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Seasons Greetings to all members. My name is Simon and aviation and travel are my biggest passions in life. I have been fascinated by planes, travel and flight since I was 6. I spent my childhood and teenage years memorising the old Qantas and other airlines flight schedule booklets that they used to publish each year (pre internet era). By late primary school I knew every single aircraft in the Qantas fleet and could identify them by sight. I could tell you their cabin configurations, approximate range and information on all of their destination airports including distance from the airport to the city centre itself.

After graduating high school many years ago, I gained a Bachelor of Technology specialising in Air Transportation Management. As I have a super rare skin disorder, I chose not to pursue the piloting avenue as I wouldn’t have qualified due to the restrictive nature of my disability. Instead I decided that I wanted to have a career with an airline or at an airport. Little did I realise how much of a problem my disability would be for prospective employers (Although I must admit it is very difficult for me to work full time.) I did work briefly in Canberra as an Aviation consultant, which was a most satisfying job. I worked for a firm that was sub-contracted by the RAAF to conduct a very important report into noise levels around Amberley AFB. I loved it. One of the most challenging tasks I worked on was around 2010, when the RAAF were due to receive the FA/18 Super hornets. We had the most amazing, real time software, we could monitor exactly what the pilots were doing and we had deployed about a thousand Noise Monitoring Terminals (NMTs) all over Ipswich. The plan was simple. The rep from the RAAF needed to liaise with Ipswich City Council regarding residential zoning. Since the Super Hornets were 20% more powerful (and supposedly much noisier than their predecessors,) the council had to get their zoning right so that the locals wouldn’t get frustrated by loud engine noise. You know when you watch the news on the telly and the attractive gal (or guy) would start going on about high and low pressure systems and synoptic charts? Well, since sound is a form of air pressure we were tasked with preparing a comprehensive report explaining the impact of the more intense aircraft noise. We made our own synoptic charts, but used decibels instead of pascals. I was also privileged to be able to conduct an inquiry into pilots wages, which was a real eye opener.

Unfortunately though, after some time, I had on going issues with my skin and had to leave the Job and come home to Melbourne and have not worked in the industry since.

Interestingly enough though, it was around that time when I started to do some semi regular travelling of my own.

I discovered a foundation in the USA that was absolutely life changing for me and my disability, so I am off to the states every now and again.

Around this time when I first started travelling I always dreamt of being upgraded, or getting lounge access before my flights. I would often hang near the lounges and shyly, but kindly ask entering members if I could enter as their guest. Guess what. It never happened. I discovered that most people with “status” on airlines or lounge access seemed very entitled and unwilling to help.

I really don’t want to go on and on about this as I am really positive about my life, my disability isn’t terminal, but it is severe and very painful. When I fly, the dry, stale environment of the cabin causes terrible discomfort.

It wasn’t until earlier this year, that I decided to purchase a QF club membership. Flying long haul really sucks for everyone, especially those in non-premium cabins like myself. However, this year I managed to do some decent PE flying and have gained silver status with QF, and will be Gold by may. The showers in the international lounges are such a necessity for me when I travel long haul as I get the opportunity to reinvigorate my dry skin.

Anyway, enough!

I’m a genuinely positive person who has a love of life, music, tech and AFL. That being said, I have quite a bit of travel planned over the next few months and I would really love to give people the opportunity to gain access to the lounge/s with me as a guest, as I believe that giving is better than taking. I also want to do this because had I been in the positions that some of the frequent flyers were in when I tried to gain access to lounges as their guests, I would have happily obliged. I will be sure to post guesting info ASAP.

Anyway, I have been having a good read of some of the discussions on here over the past few months since I discovered it (I’m a bit of a diehard ausbt reader!)

I hope everyone in here is feeling the festive cheer and I would love to meet some of you.

My sincere apologies for the blabbering, but I wanted to get that out of the way!

Happy Travels!

July 9