Virgin Australia's Plans To Honour Veterans On Flights Are Being Slammed

Virgin Australia priority boarding for veterans derided by defence association

Virgin Australia priority boarding for veterans derided by defence association

Others accused the airline of making the decision based on commercial interests rather than genuinely looking to salute war veterans.

After criticism of the policy being "tokenistic", Virgin Australia has said it will rethink its pledge to give ADF veterans priority seating on flights.

On Twitter, some veterans saw the move as a way to score votes for the Liberal government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Some have criticised the move as it doesn't offer any real benefits to veterans such as discounted fares. "Nearly any veteran I can think of would be hideously embarrassed by being singled out like that", Carlton added.

Qantas says it won't follow suit as its hard to single out certain groups when so many people serve the community.

He said the US-style of publicly thanking veterans for their service would not necessarily translate well to Australia.

On social media, some veterans expressed they would simply be happy with discounted flights and that they would probably not feel comfortable getting special acknowledgement every time they boarded a plane. "American nonsense. Will not fly @Virgin if this goes ahead".

Shanahan said the problem with adopting the U.S. idea without adapting it for Australia is that the veteran community "is a very broad church". "We're not quite as loud or noisy as that", said Mike Carlton, the author of several books about Australia's military history. Its executive director, Neil James, said the announcement was a symptom of a larger problem, which was that "the average Australian no longer understands military war".

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"I have worked with veterans and I think they would find it embarrassing", she said.

"A commonsense idea would have been providing assistance like restoring the service discount that used to apply on domestic airlines up to the early 1980s".

Qantas has resisted a push to join the Virgin Australia move with a spokesperson saying it was hard to single out people - the exception being passengers with special needs - during boarding.

However, Veterans' Affairs Minister Darren Chester acknowledged some veterans would be uneasy about the extra attention.

But not everyone is thrilled with Virgin Australia's announcement.

"If the process determines that public acknowledgement of their service through optional priority boarding or any announcement is not appropriate", the airline said, "then we will certainly be respectful of that".

"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".

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