The state governor of Victoria sparked 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 no-where 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 viceregal 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 no-where 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 couldn’t identify her.
‘Eventually, after 20 minutes, someone turned up (who) no one seemed to recognise 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 wasn’t 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 has been reported that Ms Dessau had somehow gotten lost in the terminal.
‘Neither the Governor or her staff requested or expected any passengers to be delayed from boarding the flight,’ a spokeswoman told the newspaper.
‘There was no delay in the Governor and her party leaving the lounge when requested to make their way to the gate.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted both Qantas and the Governor’s office for comment.
Ms Dessau is one of six state governors of Australia who work as representatives of the Crown in Australia.