Traveller letters: How do you win the overhead luggage battle?


I read with interest the letter about the "baggage police" (Traveller letters, June 3). Long may they reign. I have recently returned from travel to and from London, and was more than a trifle miffed with people bringing on what appeared to be the contents of their house and then shoving said contents not only into their assigned overhead locker, but everyone else's locker as well.

We (husband and I) took small backpacks with change of clothing, reading material and the like and had no problems boarding in Melbourne, possibly because we got to our seats first (flying premium economy).

However, after reboarding during a stop at Dubai Airport, where we had to take all our cabin baggage off the same aircraft, we returned to find not only our assigned locker but lockers on either side crammed with the contents of the passengers in the centre who then became deaf to my husband's protest.

A lady travelling solo, advised that there was room in her locker so all was well but how rude. And don't get me started about the suits on domestic flights bringing the contents of their office. I'm more than happy with the baggage police – and hope they extend to more flights.

Maggie Parker, Sheffield, TAS


Your cover story, The Cold List (Traveller, June 3) was truly fascinating. Canada featured in 12 of the 50 locations, including Tofino on Vancouver Island, and we would like to add another Vancouver Island location to the list.

A visit to the fantastic Butchart Gardens in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, at Christmas is sheer magic. You will encounter a snow-covered, beautifully lit wonderful garden with delightful carols, a hot toddy on offer, excited chatter (not just our teeth) with happiness and joy abounding.

Bill and Elizabeth Matthewson, Doncaster East, VIC


While I agree with Joseph Ting's comment regarding Australia Post in his "Passport Controls" letter (Traveller letters, June 3), readers should take care if their photos are taken at an Australia Post agency, rather than a full-service outlet.


I had my passport photo taken at my local agency (they only take the photos, they don't do the interviews), however the measurements were incorrect and the photo had to be retaken when I attended my passport interview at a larger Australia Post office.

Lachlan Stewart, Robina, QLD


One recent Sunday we realised our five-year old's passport had expired. We were to fly to Bali on Monday at 4.30pm. Oops. We arrived at the passport office at 8am Monday with only a glimmer of hope, and that was soon dashed by a senior officer who thought the required turnaround was unlikely. We smiled hopefully and began the process. Forms were filled in, photos taken and mad dashes made across the city to get the right signatures.

By 12.30pm the passport office finally had our fee and the paperwork was in order. Qantas advised us not to change our flights, but to wait until 3.40pm (the gate closure time) as miracles could happen. At 3pm, the amazingly efficient passport office handed me the passport. Wow! Tears of joy.

A mad dash from Sydney's Central Station to the airport had us checking in with four minutes to spare. Thanks Qantas for the sound advice and thank you, thank you, thank you to the most efficient government agency in Australia.

Keith Cawthorne, Mosman, NSW


Is this a record? We just received our new UK passports that were posted for renewal to the UK on May 22. We received our new passports here on the Gold Coast at 11am on June 5. We received our Australian passport renewals four weeks after the application was submitted.

Say no more.

Peter Howe, Hope Island, QLD


I have been a travel consultant for a long time and I also fly a lot as part of the job. I constantly talk to my clients and friends about all aspects of travel and they can learn from me as much as I can learn from them. One subject that crops up often is seat inclination. (Traveller letters, June 3).

There is an etiquette and a courtesy about reclining one's seat. At meal times all seats should be in the upright position. When meals are finished and everything is cleared away one can then recline one's seat, if one wishes.

However, before doing so, it is polite to let the person behind you know that you are going to recline your seat. They can then adjust their screen and/or seat accordingly.

The seats are built to recline for a reason, one of which is to give you a small choice of angle best suited to your relaxation. If we all stick to the etiquette and courtesy above there should be no anger and frustration. The crew have enough to do without being involved in reclining seats issues.

One of the main complaints I hear is the number of people who create havoc when getting out of their seats. Some people just can't do it politely and grab and knock and twist the person's seat in front of them. Perhaps we all just need to relax when on an aircraft – most of us are on our way to a fantastic holiday.

Colin Hood, Carlton North, VIC


There is a solution to the problem created by seats being reclined: design. Several years ago, we travelled in Europe with Vueling Airlines and were surprised to find that the hard shell of our seat back was fixed. But the padded seat could slide forward. When you reclined, your feet slid comfortably under the seat in front though there was no foot rest

Judy Quintal, Beecroft, NSW


Brian Holley's letter (Traveller letters, June 3) praising Australian Seniors Insurance Agency and Chubb Insurance Underwriters is certainly justified. My husband was recently disembarked from our cruise ship medical centre to a Greek island hospital during the second week of our four-week European cruise. Fortunately, it was an excellent hospital where they discovered the cause, removed his pelvic abscess and provided excellent care during his convalescence.

The hospital account for 11 days was greater than the combined cost of our cruise and airfares and it was an enormous relief this was covered by our insurance policy. Chubbs' Customer Care Medical Assistance also organised our flights home through Athens (business class for my husband).

Jan and Rhys Davey, Nicholson, VIC

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