Traveller letters: This is your Jetstar captain, not speaking

LETTER OF THE WEEK

THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN NOT SPEAKING …

When flying domestic Australian airlines I have become accustomed to hearing a few words from the captain soon after taking off and again just before landing.

As a slightly nervous traveller I have always found this quite reassuring as well as appreciating the practical information provided which usually includes the weather and time at the destination.

Recently, when flying with Jetstar Sydney to Adelaide, there was only one brief announcement  from the flight deck – it was more of a "thank-you for flying with us" than anything else.

On the return, the captain was not heard from at all. On neither trip was mention made of the 30-minute time difference between the two cities. Is this a new practice by Jetstar? Surely providing passengers with details of flight duration, weather and time differences is a basic requirement.

Margaret Hogan, Lindfield, NSW

DRIVING FORCE

Like Sandra McVitty (Traveller letters, April 8) I would like to express my utmost thanks and appreciation to our driver-guide Sandamal during our recent trip to Sri Lanka. Not once did he flinch while negotiating traffic in Colombo, which suddenly saw two lanes become four as three-wheelers etc jockeyed for positions.

There was no road rage and his sense of humour kept us relaxed in the most trying conditions, including the afternoon downpours. I did not brave the front seat but could see enough traffic to realise what he was coping with. On one occasion all traffic stopped to allow a monitor lizard to cross the road safely.

Ros Barwick, Sunnybank Hills, QLD

Sandra McVitty (Traveller's Letters, April 8), with our rate of road deaths a fraction of Sri Lanka's, I will take our road-raging drivers any day.

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Michael Hayen, Kingston Beach, Tasmania

FINE WHINES

I applaud David Harkness (Traveller letters, April 15) for highlighting the infinite letters of complaint on this page. Perhaps it accounts for my recent letter remaining unpublished because of its heartening good news which related to you disparaging items on US Homeland Security (Traveller Letters) as I was packing to leave for Honolulu. Despite the upset and problem experienced by both travellers, I believe them to be isolated incidents.

This morning at Honolulu Airport I was greeted back to the US by a warm and friendly Homeland Security official that reflected the typical relaxed Hawaiian. I'd fly Hawaiian Air every time to make their extensive direct connections over Honolulu to mainland USA.

Tony Dear, Abbotsford Cove, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE Traveller, in fact, has in recent months published a number of reader letters in its letters section lauding US immigration officers and members of the American general public.

AUSTRALIAN STORY

I read David Harkness' comment about "peak complaint" and smiled, having recently enjoyed a perfect holiday close to home.

The volunteers at Puffing Billy in Victoria's Dandenongs waved us off on a beautiful autumn morning. A Shane Jacobsen lookalike drove us around his orchard giving us fresh fruit bites, while at dinner we marvelled at a soft pink reflected sunset behind Mount Riddell.

One morning at 7am I counted five hot air balloons in the west, while the Healesville Sanctuary Birds of Prey performance was amazing. Kangaroos at my bedroom window, cascading water at Steavenson Falls, a garden with a birch forest, and a tour of Marysville with Peter … We are so lucky to live in Australia. No more international flights for this old bird.

Evelyn Lawson, Karingal, VIC

EAT YOUR VEGIES

Can I suggest a review of vegetarian meals on flights for Traveller? Having travelled on a range of airlines I am constantly surprised at how awful the vegetarian option is. I don't expect fantastic food on flights but something edible would be really nice for a change.

Some airlines offer a range of vegetarian options. However, whatever choice is made, you are always given the vegan option. Some airlines are now including a vegetarian option for those who haven't ordered one and these seem much better options.

However, if you have pre-ordered vegetarian you are not able to have these. Maybe a review may encourage the airlines to lift their game?

Sally Banfield, Marrickville, NSW

Marie Hall (Traveller letters, April 1) commented on how long it took to get money back from the host after an Airbnb booking was cancelled the day before arrival. The host gets your money after you have commenced your stay; if they cancelled the booking, they would never have received your money. The Airbnb website is clear about how to request a refund (you can also transfer your money to another booking so you need to decide) – you log in, find the cancelled reservation and click on the ''request a refund'' button.

Maree Conway, North Melbourne, VIC

ROOM WORTH A VIEW

On a recent trip to Caye Caulker in Belize, Central America, I was allocated a truly dreadful room at ground level on a busy street. This meant it would be impossible to open the windows or pull back the curtains. However, after about an hour the son of the manager appeared at the door and asked if I would like to upgrade my room.

He took me to see the room on the second floor and then at my request carried my large bag up to the new room. I tipped him for this service. I was surprised when the room was not serviced the next day or the following two days I was there.

When another member of my group had been allocated a dreadful room he returned to reception brandishing $US10 and requested a room upgrade and was given a room on the second floor with a view.

Judith Rostron, Killarney Heights, NSW 

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