How a very important Australian ‘demanded to board a Qantas plane before anyone else’ then turned up LATE – delaying an entire flight and leaving 200 passengers fuming
- Victoria’s Governor Linda Dessau requested to board a Qantas flight early
- However, when it came to boarding, she was nowhere to be found
- Some 200 passengers were left waiting for Ms Dessau to arrive, passenger says
- Governor’s office insists she did not expect other passengers to be delayed
- It is understood the Governor had been escorted to the wrong boarding gate
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The state governor of Victoria sparked an uproar after she reportedly asked to board a Qantas flight before other passengers – leading the flight to be delayed because she was running late.
Linda Dessau reportedly requested to ‘pre-board’ Qantas flight QF1518 from Melbourne to Canberra ahead of other passengers on Wednesday morning, while on the way to the national memorial to Queen Elizabeth II at Parliament House.
However, Ms Dessau was nowhere to be found for several minutes when she was supposed to board the plane – much to the bemusement of other airline passengers anxiously waiting at the gate.
Flight attendants were eager to begin the boarding process as the line began to swell, but Qantas bosses insisted they wait until Ms Dessau had been seated, witnesses said.
One passenger overheard a Qantas employee saying ‘I called the Chairman’s Lounge a long time ago but she just isn’t coming’.
The crown’s vice regal authority in Victoria Linda Dessau (pictured) demanded she board her Qantas flight from Melbourne to Canberra ahead of everyone else
Passengers stood in line waiting for the VIP to board the plane but she was nowhere to be found (above – a stock image)
Qantas customer Imre told Radio 2GB he was queued to board the flight and had ‘never seen anything like’ the episode.
‘Everybody’s there, the plane’s there, all the passengers that were previously on had disembarked.
The air hostesses seemed keen to get everybody on the flight but as we were about to board they said “no, sorry, we need to wait for a VIP of some sort”.
‘I felt sorry for the air hostesses. They were sort of walking up and down, peering down the corridor to try and see if this VIP was coming.’
When Victoria’s vice-regal representative finally arrived at the gate with her entourage, other passengers could not identify her.
‘Eventually, after 20 minutes, someone turned up (who) no one seemed to recognize in the queue,’ he told the show.
Ms Dessau waited for her flight in Melbourne Airport’s exclusive Chairman’s Lounge (pictured), while other passengers slummed it at the boarding gate
The passenger said that when all the passengers actually boarded they then had to file past Ms Dessau as she sat in her business class seat.
‘As people were walking past, they were saying “who is (she)”, I’ve never seen that person before.”
‘You might understand it if everyone’s on the plane and they held it for a few minutes because the VIP was running late and they needed to get them on before it took off.
‘But not letting anyone on the plane before they get on first? I don’t know if it’s a royal protocol or something…’
The flight managed to get away 14 minutes after its scheduled departure time, flight records said.
In a statement provided to The Australian’s Margin Call column, the Governor’s office insisted she was not dawdling in the Chairman’s Lounge.
Ms Dessau was headed to Canberra to attend the national memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II (above – Ms Dessau talks with Victorian Premier Dan Andrews at the service)
It is understood Ms Dessau was escorted to the wrong gate by staff.
‘Neither the Governor nor her staff requested or expected any passengers to be delayed from boarding the flight,’ a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘There was no delay in the Governor and her party leaving the lounge when requested to make their way to the gate.’
Ms Dessau is one of six state governors of Australia who work as representatives of the Crown in Australia.