“Your attention, please.” a well-worn phrase…

…. and one which I became very familiar with, and used many times.

Being now fully decked out it was time to hit the main check-in counter. Being a tyro, and considered wet behind the ears, my initial contact with the travelling public was confined to writing and issuing tickets, and taking their money. Pretty simple stuff, no pressure, it needed getting used to, after all the years stuck in an Insurance office, but I worked at it, for all of one shift!

The cashiers position was in a predominant spot, which was fair enough; nobody was going anywhere without a ticket, and it took up the first place on the counter. Except to the left, there was a raised section, just large enough for two ground hostesses to work, in the ‘busy times’. The first set of scales to the right  was dedicated to the premier flights. Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane/Perth, the big planes, Electra’s, DC6B’s, even Viscount 800 series. This position was always manned by the top traffic officer on duty.

The last set of scales? If you were going to King Island or Hamilton or some such isolated bush town, in a DC3 , that’s where you went to check in. And be prepared to be weighed, along with your luggage.

Talking of luggage; each passenger was entitled to 35 lb free, carry on baggage was limited, no big overhead lockers to stow your gear in to avoid paying excess like today. You’re over weight. you pay!

Overseas passengers had an extra allowance, 30 kg (66lb) for first class; 20 kg (44lb) for tourists.

Most passengers arrived at the terminal with tickets, so there really wasn’t much to do, normally the cashier would give the t/o on the premier flights a hand with the luggage, labelling it, and bunging it onto the conveyor belt behind, to go the 20 or 30 feet out to the loaders. These blokes were just outside the  ‘Traffic Office’ and their space was also where incoming passengers went to collect their baggage.

No carousels, bags stuck on a trolley after being offloaded, the passengers grabbed their own stuff, sometimes one of the loaders would think to check, make sure they were only grabbing their own, but it was an honour system most of the time. I never heard of anyone abusing this system, ever. Any luggage that wasn’t collected from the collection area, was loaded onto the “Airline Bus”, and taken into the city terminal, where the owners could pick it up, whenever it suited them.

Ticketing was good grounding, as I got to work with the best, and Melbourne had the best traffic officer in the whole Ansett network. His name was Doug (Dougie) Faulkner. There was another Falkner, (I can’t recall this blokes first name) who was the laziest bludger to ever don a T/o uniform. But Dougie; he was tops, he could do no wrong.

Doug had a bit of a habit when calling his flights on. He liked to bung in a destination that wasn’t serviced and didn’t have an airport, or runway even. I recall one day, it was flight 330, the noon service to Sydney, Brisbane with connections to North Queensland ports. On this occasion Doug decided to bung in Oodnadatta, just for the hell of it.

Now Oodnadatta happens to be stuck way out in South Australia; miles from anywhere, back in 1960 it might have got a truck or bus pass through once in a while; but on this day Ansett had an aircraft which had a connection to Oodnadatta, you guessed it, some bloke came running up to the counter could he get a seat on the plane, as he was going to Oodnadatta, he was booked to Adelaide on Flt 238, and had to try make his way up from there.

Poor Doug, had to apologize and tell this bloke that the aircraft was fully booked, and there was nothing available unfortunately. Didn’t make that much difference he was soon back to his tricks, without a hiccup.

Doug was married to a Queensland girl, from  Rockhampton, now Rockie has/had an airport, and Ansett serviced it, or rather did; and he had been promised the job as Airport Manager/ Traffic Supervisor, head honcho. He’d pretty much given up the idea of ever getting there.

I really enjoyed working as his ‘pencil’, the bloke labelling and handling his passengers baggage, he was always in control, knew all the regulars, always fun when working the same shifts as Doug; I really admired that man. He’d have to be pushing 90, if he’s still going, and offering connections to Oodnadatta.

 

 

 

 

17 thoughts on ““Your attention, please.” a well-worn phrase…

  1. Another good bloke for you to work with

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been pretty lucky, there’s been a few dead head duds, but that’s only to be expected. Might have to throw a couple of those in for balance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You continue to amaze with the characters you encountered!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I got curious and looked up Oodnadatta. Talk about the middle of nowhere!

    Like

  4. Work is always better and goes along so much smoother when you have good co-workers!!

    Like

  5. Another great story.
    Ira

    Like

  6. Another good one, can’t wait to read more. 🙂

    Like

  7. Dougie sounds like a great guy! You’ve worked with some characters AND with some great folk, B!!! 🙂
    It’s always a + to have good co-workers…ones we click with! 🙂
    I love reading about how things worked back then in the airports. Some differences today. And I think today in some ways is less smooth and less efficient.
    HUGS for you and Coco! 🙂

    Like

    1. Carolyn I’m in hospital ticker trouble don’t know how long will you can you let those that read my stuff know and I hope to be back soon.
      Sending this from hospital bed using my son Nathan s iPhone thingy
      Hope you better
      Brian akaLBob

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OH! I’m so sorry to hear this, B! 😦
        I hope you are well and home soon!
        I don’t think we have many mutual WP readers, but hopefully your readers will check here and read about what’s going on with you. And I will leave a comment for those of your readers that I do know. (On their sites)
        (((HUGS))) and wishes for healing and recovery!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Dear Brian,
        So sorry to hear you are in hospital again. Please get well very soon, xx 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Readers of LordBeariOfBow,
    See in the above comment, Brian is in the hospital. 😦
    I’ve tried to visit some of your WP sites to let you know personally, but I’m sure I missed some people.
    Please leave him some comments to wish him well.
    HUGS,
    Carolyn

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hey, if you want attention ( and attentive staff 24/7) there are better ways to do it.
    Nathan better watch it or he’ll lose that tiny screen to one with a big cheering squad.
    And ones who enjoy flying through your posts filled with such characters and adventures. Oodnadatta’s location sounds a bit like Midland, Amarillo and far West TX – people used to say there were more pilots and small planes out there than any place else – ’cause if ya wanna go to dinner or see a movie or go shopping, it was just too long a car ride. (even with straight open roads and a radar detector)
    Hope you feel better soon! (Hmmm, earthquake and attempt to shake you outta there and get you back where you belong? HaHa)
    HUGS and reassuring pet to Coco

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Okay, you’ll have to come up with a better excuse to see all those pretty nurses at the hospital. I know you enjoy giving them a hard time, but couldn’t you just stop by briefly instead of checking in?

    Sending you lots of virtual hugs and hoping you get out of there posthaste. The nurses will just have to manage without you.

    Like

  11. Know that we are thinking about you, Brian. And we care greatly!
    Wanted to leave some more (((HUGS))) and ❤ here for you!
    And some silly faces…
    😛 😀 😎 😋 🤗 😈 🐻 😜 🤓 😉 😀 :mrgreen: 🙂

    Like

  12. Okay, so I’ve been made aware you are feeling a bit off with a dicky ticker, and can only hope that by now you are back on deck and thinking up your next post. This was a great story, but I must add, even in the early 2000s, flying in and out of Narrandera with REX, all the procedures you describe were still “de rigeur”, including fetching my own bag off the trolley.
    Hope you get well soon xxx

    Like

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