Letters: Seatbelt sign stays on because passengers are stupid

Buckle up

Robert Webber is not the first airline passenger to notice that the "fasten seatbelt" sign seems to be on for longer (Traveller Letters, September 1-2). This is almost certainly because if unanticipated turbulence is encountered and injuries ensue, passengers make stupid statements to the media about how the airline should have had "magical technology" that can detect clear air turbulence (none exists); and then file stupid compensation claims, failing to recognise that had they followed the airline's recommendation regarding wearing a seatbelt while seated, they probably wouldn't have been injured in the first place. It's all about risk management.

- Peter Hauser

Qantas falls short

We've just booked a short break in Vanuatu. We thought we would use our Qantas frequent-flyer points but came up a few points short. Good news: the balance payable is $4.07. Bad news: the Qantas credit card charge is $60 for two tickets. Short of fronting up to Alan Joyce and handing him the $4.07, we have no option.

- Rob Davies

Lake Orta's reward

My husband and I have recently returned from a visit to Lake Orta in northern Italy, having read about the beauty of the area (Traveller, March 24-25). We flew to Milan with Emirates and stayed at the Holiday Inn near Malpensa Airport. Next morning, we drove 96 kilometres to the Hotel Panoramico (hotelpanoramico.it) in the village of Madonna del Sasso. Lake Orta is a dream of a lake and our hotel was perched high above it, giving us the most wonderful views to Isola San Giulio and distant views of the town of Orta. A leisurely boat ride, stopping off at Isola San Giulio before travelling on to Orta, was ridiculously cheap. There were great walks, charming villages, plenty of lake ferries and tours. We ate like kings, slept like babes and will someday return to this wonderful place. Thank you, Traveller.

- Jean Jones


A night at the Opera

We will be in Paris for New Year's Eve and would appreciate recommendations for a restaurant or club that is not too touristy. We are staying in the Opera district, so somewhere not too far from there would be great.

- Brod Ivory

Car hire's hidden risk

The problem with car hire in the US (Traveller Letters, August 25-26 and September 8-9) is that most US states do not have an excess system. They operate on full fee recovery. I hate to think how many Australians hire cars in the US each year thinking their travel insurance — offering coverage of a few thousand dollars in excess for car rentals — will cover them for theft or accident. It won't.

- Maggy Tomkins

Delhi street delights

In response to Susan Braddock's request for ideas on Delhi (Traveller Letters, September 1-2 and September 8-9), I recommend the Old Delhi Bazaar Walking Tour run by the friendly and informative Dhruv (masterjikeehaveli.com). This street-food tasting tour, followed by dinner at Dhruv's beautiful home, is a fabulous introduction to the true heart of Delhi and its people. Don't eat beforehand.

- Susie Briscoe

Homage to Pokhara

My daughter lives with her Nepalese husband in Kathmandu and they frequently visit Pokhara, as we all do each time we visit them. I thank and applaud writer Louise Southerden (Traveller, September 8-9) for her accurate portrayal of this beautiful, clean, peaceful Nepalese town in a struggling little country that is frequently romanticised beyond recognition by Western tour companies. I would encourage people of any age to skip hectic, polluted Kathmandu and head straight for Pokhara. You won't regret it.

- Sue Currie

We welcome your travel-related opinions, experiences and letters. Letters may be edited for space, legal or other reasons. Email us at travellerletters@ fairfax.com.au including your name, address and phone number.