Sometimes, it’s the little things

A Qantas plan waits at an airport gate.

The latest Qantas ad campaign makes much of the airline’s role in reuniting families.

Being a long way from anywhere else can do odd things to your sense of belonging, and it stands to reason that Australians have good reason to feel special about the notion of ‘coming home’ as they’ve invariably travelled a pretty long way to do it – whether domestically or internationally.

This was made clear to me the first time I visited Australia, back in 1999. As we crossed an endless, parched looking coastline, stretching left and right of the aircraft, the pilot, with a sense of occasion, announced that passengers could get their first glimpse of Oz by glancing out of the windows. After a suitable pause, he added: “We’ll be landing in Sydney in approximately five hours.” It’s a big old place.

National airline Qantas has cottoned on to the sense of occasion that Aussies feel when coming home by theming their recent ad campaign around the concept, with posters and TV slots pulling at heartstrings by portraying long distance reunion after reunion, all made possible thanks to the flying kangaroo.

Gate sign for a flight to Adelaide.

Real-life movie scenes can be witnessed every day, at an Aussie airport near you.

Ads are one thing, but as I was about to board a flight of my own back to Europe for a homecoming of my own, I saw something that I hadn’t noticed before, and which is alien to anyone who has visited an airport in Europe in the last 20 years – Aussie airports let non-travelling family members go right to the gate to wave off or welcome home their loved ones.

In the UK, even for domestic flights, ever tighter security measures mean you’re hard pressed to drop someone off at the terminal these days – and are often charged for the privilege of a simple ‘kiss and drop off’ on the terminal’s forecourt.

As I sat waiting for my flight from Canberra, I watched reunion after reunion take place at Gate 11 and it felt like watching a series of snippets from various movies, or Qantas ads. Either Way, it put a broad smile on my face and made me realise that sometimes it’s those little touches that make the world a better, more human place for all of us – long may it continue.

4 thoughts on “Sometimes, it’s the little things

  1. Trish. says:

    Those Qantas ads KILL me. Greeting Madeleine home at Sydney airport after her exchange year in France, during which she turned 16 and learned to speak French, was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Seeing her appear around that corner and then break into a run down the ramp and into our arms… well, I’m tearing up just writing about it (the Qantas story of the girl coming home from the UK, with her mum and sister to meet her? that’s what it was like for us). I have felt that same rush of excitement myself after coming home from a trip abroad – getting onto a Qantas flight and being greeted by flight crew with broad Aussie accents, seeing the big kangaroo on the tail, it all conspires to turn me into a blubbering mess. I hope you’re having a good trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Trish, I’ve been having my own homecoming of sorts, so I can see exactly what you mean. There is a sense of safety and homecoming in certain logos — I recall coming back from a work trip to China and seeing the SAS logo on the plane’s tailfin and automatically feeling much closer to home as a result. The Qantas ad does a great job of articulating that feeling.


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