Letters: Qantas saves the day

Earlier this month I travelled in Qantas economy class with my daughters from Canberra to Cairns for a wedding. In transit in Brisbane airport I absent-mindedly left my suit pack in the plane's hanging space. I remembered in Cairns, much to the dismay of my youngest daughter, whose bridesmaid's dress was also in the suit pack.

Qantas customer service staff in Cairns were exemplary and I particularly would like to thank Mr Cooper for going to a great deal of trouble and phoning the airports to which the plane subsequently travelled. The suit pack was found and he arranged for its transport to Cairns. I had it five hours later, well in time for the wedding, and with a beaming youngest daughter.

- Michael Ellis

Comfort for colds

Brian Noad (Letters, May 5-6) rightly points out that travellers should be prepared. But he and others should remember that no matter where you are in the world, antibiotics won't work for colds and flu. Taking antibiotics for viruses like these contributes to antibiotic resistance. The best way to treat a cold or flu is to take it easy, get plenty of rest and fluids, and relieve a headache, sore throat or runny nose with over-the-counter medicines or home remedies.

- Lynn Weekes

Japanese cure

I'm sure Japan's pharmacies are well stocked with up-to-date medicines if you're worried about catching the flu in Tokyo (Letters, May 5-6). Don't bother taking a supply of antibiotics: they act on bacteria and are useless against a virus.

- Bill Doyle

Driving in South America

Does anyone have experience of, and advice about, hiring a modest car or campervan in Chile and Argentina?

- Alison Humphreys

TripAdvisor reviews

I was shocked to read about the TripAdvisor experience at Ballina Beach Village (Letters, May 5-6). I mostly disregard reviews by anyone who has only ever posted one review to TripAdvisor, particularly when giving a place an "excellent review", as manipulation and deception can come from either side. If the majority of "excellent reviews" for accommodation are from one-time-only contributors, I generally ignore them as I place importance on the reviews posted by people who have made many contributions over a period of time. I place importance on the feedback provided by owners and managers on how they deal with customers who are less than happy. I have read some hysterically funny responses from operators that range from total rudeness to defence of the indefensible to a genuine desire to address issues.

- Catherine Sheba

Tactless wireless fees

Good on you Rebecca Rogers (Letters, May 5-6) and Asad Adeni (April 14-15). We refuse to pay for wi-fi in hotel rooms. We tell our travel agent not to recommend hotels that want to charge separately for this service. If we are not advised beforehand and get this charge sprung on us when paying our account on departure, we refuse to pay it. We will not pay a fee for settling our account with a credit card, either.

- Brian Wilder

And more on credit

There have been plenty of objections in Traveller's letters pages to credit-card surcharges imposed for accommodation and transport in Australia. How about the outrageous 10 per cent surcharge on credit-card payments for taxis to and from Tullamarine, on top of booking fees, a higher tariff during peak hours, after-hours and airport-toll fees? I have not encountered this type of gouging in London or New York.

- Joseph Ting

Golf clubs below par

The article by Daniel Fallon about a New Zealand golfing and lodge-stay long weekend (Traveller, May 5-6) was most enjoyable but whoever signed off on those pictures of golf clubs knows nothing about golf. Wooden clubs (published on the cover of Traveller) haven't been in use for probably 30 years or more. The small picture of five clubs accompanying Fallon's story are a mixture of left- and right-handed; perhaps for the novice golfer who doesn't yet know whether he or she is right- or left-handed? There are five clubs shown, whereas a set of real golf clubs would certainly have no less than ten irons, plus a putter and three "metal woods" (a driver, and two fairway clubs).

- Fergus McClory

Thank you, Fergus, will update our gear soonest - Ed.

Liberty belle

I booked a tour to St Petersburg, Russia with Liberty Ltd, which specialise in tours for the disabled. Olga, our English-speaking guide for our five-day stay, met us at the airport, accompanied us to our (ideally located) Petro Palace hotel courtesy of her company's special-needs bus and returned daily with the driver, Alexandra. My wife is wheelchair-bound and for us to see this great city in such a relaxing manner is a credit to Liberty and the people of St Petersburg.

 - Peter Huber

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