Letters: Aussies clueless at US airport security

US checkpoint confusion

I'm surprised at the number of Australians demonstrating cluelessness at checkpoints at US airports ('Security overkill', Traveller Letters, July 28-29). Before you get to the scanners, your boarding pass will be checked against your government-issued photo ID. Have both ready to be inspected before you get to the front of that long line of people. To pass through security, you will need to remove shoes, jackets, jumpers, hats, sunglasses, likely also your watch, mobile phone, wallet and belt.

You will need to remove from your bag your laptop (but not iPads, Kindles, etc) and toiletry kit. All fluids in container sizes smaller than four fluid ounces (about 120 millilitres) must be in zip-lock plastic bags. Any container of more fluid/cream/gel than that will be confiscated (or you can return to the airline counter to check it in as checked-in luggage). There are no exceptions so please do not complain when your Chanel perfume in the five-ounce bottle is confiscated. A smile, nod and instant compliance with any request by a security agent will get you (and the people behind you) through security faster.

- Chris Keane

Name game

I was running, literally, for a flight at New York's JFK airport. I was in the security queue and the person ahead of me was being difficult, refusing to give his full name to the official. Eventually he relented. "I knew you could do it, honey," said the official. I had my passport and boarding card held high and blurted out my name as soon as she looked at me. "You couldn't wait to tell me your name, could you, honey?" she said with a smile. I said that it was not often a good-looking woman wanted to know my name. "You are cute," she said."I'm putting you to the top of the line." And she did.

- Sean Lyons

Service provides an extra smile

I booked rooms at the Hotel Amiot in Paris recently. Not realising I had booked for a calendar month too early, I was shocked to receive a "no-show" email advising me that I had been debited with the full cost of the rooms I had reserved, as per the terms under which I had made the booking. I emailed the hotel with my apology and explained my mistake. I asked if I could be allowed to take the charge across to the new booking for a month later. To my surprise, a day later I received notice that my money was refunded because we had made another booking. That's great PR.

- Helen Barker

Western adventure

I have been unwell but I want to travel with my carer to Perth on the Indian Pacific. I'm 60, can't walk long distances and unsure if I can undertake a package tour. Where's a nice place to stay in Perth? Where else can I go? What do readers recommend?

- Sophi Suttor

Share the bears

How exciting to open Traveller and discover the article on China's pandas ('There's a bear in there', Traveller, July 21-22). My husband and I were privileged to have this experience last year and highly recommend it, though it is not for the faint-hearted. We trained hard for the steep hills and long days and were not put off by the primitive accommodation available. The amazing trackers took us to see four pandas in nine days and showed us endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys, takin, flying squirrels and amazing bird life - all this in a beautiful wilderness. Our trip was with Great Bear Nature Tours (greatbeartours.com).

- Fiona Loxton

Luxury for families

I agree with Kathleen Walker ('Don't forget the children', Traveller Letters, July 21-22), who laments the difficulty of finding family luxury options in Australia. Not all families want to holiday on a budget. Many want a luxurious place to stay without feeling as though we are impinging on the quiet romantic getaway of couples.

- Suzanne Lawrence

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