Virgin Australia reconsiders veteran salutes following backlash

Virgin Australia reconsiders veteran salutes following backlash

Virgin Australia reconsiders veteran salutes following backlash

Qantas responded to the proposal by saying it has "utmost respect for current and former defence personnel" but dismissed Ciobo's call for it to follow Virgin's lead.

A leading veterans' group says Virgin's plans to offer ex-service men and women priority boarding and in-flight thanks "smacks of tokenism".

"We acknowledge the important contribution veterans have made to keeping our country safe and the role they play in our community", said Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti in launching Virgin's initiative over the weekend.

Veterans would receive priority boarding on the airline and would be recognised by airline staff on the plane.

The proposal echoes similar acknowledgment in the U.S., although some carriers also offer discounts to veterans.

Appearing on the ABC's Insiders, veterans affairs minister, Darren Chester, welcomed the Announcement, but acknowledged many veterans would sooner embrace discounted airfares.

.

Veterans advocate Ray Martin wouldn't mind a free drink and they don't need priority.

"Over the coming months, we will consult with community groups and our own team members who have served in defence to determine the best way forward", the statement concluded.

Pat Howard becomes latest senior figure to leave Cricket Australia
Everyone at CA is focused on rebuilding and moving forward after what has been a turbulent year in Australian cricket", he added. Chairman David Peever and board member and former captain Mark Taylor have both resigned since the review .

Twenty-five year military veteran Rodger Shanahan, now a research fellow at the respected Lowy Institute think tank, said the ploy would be studied as an example of how not to handle public relations.

Shanahan said the problem with adopting the United States idea without adapting it for Australia is that the veteran community "is a very broad church".

"You could include me in that". The ledger was square.

Caller Ian asked if one occupation was more deserving of special treatment than others, pointing out that careers such as water treatment do more to protect our wellbeing than the military.

"Most of my cohort would rather not be defined by their military service", he said.

"I think if the company wants to acknowledge our service that is good, but it is the motivation that worries me", he said.

Moves to introduce a similar salute on Australian airlines are gathering momentum, with Virgin Australia joining a Federal Government campaign to recognise defence force members and Qantas facing predictable pressure to follow suit.

Allowing veterans' perks like priority boarding or discount cards failed to address the genuine problems faced by retired servicemen and women, Mr West said.

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