BOOTY AND THE BEAST
Earlier this year, I committed the ultimate sin – I dared to wear UGG Boots in Qantas business class. Normally, I wouldn't have, but I'd been working on an archaeological dig in Jordan and was physically exhausted, and I just couldn't fit them in my suitcase.
I had no trouble in the Emirates Lounge in Dubai, but, as soon as I found my seat, one Qantas crew member took an instant dislike to me. One of the other staff laughingly made a comment to me about the UGGs so I knew this was the root of the problem.
She scowled and huffed audibly when I didn't know how to set up the bedding and asked for her help, smiled and chatted to everyone else but me, and didn't offer me more than the basic cabin service. No extra wine for me. I really felt like they thought I shouldn't be in business class.
I forgot my scarf in the overhead locker upon disembarking. When I went back to get it, there she was with the rest of the crew. She glared at me like it was a wild west gunfight scene. I started to explain about the scarf and where I was sitting, but she cut me off with a growling "I remember you" and begrudgingly retrieved it for me.
I understand UGGs aren't Louboutins, but at the same time, the crew knew nothing about me but made a judgment based purely on my footwear. My money is just as good as everyone else's and I really didn't deserve to be made to feel unworthy.
Julia Carmichael, Yarraville, VIC
LETTER OF THE WEEK: BIG MAC
I was interested to read two Traveller letters last month about the great Scottish artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Anyone who is interested in this famous Scot should visit the Rousillion region in the south of France near the Spanish border, where he spent his final years.
On a recent holiday we came across numerous reproductions of his works scattered throughout the area. Five artist trails include these 30 reproductions in the exact places where they were painted.
There are also three Mackintosh interpretation centres describing his life and exhibitions including more reproductions of his artwork and furniture. The locals in this area, which is famous for its Fauvist painters, have really embraced the heritage of this wonderful artist.
Margaret Komarek, Lane Cove, NSW
Collioure, Lanquedoc-Rousillon, France. Photo: Alamy
I would like to praise the hard work of the NSW Department of Fair Trading and the Financial Ombudsman who resolve hundreds of traveller complaints efficiently and diligently with little recognition.
I had the misfortune to have to delay my flight in July due to the sudden illness of my father. Singapore Airlines was extremely unhelpful in rescheduling my flights resulting in my having to fork out for a new ticket at three times the price I had originally paid.
They eventually refunded my original ticket in November, after I lodged a complaint with the Department of Fair Trading. I had tried to resolve it with Singapore Airlines via email, phone and Facebook to no avail for four months.
I also lodged a claim with my travel insurer TID, who I had been paying insurance with for five years for the other extra travel expenses I incurred by rescheduling. By December TID had requested five medical reports, countless other extra evidence, and refused to move forward until Singapore Airlines paid out.
I lodged a dispute with the Financial Ombudsman and within a day TID notified me that they were going to pay out what was owing.
In both cases the government department's websites were easy to navigate, quick to lodge a complaint to get help and they responded within a couple of days. They contacted the offenders and got a quick resolution. They are the unsung heroes for me this year and I would like to thank them for all their help.
Marcella Lazarus, Randwick, NSW
I recently returned from a caravanning tour in South Australia including visits to the Flinders Ranges and Clare Valley. I drove on a variety of roads in SA but none compared to the conditions on the Princes Highway in Victoria I encountered after crossing the border after Mount Gambier.
Potholes, rough surfaces, lack of overtaking lanes – it was like a Third World country. Stressful and dangerous. A poor advertisement for our state to interstate visitors and both the state and federal governments should be ashamed.
Robert Mills, Mornington, VIC
A big shout out to Traveller for the many and varied articles produced each week which allow people to re-live their own travel experiences and to plan new ones.
However, I always feel a bit letdown over the Christmas period when the print edition of Traveller takes a holiday but this household looks forward to it's return in 2018 with more great inspiring travel articles and articles that allow for reminiscence.
"Best Finds'' (Traveller, December 16) left me reminiscing about a trip to Santiago de Compostela in 1982 (well before children) when the giant thurible swung high above the masses, purifying the air and "carrying the pilgrims' prayers to heaven". Certainly a sight to behold and one that has never been forgotten.
I also explored beautiful Lisbon in the same year while, post-children trips have included experiencing the beautiful subways of Moscow, and not forgetting the thrill of being in Red Square, something I had never thought I would experience.
Then there was bia hoi in Hanoi, where I worried that I would pick up some awful disease but didn't as well as cau lau in Hoi An and other memorable meals in unnamed restaurants and cafes in Vietnam.
Amazingly quirky, high-tech and traditional Japan. A place of great contradictions. The Cafe Ruiz tour in Boquete was another great find when we were there in 2014. As was people watching, tango lessons and shows in Buenos Aires. And closer to home Bruny Island, Capertee Valley and Lord Howe Island. Wow, what great experiences.
Vicki Copping, Oatley, NSW
I was astounded to read the excuse of Margaret Halley's travel agent for not informing her of the cancellation of her connecting flight in the US before she left Sydney (Traveller letters, December 9). The news of the cancellation came "just after closing time", she wrote.
I'd get a new travel agent if no one checks for important emails affecting clients, overseas and in a different time zone, between 5.30pm and 9am the next day.
Peter Shanahan, Gladesville. NSW
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