Letters: Why should we applaud pilots for safe landings?

Applause for pilots

In reply to Margot Pope's letter (A big hand for happy landings, Traveller Letters, November 10-11), I ask why should we clap the pilot on a safe landing when this is what he is trained for and paid to do? Does Margot feel that a good landing is any one that you can walk away from? Let's keep clapping for special occasions and outstanding actions. I think the passengers on the flight that landed in New York's Hudson River in January, 2009, had reason to clap the pilot and co-pilot. All passengers walked away.

- Max Borgen

Perfect touchdown

On a recent flight from El Calafate, Patagonia, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, passengers spontaneously applauded when the plane touched down after an uneventful flight. I asked an Argentinian passenger next to me about the jubilation and he said that flights from Patagonia were once fraught with difficulties so it was common for passengers to celebrate a successful arrival. Perhaps air travel is such an everyday occurrence for many of us that we only complain about a less-than-perfect landing rather than acknowledging the smooth, safe touchdown.

- Kathy de Flon

Bumpy landing in LA

I and others have applauded a happy landing: flying from Sydney to Los Angeles aboard a 747, it was discovered some wheels had not come down. After many attempts to lower them, and two hours of midair manoeuvres and fuel dumping, the flight captain announced we were to undertake a difficult landing. The sensation and noise was extraordinary as we skittered along the runway. Finally coming to a stop, we all clapped, then broke Olympic records as we left the plane via the cabin slides and ran for our lives.

- Mel Green

Friendly Uzbekistan

Having travelled the China portion of the Silk Road, we decided to venture west to Uzbekistan and visit Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. We booked with Advantour, a Tashkent-based operator which offered an eight-day B&B stay (with free wi-fi) tour, airconditioned minibus transport, two domestic flights and an English-speaking guide, for $US730 [$703]. The firm also made obtaining our visas at Tashkent airport easier. Tours operate between March and October on guaranteed departure dates, with a maximum group size of 12. We travelled in October, missed the crowds and had perfect weather. Uzbekistan is safe, friendly and clean. We arrived there from Delhi, India; flights are also available from Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

- Brian Taylor

Expensive B&B overheads

Recent letters on this page include complaints about the price of Australian holiday accommodation, in particular at B&Bs (Traveller Letters, November 3-4 and 10-11). Before I can charge a guest seeking to stay at my B&B, I must pay an annual registration fee to the local council, pay for a food-handling certificate and other certificates. If the accommodation offered is for more than four people, I have to pay an additional annual registration fee, too. As I use a holiday letting agent to attract more business, I pay an annual fee to the agent as well as a 10 per cent booking fee for each booking. I purchase all necessary items: bedding, towels and accessories, plus all food. If the accommodation is a registered business, business insurance is required.

I have a B&B because I love it, and charge $150 a night. The bottom line, of course, is that if you think a place is charging too much, don't go.

- Philip Howe

Fuel surcharge's costly excuse

I recently bought a Bangkok to Sydney economy (including fuel surcharges) and used a free upgrade voucher to obtain a business-class meal. That "free" upgrade cost me an additional 2000 baht [$62]. When I asked why, I was told it was an additional fuel surcharge for business class. Work that out. Isn't it time all airlines quoted their fares as all-in and stopped using fuel as an excuse to collect extra monies?

- John Ginnane

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