Traveller letters: Why do passengers have to stand so close to the baggage carousel?

DRAWING A LINE

The photo accompanying the letter of the week (Traveller letters, May 13) is a classic example of my pet hate when travelling.

Why do passengers have to stand so close to the baggage carousel? I stand behind and have no hesitation in knocking into them with body and bags. There should be a line to stand behind and staff to ensure they do until they get the message.

John Hickey, Kirra, QLD

LETTER OF THE WEEK: TOP TIPS

A majority of people in big cities seem to believe that the Top End of Australia is a place that's hard to reach and are reluctant to drive to places like Cape York (Traveller, May 13), featured in your cover story by Craig Tansley, for fear of bad road and weather conditions. But for many years I was determined to reach the northernmost point of Australia  and I managed to find a simple and comfortable way to get there.

Qantas has daily flights to Horn Island, via Cairns, a small island just 20 minutes by ferry from Thursday Island; the ferry service meets every flight arrival and departure.

Thursday Island, which offers a variety of accommodation, is a pleasant destination to spend a few days. From Thursday Island, you can either do a day trip to Cape York to see the highlights, or stay there overnight to explore the peninsula further. Getting to Cape York from Thursday Island is easy as Peddell's runs a daily ferry service to it.

Cape York Peninsula Lodge operates four-wheel-drive tours in the region and it also arranges pick-up services from the ferry terminal. I booked a day tour of the peninsula including the Tip (as they call it). They need a minimum two passengers to run the tour. Because I was travelling solo, I had a private tour with a local guide who was knowledgeable and also willing to share customs, traditions and beliefs. It was a really great experience.

WhenI booked, flights from Melbourne to Horn Island were cheaper than the flights to Bamaga in Cape York. The fare difference covered the cost of my two nights accommodation in the Grand Hotel Thursday Island. People say these towns are expensive because of seasonal tourism, but I found their rates were reasonable. The advertised price of the day tour was $150 inclusive of lunch, with my private tour costing $275.

Sriyani Perera, Southbank, VIC

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PAIN IN THE NECK

I totally agree with Patricia Dewey (Traveller letters, May 13).  I have a problem with my neck, from a car accident many years ago, and cannot sit in a chair that is reclined more than first position on aircraft seats.

I have had seats in front of me reclined so that the back of the seat is 50-100 millimetres from my face, rendering the table and seat-back video screen useless.

Sometimes, if I'm lucky, the person in front will comply with a polite request to decrease the amount of reclining, but usually its: "Bad luck, I'm putting my chair back." Appeals to the cabin attendants usually result in:  "We cannot help."

Yes, I could pay extra for exit rows or bulk-head facing seats but my travel dollars stretch only so far. Only once have I been upgraded to an exit row and that was on check-in when I mentioned the problem to the check-in staff, and that was on a flight from Adelaide to Sydney.

I would like to see the amount that a chair can recline reduced to only the first or second position on all aircraft – period. That would end all the squabbles.

Bob Mitchell, Great Mackerel Beach, NSW

My husband had a similar experience to Patricia Dewey on an Air New Zealand flight. We were approaching our destination and my husband lent forward to put his book away in his backpack, which was under the seat. The guy in front chose that moment to fully recline his chair, hitting my husband's head and neck. Fortunately, there was no major damage. If medical assistance or ongoing therapy had been required, I wonder who would be responsible for the costs? Perhaps a law suit or two is all that is needed to make the airlines deal with this inconsiderate and possibly dangerous behaviour.

Anne Kirman, Kellyville, NSW

NO (UNDER)STANDING

This photo was taken a few weeks ago in the street behind our hotel overlooking beautiful Lavender Bay on Sydney's lower north shore. It is the most confusing parking restriction sign we have seen anywhere in our travels around the world.

As it is only minutes away from where Brett Whiteley lived, I wonder if it can be considered a work of abstract art ?

John Aarons, Brighton East, VIC

SAFARI STARTER

My brother in Madrid wants us (in Sydney) to join him and his wife on a safari in SA next Jan/Feb to celebrate his wife's 60th birthday. None of us have any experience of Africa. Is this time a good time of year to safari? Is SA the best country to safari, or should we go elsewhere? Botswana or another southern African country, or Kenya and Tanzania further to the north-east? … Can you recommend a reputable company to book through, please?

Richard Cusden, Lane Cove North, NSW

WARNING: BUMP AHEAD

I remember being bumped on a connecting flight between Dublin and Heathrow en route to Adelaide and again on a domestic flight with Jetstar. Credit to both of these carriers as they warned me BEFORE I boarded the flight. However, it does seem fit for some American domestic carriers to bump passengers AFTER they had boarded their flight. No wonder one passenger had to be dragged off the flight in protest, rightly causing a PR-legal nightmare for the carrier.

Lino Corradin, Brooklyn Park, SA

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