’m always at the airport early and for some reason this means I get the explosives scan! Who knows why.
    Blondie
    18th Aug 2018
    12:49pm
    When visiting Hong Kong last year, the stop over at Changi was a nightmare! No one was there to help us get to the next gate for the onflight....after almost falling over with exhaustion near a Cathay Pacific kiosk, the staff there saw my distress, and fetched and put me into a wheel chair, bless them! I showed them my ongoing boarding pass, and a young woman told me she would take me there.Thank goodness she did, as I just made the flight! Singapore airlines are NOT the best airlines..( dirty toilets, broken food table!) I shall be using Cathay Pacific next time....oh, yes: at HK airport, the elderly go through the customs/ security FIRST!
    KSS
    18th Aug 2018
    1:27pm
    This is a beat up. This woman was a victim of an opportunistic thief and that had nothing to do with the age or ability of the woman concerned. The airport did what they could to help her and the thief was found and her bag retuned. No surprise some items were missing.
    She is not the first and won't be the last victim, but it can happen to anyone. She was not targeted she was just unlucky.

    And don't put all your cash in a bag you are going to put down!
    Rae
    18th Aug 2018
    1:58pm
    Security should prevent theft from the trolley.

    However I always use a money belt under clothes with my passport, ticket, debit card and cash in it. My bag only has my days money and my credit card which is easily cancelled.

    After experiences I carry $US enough to get me home in a crisis or cover a couple of weeks expenses.

    The issue with laptops is concerning especially for those who travel frequently for work. Some laptops hold very sensitive information and security needs to ensure items aren't stolen during screening.
    Deb Dickman
    18th Aug 2018
    1:39pm
    Good article and well done Ms Sweetnam for sticking to your guns. I have always been concerned about my bag on the conveyor belt whilst going through. I have a knee replacement which always rings the bell.
    neil
    18th Aug 2018
    1:51pm
    Melbourne airport; filthy lavatories some awash, unusable.
    Changi very different.
    On return, Melbourne airport, poor signage, few travellators, a long drag for this elderly man. new electronic passport controls rubbish, nobody on hand to explain.

    Neil.
    Rae
    18th Aug 2018
    2:02pm
    Yes privatised airports always seem less efficient, clean etc than Government owned facilities. I suppose the shareholders and CEO don't like paying for cleaners or staff.

    Melbourne is a very busy airport but it does look very bad compared to other top airports.
    Aussie
    18th Aug 2018
    2:07pm
    I am not surprise at all .... we are old ...nobody think about our needs ... but this is Australia today a develop beautiful country but we need to learn a lot about from other countries in our region how to provide comfort in Airports to older people .

    For example in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) in Malaysia (Look here for free services .... http://www.klia2.info/about-klia2/facilities ) they have Buggy services specially to transport older people inside the airport from the plane gates to the main foyer also they are small trolleys for you to wheel your carry on luggage and any bags you may carry on the plane.

    In Thailand they have special lines for older people over 65 for the check in process and lots of people to assist you ..... same in Vietnam and China ... Bali is a bit different but is easy to move around with the trolleys and people to assist you

    In Sydney Ummmmm you are own your own unless you request a wheel chair assistance with the airline Ummmmm

    We need to learn a lot about older people necessities in airports in our country .... I have seen a lot of older people struggling to get to the gates in Sydney because they slow walkers

    One suggestion for all of you travelers in Australia .... check the box where say that you need a wheel chair that way they will take you to the gate and have priority entrance even if you do not need a chair but is hard for you to walk quickly and long distances.

    Also if you travel to smaller airports in Australia you have to get in and out using stairs and get in and out of a bus ..... and depends where you sit like with Jetstart you may have to walk down 2 floors to the ramp then up the stairs to the plane .... terrible stuff

    If you travel Jetstart domestic (Say the gold Coast) select a forward seat so you get in by the gate tunnel strait to the plane

    Lots to learn and do for us in Airports ..... Beautiful country but terrible for older people assistance when travel ..... and all of this because the airports in Australia are a private enterprise only to make money like any other business.

    Good luck .......
    Aussie
    18th Aug 2018
    2:11pm
    A very strong suggestion if you travel to USA .... get a wheel chair assistance with the airline ....these will guarantee passage directly to the immigration windows without delay .... I do this every time and only takes minutes in the immigrations area ......

    He he he let be inventive .... h he he he he
    musicveg
    18th Aug 2018
    2:16pm
    I am disgusted at the lack of professionalism from Airport staff that I have read here. Been years since I have flown so sounds like things have got worse. Staff numbers down, profits go up. Like to hear from those who took the train within Australia instead of flying and how that compares.
    Rae
    19th Aug 2018
    7:46am
    The long distance trains are great. More expensive and take longer but are clean and comfortable with excellent food available to buy.
    The hosts/hostesses onboard are very helpful and friendly.
    Great Southern Rail is amazing on the Ghan and Indian Pacific.

    No trouble there for vegans or special diets.

    If you fork out for premium you not only get five star restaurant meals but also limousine transfers, expensive wines, spirits and champagne as well as mineral waters and fabulous excursions included.

