Traveller letters: Special needs travellers that experience 'miracle cures' on international flights

MIRACLES AT 30,000 FEET

Has anyone else experienced "miracle cures" on international flights?

I have witnessed this several times on long-haul sectors where an apparently disabled person in a wheelchair obtains priority boarding but on arrival walks off the plane unassisted. First to board, but not last to leave.

Why fly to Lourdes when the flight itself has miraculous healing properties?

Paul Howat, Lalor, VIC

LETTER OF THE WEEK: OH CANADA

I want to express big thank-you for your mention in your "World's 50 second-best restaurants" cover story (Traveller, May 6) of Nightingale, a restaurant in Vancouver, Canada.

We made a dinner booking after reading the review for our June-July trip and were extremely impressed. The food was amazing with 47 share plates to choose from, making it difficult to order.

The wait staff were enthusiastic, friendly and helpful and mentioned that since an Australian newspaper had reviewed the restaurant, they'd had many bookings from Australians.

They were truly grateful and appreciative. For us, it was a great food experience and without the review we would have missed the experience (we also even returned for a quick lunch when coming back through Vancouver on our return to Australia.

Tracey Brown, Dural, NSW

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WELL GROUNDED

I flew from Johannesburg to Perth South African Airways Flight SA185 on the July 1 connecting with Qantas Flight 768 to Melbourne. As soon as the flight arrived at the gate an announcement was made over the aircraft's PA that those passengers joining QF768 would be met by Qantas ground staff and assisted to get to the domestic terminal.

On leaving the aircraft Qantas staff were on the air bridge and informed us what to do. As soon as we cleared immigration we were to meet in the luggage collection area which we did (they had trolleys for us) and we were then escorted to the customs area and cleared through without a hassle.

We were then taken to a taxi rank where a taxi was obtained and we were transported to the domestic terminal. The Qantas ground staff were excellent and their help was greatly appreciated. I would call this Qantas service with a capital "S".

James Murphy, St Kilda, VIC

TONGUE LASHING

Vivienne Player (Traveller letters, July 29) offers some excellent advice in encouraging airline staff who are not native English speakers to speak slowly and clearly when making announcements in English. It's a shame she did not include probably the most valuable piece of advice, that is, to speak loudly.

English speakers have long known that the way to make oneself understood to speakers of other languages is to speak loudly with a condescending and exasperated tone.

Works every time.

Cliff Jahnsen, Bowral, NSW

HOLA FOR A MARSHALL

What a wonderful article and pictures on Patagonia (Traveller, July 29). Thanks to Catherine Marshall, with her delightful writing, Argentina is now on my bucket list of places to visit.

Pam Hauwert Kialla, VIC

METAL AS ANYTHING

I fully sympathise with your correspondent, Dennis Rutzou, regarding airport security scanning with metal knee implants (Traveller letters, July 29). My elderly husband with two hip replacement was made to walk back and forth umpteen times.

As the officer appeared to be showing off to a younger colleague I found the senior officer and complained about this humiliating treatment. I'm glad to say she promptly went to speak to the man.

Megan Peniston-Bird, Hawthorn, VIC

With metal in one knee, both ankles, half my spine, one wrist and my mouth, I always require the more extended check you describe. My experiences have always been positive. Arriving earlier than needed means I am not rushed.

A smile and positive comment to security staff is always well-received. This has been my experience both in Australia and overseas, including the Middle Eastern countries where the process is a bit different for women.

Ann Key, Grovedale, VIC

Oh dear Dennis, take a breath and let it go. My husband has a fake hip and a fake shoulder (I married him for spare parts). He used to, like you, get irritated by the extra five minutes it takes to be scrutinised at airports until he let it go.

Would you rather have a completely secure airport where all with metal are scrutinised for a few extra minutes with a tiny walk in socks to the chairs to put your shoes back on? Or would you like a easy entry for all those who say they have "fake hips" by providing a possibly fake doctor's card?

I for one am happy to wait a little as my husband is checked in the interests of safety and he doesn't ask for a "throne" to put his shoes back on.

Kaye Siegert,Wodonga, VIC

While I sympathise with Dennis Rutzou's issues with metallic joints and airport security scans, I am sure that if one was able to show a card to avoid the metal detector check it would not be long before terrorists took  advantage of this!

Dave Torr, Werribee, VIC

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

While in agreement with seat61.com being a good reference for train travel, Germans being Germans the bahn.de website (easily changed to English from the drop-down menu) is excellent and convenient for searching intercity trains across Europe.

Daniel O'Keefe, Five Dock, NSW

POOR CONNECTION

When are Australians going to realise that self-catering accommodation must include Wi-Fi? I have no trouble booking self-catering accommodation with free Wi-Fi in European countries.

Regrettably, in Australia, accommodation with Wi-Fi is the exception rather than the rule. Self-catering accommodation in Australia is also far more expensive than comparable European accommodation. No wonder people flock to Europe for their holidays.

Sue Martin, Avalon Beach, NSW

CASE STUDY

Bruce Laing, in his letter about buying suitcases from op shops (Traveller letters, July 21), should be applauded for solving our First World problems. I agree completely with his ethos and would add the advice to pack carefully, and if your bits break, it's your problem.

Di McWilliam, Miranda, NSW

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