Traveller letters: Beware bogus companies charging to find your lost luggage

LOSING IT

I left my iPad in the plastic container while going through security at Sydney Airport and didn't retrieve it.

In a jet-lagged state I realised I what I'd done and Googled lost property. I picked the first site, and foolishly paid $42 to them to search for it. I have not heard from them since.

I then found a link to lost property at Sydney Airport directly, and they found the item promptly and I can pick it up on my return there. They have been excellent.

So, if you leave or lose something, look for the airport lost property directly, and don't fall into the trap that I stupidly did.

Rob Chapman, Coffs Harbour, NSW

LETTER OF THE WEEK

SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA

I was recently on QF2 when the death of a female passenger occurred a few seats away in business class.

During a stressful and tragic three hours, the Qantas team acted with the utmost professionalism, care and compassion for the passenger, fellow travellers and crew.

After an hour of traumatic and unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate the passenger, police statements and dealing with the morning's event, the cabin crew cleaned up, pulled off their blue medical gloves, donned their jackets and served tea, coffee and croissants to a sombre and weary cabin. It was a stoic effort from a tired team and worthy of commendation.

Tom Baker, Artarmon, NSW

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WARNING: DOUBLE-DIP AHEAD

My wife and I recently returned from an amazing trip to South Africa where we rode the Rovos Rail, stayed in two separate game reserves, spent five nights in Cape Town and drove the magnificent Garden Route. The trip was packaged for us by a travel agent (presumably using figures provided by a SA wholesaler) and came to in excess of $22,000.

None of the costs were itemised apart from the flights. The car hire company (Europcar) requested our credit card details "in case we didn't refill with fuel before return".

Our credit card was then debited around $140 (after conversion) for a "one-way drop-off surcharge plus document administration fee". Now, since the company knew precisely where we would pick up and drop off the vehicle before they quoted us, why weren't these costs in the original quote?

We wonder if they have double-dipped. Also, they didn't turn up to collect the car when they said they would. We had to ring and then wait for them to come. We probably wouldn't use Europcar again.

Phil Campbell, Seymour, VIC

GOD BLESS AMERICA

David Davies (Traveller Letters, June 30) could well be describing any place in the US when talking about heavily armed police, security and military personnel at the Entebbe Uganda airport terminal.

Nerida Walters, Chifley, NSW

We've just finished reading "Letter of the week" (Traveller Letters, July 7), and were surprised to find such a "seasoned traveller" was unaware of this situation.

We travelled to Cuba last year and had a wonderful trip, without having any problems of this nature.

Before leaving home, we did some online research, and found out the information regarding Westpac and other US-affiliated companies, so therefore it was not an issue.

Our point being is all this and other relevant information is freely available on the internet. Do your homework, and this sort of problem is alleviated.

Peter Morcom, McMahons Point, NSW

QUITE A SPRAY

Fellow plane travellers please, if you have a sneezy, coughing cold, use the elbow method, a tissue or at least a hand to stifle any spray of infectious globules.

Travelling from Dubai recently, I cringed each time the guy sitting in front coughed commando style, and that was often. Upon landing, he stood and faced the back of the plane and ejected another unconstrained fountain of airborne germs.

As I now cough and splutter into my elbow, I curse his poor upbringing. Basic etiquette might have saved me, and possibly others, from catching the dreaded lurgy.

Gillian Scoular, Annandale, NSW

ROOM WITH A DO

On a recent trip around England we stayed at several hotels that allowed pets in the rooms.

At one up-market hotel as we were about to step into an elevator when in front of us a person's dog had diarrhoea. It was quickly cleaned up but one wonders what happens in the rooms.

Ken Endacott, Hawthorn, VIC

HUMAN FACTOR

In response to the letter by John Hart, "Suspicious in Mauritius" (Traveller Letters, June 30), I gave a poor review of a hotel we stayed at in Bristol, in Britain.

It involved a manager who was verbally abusive and unpleasant to us, with the likely scam of asking for cash when their credit card machine "failed" to recognise PINs of our credit cards (which we had used for four weeks without any problems).

After my review I was contacted by TripAdvisor concerned about the situation we experienced and seeking more information. We were given an email address to reply with the additional information and they would follow up on this poor experience.

The email address given was "Content Integrity" in the address section, someone called Dan signed the email, so there would appear to be people at TripAdvisor.

Eira Battaglia, Seaforth, NSW

RATTLE PRATTLE

Brian Johnston (Traveller, June 30) sounds like an old Sydneysider recalling Sydney's toast-rack trams pre-World War II when all the doors did rattle.

However, European trams have moved on since then. I've been on a Vienna tram – possibly the one in Brian's photo – and it didn't rattle.

Sydney now has modern trams, with more to come. They squeal a bit on sharp curves – turning into Hay Street from Central Station – but otherwise they are well behaved.

Ian Grant, Mount Victoria, NSW

SEWERS CRISIS

While on a trip to New York with my girlfriend, I thought perhaps a romantic evening stroll might be in order.

An opportunity to see the Manhattan skyline and walk hand in hand with my partner. Planning being never my strong point, I thought we would just see where our feet took us.

Unfortunately for me, we ended up at the New York Sanitation Department. A mistake my girlfriend reminds me of regularly.

Ahhh romance.

Dominic Hanson, North Parramatta, NSW

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