Traveller letters: Is Air Canada's motto 'We're not happy, unless you're unhappy'?

NORTHERN EXPOSURE

I laughed out loud reading Tessa Surany's "Oh Canada" letter (Traveller letters, June 22). As an expat Canadian, I can tell you the long-standing joke that the unofficial motto of Air Canada is "We're not happy, unless you're not happy".

I avoid them like the plague, and use Westjet for internal Canadian flights whenever possible. On a visit last year, we had one leg where we couldn't avoid them.

Landing in Quebec City, on time, with our bags, I breathed a sigh of relief until I realised I'd left my mobile in my seat pocket. Forty-five minutes later, when the mobile was finally returned by a surly, unconcerned employee, the screen was smashed to bits.

Yes, Air Canada eventually paid the cost of the repair, but really ? In three weeks' time, we are again visiting, and again, have one leg with Air Canada (stay tuned for an update).

David Baru, Albion, QLD

ANIMAL TRAFFICKING

Having  had the privilege of travelling through Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda last year, I read the article "Zebra crossing ahead" (Traveller, June 15) with interest.

While Ngorongoro Crater is certainly teeming with wildlife, it comes at a cost, as it is also teeming with tourists. Like your writer, Garry Maddox, we too experienced the huge numbers of safari vehicles gathering to see the lions but our experience was not so pleasant.

Two younger lions had come down the hill to the lake ahead of mum, crossing the road. Before mum arrived, many vehicles had gathered, and she had lost sight of her youngsters.

Distressed, she paced back and forth trying to work out how best to get through the maze of trucks before finally finding her way through. We found it awful to experience how tourism disrupts and disturbs the daily life of these magnificent animals, and wanted nothing more than to leave at that point.

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On the other hand, the beautiful serenity of Lake Manyara (where we did see flamingos) and the Serengeti was a wonderful contrast. My advice is that, if you want to see animals in their natural habitat, behaving naturally, stay away from the more popular game parks.

Jan Twomey, Lilyfield, NSW

GATES OF HELL

The opening of the new airport in Istanbul adds another place with inappropriate distances between transit gates.

There needs to be a reasonable solution as it is unacceptable to expect passengers to walk one or two kilometres between planes with hand luggage.

What is needed are 10- to 20-seat electric shuttles to and from remote gates to hub points. They can be introduced in months, and will be cheaper than travelators.

David Bishop, East Brighton, VIC

TRAVELLIN' MAN

Poring over Traveller's upfront Check-in section is a highlight of my Saturday morning, especially for Brian Johnston's articles.

Somehow he always manages to hit the spot with one of our favourite cities – for example the One & Only Geneva piece – evoking nostalgic memories.

Elsewhere in the section, he adds another destination to our ever-growing bucket list such as his "Once upon a time in Bavaria" article (Traveller, June 15).

Please keep travelling, Brian, you never fail to inspire us to pack our bags.

Rhoda Silber, Manly, NSW

RIGHT ON QUEUE

The letter, "Taken for a ride" (Traveller letters, June 15) reminded us of a visit to the main post office in Lisbon to buy some stamps for postcards.

It is a very large building and on our visit it was completely empty so we walked up to the nearest teller only to be directed to a queuing ticket machine.

Once we had retrieved a ticket, a light went on over the counter we had first visited and we were served by the same teller, only this time we had the necessary ticket.

Bureaucracy was alive and well in this beautiful, friendly city.

Ian Gray, Benalla, VIC

BEAR IT IN MIND

In your cover story, "Wild strife", about endangered animals last Saturday (Traveller, June 22), I was surprised that you only recommended an Arctic cruise as the best way to see polar bears.

We cruised around Svalbard [the Norwegian archipelago which lies between mainland Norway and the North Pole] one July and saw three polar bears.

Our best sighting by far was when we went to Churchill on Hudson Bay, Canada, one October and went out in tundra buggies for three days.

We saw many polar bears and even had them coming up to the tundra buggy and looking through the window. One of the naturalists on the Svalbard cruise also recommended Churchill as a place where sightings are guaranteed.

Patricia Howes, North Avoca, NSW

ROCKET MEN

In the first sentence of Julie Miller's piece on the Seattle Museum Of Flight (Traveller, June 15), Julie erroneously states that "three astronauts stepped out of Apollo 11 onto the surface of the moon".

Only two astronauts landed on the moon in Apollo 11 in July 1969.

The third astronaut, Michael Collins, had the unenviable task of remaining in the Command Module, Columbia, that circled the moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed in the Lunar Module and made those historic steps.

I remember it like it was yesterday as it occurred on my eighth birthday – July 20, 1969.

Peter Digwood, Kings Langley, NSW

JUST THE TICKET

While being fined by local inspectors is embarrassing in Venice, it is entirely avoidable by buying an ACTV travel pass from many of the larger vaporetto stations (Traveller letters, June 15), such as San Marco and S. Lucia.

They are wonderful value and give immense freedom to get lost and just find a nearby stop. They even cover the islands such as Murano and Burano. Multiple tickets are a very expensive way of doing it.

A single ticket (for just one stop) is €7.50, whereas a 48-hour pass is just €30. We buy them for all our clients when in Venice.

Stewart Cameron, Sunshine Coast, QLD

INSTA GRATIFICATION

Like Elaine Barnett (Traveller letters, June 15), I too remember the ancient site of Ephesus and marvelled at the Library of Celsus.

What amazed me even more were the three young girls in front of me who spent every second from entrance to exit doing nothing other than taking selfies.

Talk about a narcissistic generation.

Peter Miniutti, Ashbury, NSW

PLANE CONFUSING

Congratulations on your article covering the environmental implications of flying. As a small business that purchases a lot of travel, we have a company policy of purchasing carbon offsets for all flights.

The problem is, the Virgin online business booking portal doesn't enable carbon offset purchases. We have called Virgin on this matter and been encouraged to "put our complaint in writing". We have done so, with no response.

Meanwhile, our Qantas business booking portal does enable this as a default setting. So why not Virgin?

Tamerlaine Beasley, Sydney, NSW

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