    Gold service is also excellent. It is expensive but worth the cost if you can afford it.

    For me the train beats a plane for a quality experience.
    musicveg
    19th Aug 2018
    2:06pm
    Thanks Rae first time I ever heard from someone who has actually been on them. Sounds a better idea for my 82 year old mum to go to
    Queensland to see my sister, like you said more expensive and slower but the experience itself is a holiday. Great they cater for vegans and special diets too.
    Rae
    20th Aug 2018
    7:48am
    I've found train experiences rewarding. People seem friendly and there is no overcrowding on the long distance trains. You can also break the journey if needed and stay a night along the way depending how far North your mum has to travel.

    The seats are roomy and do recline. There used to be sleepers on the Sydney to Brisbane but I'm not sure if that is still the case.

    Check it out online. A pension card allows a very good discount as well.
    Aussie
    18th Aug 2018
    2:47pm
    Let compare then you decide between two international busy airports .... Sydney and Malaysia Klia 2 International ..... you decide what is best

    Sydney - https://www.sydneyairport.com.au/ or this site - https://www.sydneyairport.info/

    Malaysia Klia 2 - http://www.klia2.info/

    No offence to anyone just to compare the services of two very important airports in our region and I am sure that you have already go through Klia2 if you flying Air Asia or other airlines ...

    Just interesting to compare .....
    Migrant
    18th Aug 2018
    2:58pm
    My wife and I had very similar experiences travelling with Jetstar to OOL from MelbourneT4.
    The electronic booking system is not easy to navigate, and booking "assistance" is difficult, and time consuming on the various screens. However I booked wheel chair assistance for my wife.
    Checking in at the airport is a nightmare if you have a wheel chair and luggage. The staffing ratio appears to be one assistant per ten daleks. Security checks are just as bad, and as other comments have said, the need to remove shoes, belt etc because you have a hip replacement is humiliating, and makes it difficult to keep an eye on your other belongings.
    I liked the hint to "put everything in your carry on bag before security and then retrieve your wallet, cash, camera etc after going through" Very helpful idea.
    Then the walk to the gate ! ( at Dubai last year, we had two assistants from Emirates wheel us everywhere) but in Melbourne no staff were available to help ! A ten minute walk with two trips up and down lifts !
    Finally after walking to the steps, which were impossible for us to climb, we were shown to a horse box, which turned out to be a lift up to the door of the plane. Very scary on a windy day, we were so glad that it was not raining!
    We had to repeat this on our return to MEL, except that Jetstar said they had already two disabled passengers and could not provide assistance. We suggested that as we could not disembark, we would just have to remain on the aircraft. This resulted in action, and we were again allowed to use the hoist, and a wheel chair met us.
    The trauma was not over, for we had to collect our luggage, load it on trolleys, and walk to the parking building, without the benefit of the Jetstar wheel chair, to get our transport.
    I am surprised that the OH and S regulators approved the plans for T4 ! Or are airports exempt ? Or are the passengers assumed to be fit, and not suffering from any disability?
    Aussie
    18th Aug 2018
    3:04pm
    Mate I am sorry ... but you live in Australia .... do not expect any help in Airports ..you are on your own here .. it is incredible that a country like Australian has such a poor understanding of the older people need when travelling .....
    Maggie
    18th Aug 2018
    3:57pm
    Asian airports are always better for older travellers because in those countries people still respect oldies . . .

    Here and in many other "western" countries you sort of disappear when you go grey. I find I am always having to move out of the way of children coming full tilt at me, and even adults often push past me rudely.

    Perhaps someone who has had a really bad experience in an Australian airport should bring it to the attention of 60 Minutes or a similar program; they get results.
    Rae
    19th Aug 2018
    7:50am
    Australian business is terrified of employing staff. It's a strange and irrational fear bringing companies into disrepute.

