Hold those fees
I agree with Michael Combs ('Second thoughts in Noosa', Traveller Letters, April 21-22) that added fees for settling a hotel bill in Australia by credit card are absurd. Extra charges also mean booking domestic flights online is becoming a rip-off, too. I travel to Britain, Europe, Canada and the US, paying for some hotel stays with my credit card - for no additional fee.
Recently, when booking a spa weekend for my mother in Victoria - after the deposit was taken - it was brought to my attention that a 1.5 per cent fee would be added if I paid the balance using a credit card. Guess I'll be taking cash for this one.
It bothers me that Australian companies think imposing extra fees is an acceptable way to do business. When staying at international hotels, it's commonplace for the tariff to include breakfast, yet when I stay at hotels in Australia, breakfast is sometimes an additional $14 or so and wi-fi isn't free. International guests must really feel ripped off when holidaying here.
- Toni Frazer
What a great article on opportunities for volunteering (Holidays with shared goals, Traveller, April 6-8). I recently did a "work camp" in Turkey through International Volunteers for Peace (IVP), picking and grading olives to provide oil and fruit for a foundation that addresses racism in Germany. I worked alongside locals and volunteers from Europe and Central America ranging in age from early-20s to 60. IVP fosters peace through understanding and undertakes projects that local people cannot get done otherwise, from physical labour to assisting at festivals and creative projects. See ivp.org.au.
- Lyn Casey
Make a better impression
My wife and I are just back from 10 days in Tahiti. Outbound, we had arrived at Sydney airport several hours before the 6.30am departure of our Air Tahiti Nui flight. However, the airport flight departures board listed the flight as being delayed for three hours. We later asked a staff member, who advised there was no delay and indeed our flight left on time, so be warned and double-check the departures board information with staff. When we returned to Australia and walked from the terminal to the taxi rank, we witnessed two taxi-rank attendants shouting and almost coming to blows. I thought to myself, "What a great way to begin a trip to Australia" if you were an overseas traveller. Come on fellas, lift your game.
- Roger Skinner
Allusion ruins the illusion
I notice that in the Ramada Thailand advertisement (Traveller, April 21-22) it states: "The hotel itself eludes the five-star rating ..." Is this meant to be an inducement?
- James Howie
Biting the hand that feeds
Our travel agent wanted to charge us an additional fee if we paid by credit card. The excuse given was: "Oh, it's what the [agency] owner wants." We paid by cash.
Preferential treatment was given to the woman who was "leading" our large tour group, in that she was not charged a credit card fee. Some businesses just don't get it. We will never use that company again.
- Fiona Deegan
Bored with boarding rudeness
Why do airlines bother calling for passengers to board by row number when invariably passengers ignore the request and rush to board regardless? Why is this uncomplicated and reasonable request not better enforced at the gate?
- Stephen Kovacs
Oyster is London's real pearl
We're in London and, wow, do we miss not having your paper. Newspapers here don't warrant comparison.
Before arrival we purchased four London Passes. Given the heavy and continuous rain here since we arrived, we have been unable to use our cards enough.
We bought £240 (about $375) of value each card, but have used the equivalent of £55. Visitors to the Olympics should carefully review making such an investment. However, the Oyster card for bus and Tube travel seems a better deal for visitors.
- John Meyers
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