Airline with heart
On a recent flight from LA to Melbourne, a passenger had a heart attack 2½ hours into the flight. Luckily there were four doctors on-board and the passenger survived. Qantas decided it would be quicker to turn back to LA than to go on to Honolulu, saving 30 minutes in what could have been a critical medical emergency, but delaying the flight by 22 hours. That meant dumping fuel and finding rooms for about 500 passengers (the A380 was almost full) on Memorial weekend in LA.
The captain led his crew with dignity and personally spoke to each passenger. The flight crew did such a great job that they were applauded as they left that morning for their break and again that night when they welcomed us back on-board. The ground staff were also great and kept everyone well informed. Conversations among the passengers were all around what a great job they did. Congratulations, Qantas, for handling the situation so well.
We have recently returned from a great four weeks in Turkey - an amazing country with welcoming and friendly people.
However, travellers should be warned of the situation that applies on arrival at Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul. Visas are available on arrival but must be paid for in US dollars, euros or British pounds - Turkish lira or credit cards are not accepted. Even worse, there is discrimination against holders of Australian (and some other) passports in that we are allowed to purchase only a 90-day visa, at a cost of €45 ($61) whereas holders of other passports (Britain included) are permitted to purchase a 30-day visa for €15.
To add insult to this injury, our flight arrived at a similar time to many others and the queueing time for a visa was almost an hour, followed by another 15 minutes to pass through immigration (a separate queue).
Just doesn't compute
Margaret Mayhew (Traveller Letters, June 1) told of the problem she and her spouse had with pre-booked holiday apartments in France. What a terrible thing computers have done to our world. Or maybe, how addicted we have become to computers.
Surely no one would really leave a pre-booked place in beautiful France just because the wi-fi connection didn't work in the apartment.
Whatever happened to computer-free holidays, where we actually talked to people we met on our travels, and we swapped ideas on where to go next, where to stay and where not to go.
It reinforces my personal pledge to stay clear of computer or tablet use while on holidays. Even in emergencies, there is always a phone to actually speak to a human being.
Vodka's the shot
During a recent tour of central Asia, several of our Australian party developed gastro, and their Australian remedies had no effect. Our bus driver suggested a shot of vodka mixed with a teaspoon of salt. Swallowed in one gulp, it was effective and used for future emergencies.
All expenses spared
In response to the travellers experiencing flight delays of more than 26 hours with Air France (Traveller Letters, June 1), we had a similar problem flying from Lima to Buenos Aires last year.
After checking the travel insurance, we made sure we got documentation from the airline, stayed at the airport hotel, rested and refreshed ourselves to resume our onward flight.
On arriving home we claimed all out-of-pocket expenses with QBE travel insurance and were fully reimbursed.
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