    The airports are designed to maximise rents for commercial shops and restaurants here. No consideration to travellers at all now since privatisation.
    MICK
    18th Aug 2018
    4:52pm
    Never flown into Melbourne but I share the concerns about what goes through the conveyor and what happened to the senior traveller has been what we have tried to avoid. Putting your wallet in a plastic tray seems like an invitation for theft and we work it so one goes through before the other then puts valuables through. That way one of us is waiting for it at the other end. Single travellers of course have no choice so I guess they have to watch the conveyor whilst they are being frisked or ask the officer if they can do near the exit point. I'm sure it is not as impossible as made out.
    OnlyDaughter
    18th Aug 2018
    5:11pm
    I am about to travel to the UK again to visit ancient relatives. In my previous 8 trips to the UK, I have always travelled Emirates, although that will change in the future because this airline has lost its wonderful ethos that was so evident up until 2013. These days they don't give a damn, although they are not as far down the line as Jetstar - I doubt that any airline could be THAT bad.
    I used to love travelling overseas but now, because of the dreadful palaver checking in, going through security, going through Customs and the dreadfully long journey to the far end of the Brisbane international airport to the Emirates departure gates, I am starting to detest it. This is not to mention the 14 hour flight to Dubai and the nearly 8 hours from Dubai into the UK.
    In February this year, on the way to the UK for a funeral, I had my Australian purse containing around $50 stolen in Dubai by the burka-wearing ladies at security They probably thought they had gotten my credit cards as well, but they all they got was my loyalty cards as I keep my credit cards separate from my cash.
    10 days later, travelling back to Brisbane via Dubai after the funeral, I asked for assisted travel and found with a lot of Indian men in a buggy driven by an Arab man. Normally the buggy drivers are Indian in Dubai and they are usually very nice, helpful and polite. However, this time it was different. I was terrified. This Arab man was rude, intimidating and very threatening and scary. This Arab man dropped all of the Indian travellers off first, passing my departure gate on the way, leaving me alone in the buggy with him. I really thought that he was going to take me somewhere out of the way and rob and hurt me. He drove all around the Dubai airport and when we did arrive back at my departure gate, he stopped at least 80 metres away and told me to get out and walk. He frightened me so badly, I almost leapt out and walked. I was then greeted by less than helpful Emirates ground staff who wouldn't let me get on the 'plane with other assisted passengers. This journey was a nightmare and I vowed I would not travel overseas alone again. I complained to Emirates in Australia but of course they did nothing. I find the air staff are great but the ground staff are the pits - very arrogant. I am due to fly Emirates again in a few days - only because I booked this flight last October - but unless Emirates improve their performance, I will be flying another airline in the future.
    johninmelb
    18th Aug 2018
    5:23pm
    Melbourne Airport is just a third world dump. No other way to describe it.

    I know nothing about running airports, exactly the same qualification the current manger's have, but I reckon it would take me just 3 months to turn it round and start providing service to air travellers.
    Radar
    18th Aug 2018
    8:36pm
    The best airport I have ever come across for caring for belongings when being scanned is the tiny airport at Iguazu Falls in Argentina. The wonderful security person made sure I had all my belongings with me, then took me over to a nearby seat to put them on. Made sure I was ok to get my shoes off, scanned me, then made sure I was ok afterwards. She didn't care that my husband was with me to look after my things, she made sure I was completely comfortable and secure. Oh what the bigger airports could learn from her!!
    TREBOR
    19th Aug 2018
    12:54am
    Jesus - try traveling with an ex for whom you are carer... while suffering agonies in upper right chest yourself on any exertion.... and asking for a maybe upgrade so your disabled ex can travel to her ancestral homeland in some comfort.....

    Funnily - I used to do security at Mascot, and once was asked to push a wheelchair person out of the terminal to a cab... when offered a 'tip' - I said no - it's just part of the job.
    Rae
    19th Aug 2018
    7:58am
    The red caps in America are fabulous for helping single or disabled passengers. Just for a $1 or $2 tip.

    At train stations the ex service personnel and elderly go first, then families with kids and then everyone else.

    I have noticed the airports getting worse and I think it's all the automation and having far fewer staff to assist at fault including cleaning contractors who are obviously unable to fulfilled their contract commitments as the airports get dirtier by the year.
    Farside
    22nd Aug 2018
    1:03pm
    free upgrades for the disabled are unnecessary, but would be a welcome improvement if airlines could include a couple of easier access seats with priority for physically disabled e.g. leg space, seat width, and room for storing crutches. It was great when flying J class but Y is the go these days and I would rather give flying a miss.
    Stephen5
    19th Aug 2018
    1:46am
    Like Mick, my wife and I go through security separately. At Melbourne two weeks age, they refused to allow my wife to get through the scanner before I let our belongings go to x-ray. We had a standoff as I pointed out that out things would be insecure and that thefts have been known to have taken place - but they were obstinate. Re the main story, can you believe that one can take something out of the "wrong" handbag and not realise??!
    Rae
    19th Aug 2018
    8:06am
    I've been through dozens of airports including being iced in for 18hours in Chicago and locked down by FBI in St Louis. It is a pity Sydney and Melbourne have been redesigned as sales points for rental returns instead of travel hubs.

    Airports can be designed to move travellers through seamlessly.

    Huge central hubs like LAX, Zurich and Frankfurt are designed to do just that.

    They aren't designed as shopping malls with runways attached. Not enough staff and cleaning contract issues. Even the new toilets at Sydney regional are so small as to make getting in with luggage impossible. Obviously designed to save space so a larger rental shop can be built.

    It's quite sad that we present as a third rate country that can't seem to get anything right much including using modern airport design systems.
    dreamer
    19th Aug 2018
    1:49pm
    I always travel on my own and have had a hip replacement so get pulled over for special search and always complain that they want let me first gather my things together so I can keep an eye on them. Luckl'y I haven't had anything taken but its not a good start or finish to a hoiiday.
    Celia
    21st Aug 2018
    5:35pm
    Of all places an airport! Don't tell me they don't have security cameras around an airport because they do. What it is telling me is the person that is responsible for managing the security camera is on to a good wicket here. How many other things have been stolen from the same airport? The airport Manager needs to investigate what his office is doing.


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