Qantas Airways

Snakes, scorpions, and Qantas planes

Courtesy Qantas

Like a lot of airlines, Qantas is storing planes in the Mojave Desert while it waits for travel to return to pre-COVID levels.

The dry heat and low humidity of the desert make the California desert a good place to store the airline’s A380 aircraft. But engineers tasked with maintaining the planes have created their own special tool to deal with rattlesnakes and scorpions that like to hang out in and around the airplane wheel well and tires.

Qantas Manager for Engineering in Los Angeles, Tim Heywood, explains in a Qantas “Roo Tale,” that engineers make regular trips from LA to Victorville, CA to do aircraft inspections and that “encounters of the slithering and rattling kind are all part of the job.”

“Every aircraft has its own designated ‘wheel whacker’ – a repurposed broom handle- as part of the engineering kit, complete with each aircraft’s registration written on it,” said Heywood. “The first thing we do before we unwrap and start any ground inspections of the landing gear, in particular, is to walk around the aircraft stomping our feet and tapping the wheels with a wheel whacker to wake up and scare off the snakes. That’s about making sure no harm comes to our engineers or the snakes.”

World’s largest airplane now flies world’s longest route

A-list celebrity and Qantas Airways Ambassador John Travolta was on hand Monday afternoon to welcome some lucky arriving passengers (including me!) on the first Qantas A380 jumbo airplane to fly direct from Sydney Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Qantas - John Travolta was on hand to greet some of the arriving A380 passengers from Sydney

The new service -which will operate six times a week (daily except Tuesday) between Sydney and DFW means that Qantas is now flying the world’s largest airplane on the world’s longest flight.

The flight from Sydney to DFW is scheduled to take around 14 hours 50 minutes; the flight from DFW to Sydney will take a bit longer: 15 hours and 30 minutes.

Here are few snaps from the flight:

Cupcakes celebrating Qantas’s inaugural A380 flight between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth were offered to invited guests:

Qantas - celebratory cupcakes helped kick off the first Qantas A380 flight from Sydney to Dallas

To celebrate the milestone, Qantas painted the A380 being used on the route with a special livery. The kangaroo on the tail is wearing a Stetson hat with a blue neckerchief:

The Qantas kangaroo got a makeover for flight from Sydney to Dallas

Qantas is also celebrating the new service with some special in-flight menu items between Sydney and DFW, including steak for First Class passengers, Chipotle pork tortillas for Business class passengers, Texas hot dogs for Premium Economy passengers and a variety of snacks and beverages for Economy passengers, including A&W sodas, pulled beef sliders and Route 66 Root Beer.

Special menu for new service through Oct 5 includes Root Beer, Dr. Pepper,  steak,  Texas hot dogs and other Texas specialties.

(I flew as a guest of Qantas. All opinions, photos are my own.)

Spotted in Sydney

Greetings from Sydney, Australia.

I’ve been here for three – way too short – days and heading to Dallas on Monday with Qantas Airways, which starts flying the A380 between Sydney and Dallas on Monday, September 29th.

With the help of Destination NSW, I’ve been racing around the city trying to see the sights – and paying dearly to replace a broken camera – in preparation for an early morning tour of Sydney Airport.

Here are a few snaps of what I’ve spotted so far. More to come…



Spotted at the Museum of Sydney: souvenirs of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


Sydney Koala

Was treated to a tour that included a face-to-face with a sleepy koala at the Taronga Zoo.