Where Was Qantas?

At the end of the Oct. 24 "Report on Airline Safety Rates Individual Carriers," a disclaimer states: "Christopher Reynolds travels anonymously and accepts no special discounts or subsidized trips." Pity he accepts bogus figures.

As a pilot, chronic international traveler and non-Australian, I'm amazed that any article on airline safety could so conspicuously exclude Qantas Airlines. Since their inception, Qantas has never had a passenger fatality. But it seems that Reynolds doesn't allow facts, poor research or lack of travel experience to get in his way.

I should add that I am not a Qantas fan. Their meager 38-inch seat pitch in business class, indifferent cabin service and semi-useless frequent flier program is a real turnoff. But, they are the safest.


Christopher Reynolds responds: The column on the International Airline Passengers Assn. report focused on the world's largest air carriers (defined in the column as those with at least 2 million flights from 1982-92) and referred in passing to other airlines classified by the association as mid-sized and medium-small. The column didn't discuss the airlines defined by the IAPA as "small," and Qantas, with fewer than 600,000 flights during that time period, is one of those. The airline's safety record is indeed impressive; it joins Cathay Pacific Airways, Sabena Belgian World Airlines and Singapore Airlines on the IAPA list of "world's safest small airlines." None of those carriers has had a fatal accident since at least January, 1974.

In Defense of a B&B;

This is a rebuttal to "Leave It to the Locals" ("Letters," Oct. 24). My husband and I are one-time locals of St. Croix and we frequently visit. On two occasions, we were guests at the Breakfast Club Bed and Breakfast. It is three blocks from Christiansted, which is not a bad neighborhood, and we have successfully walked to town several times, accompanied by our 3-year-old son, and felt very safe. The Breakfast Club may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for clean spacious rooms, great food and wonderful innkeepers, the Breakfast Club is for you.


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