TICKETS ON HIMSELF
To the rude older man flying back from Hong Kong to Sydney who scowled at every kid who made a peep (not mine), then reclined his chair onto my 29 weeks pregnant wife (thus aiding DVT), complained if she attempted to use her onboard entertainment (in his headrest), flashed his Marco Polo Lounge card like the pompous idiot he was and then lay across his unoccupied row, while leaving his seat reclined: Your sense of entitlement does not match your ticket. If you want to be treated as the only person on the plane, charter a flight or don't fly.
On the upside, Qantas was awesomely great, and the flight attendants should take a bow for their friendly and high level service. You make flying with kids a pleasure.
Christopher McMullen, Ferny Grove, QLD
LETTER OF THE WEEK
I enjoyed your feature on the Bungle Bungles (Traveller, August 6-7). I once travelled from Broome to Kununurra by a Greyhound coach. Remote in the never-never land, it was a remarkable experience, rarely matched before or since.
I thought, as an Australian, that I could relate to my surrounds but not so for the spiritual nourishment of traversing this haunting region left an indelible impression. It taught me why Indigenous people connect with our environment in such a special way.
Mike Fogarty , Weston, ACT
LET'S (NOT) DO LUNCH
Ute Junker suggests that few people undertake the gruelling road trip into the Bungle Bungles. We recently did undertake this trip and were well rewarded.
However, we were so disappointed to read Junker's suggestion that people linger with their packed lunches in one of the Bungle Bungles' signature sites, Cathedral Gorge.
On our visit we experienced a tour group monopolising the remote and iconic site, eating their packed lunches. Despite waiting some time, we were never afforded a view or a photograph of this majestic site that wasn't dominated by this thoughtless group of travellers.
Lorraine Bowman, Chatswood NSW
Almost 50 years ago, just before I left Australian shores for the first time, a wise old teacher gave me this advice: Rule one – talk to strangers (Traveller, August 6-7) What a splendid rule it has turned out to be.
Over years of travel in Europe, Asia and America I have made so many new friends, some short-term, some life-long. Later this year, I'll be ticking off a major bucket-list item, New England in autumn – all because of a casual conversation with two lovely ladies on a train last year.
So I heartily agree with Julietta Jameson's rule number 9, "thou shalt talk to strangers". However, I have a question: most times when I'm a solo male traveller it's not difficult to say hello. But my female friends say it's a whole different ball game for them.
Hugh O'Keefe, Elizabeth Bay, NSW
I found your cover article on the 10 rules for travelling overseas silly and offensive, especially when some of your own interpretations directly contradict the truly divine commandments, like "thou shalt worship all manner of gods and idols" and "thou shalt covet thy neighbour's house".
It's because we are living in these ways that people's lives are in such a mess and people have no hope in life or beyond death. Jesus Christ kept these commandments perfectly for us so that we could find peace with God and have joy in living and hope beyond death.
Douglas Milne, Burwood East, VIC
UP THE CREEK
We recently visited the US and made car rental bookings before our departure through Kayak booking site. Our first confirmed booking reference through Kayak was with Dollar Rental which subsequently refused to honour the booking, leaving us stranded and in need of a taxi back to the airport.
Additionally, we had to pay about 45 per cent more for a short notice walk-up rental from another supplier. Our next rental through Kayak was with Budget which offered to honour the confirmed booking but from a location about 16 kilometres from the airport and which was closed at the time of our arrival. Another more expensive rental.
Budget claimed this is common practice with Kayak that catches many unaware. The off-airport locations enable these sites to offer lower prices as they avoid airport taxes and surcharges.
Warwick Artis, Bathurst, NSW
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
We booked accommodation in Port Douglas via HotelsCombined and subsequent Hoteling websites, only to find on arrival our booking was cancelled due to Hoteling going into administration in Britain. Having to pay again for accommodation, HotelsCombined totally washed its hands of the situation, claiming it was just a search engine and, besides giving us a website to contact in Britain, took no responsibility for bookings done through its website.
Terry Tobiansky, Wollstonecraft, NSW
GOD BLESS AMERICAN
One of my pieces of luggage was delayed by several days late last year on a trip to Cuba, flying American Airlines from Los Angeles to Mexico City. I lodged the paperwork and eventually received my bag in Cuba, with some items missing.
I tried to claim from AA, but it wouldn't pay anything without receipts, which I didn't have. I struggled with the airline for several months, even trying the Fair Trading people in NSW, who also tried for me, to no avail.
Having virtually given up, I saw a letter in "Traveller letters" with a similar problem with AA, and the writer had sent a letter to the chief executive.
I thought it was worth a try, found the name and email of the chief executive of American Airlines and emailed him. The next day I received an email from the airline's baggage claims staff telling me they had decided to pay my claim. I received the money in my account some weeks later. So, thanks again, contributors to "Traveller letters".
Alex Danilov, Naremburn, NSW
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