Traveller letters: I screamed the plane down

SCREAMING TRUTH

After reading Luxe Nomad (September 27-28) and the dilemma regarding misbehaving children, I felt I needed to own up to my own poor behaviour on a plane. At the age of three, I was accompanying my parents on a flight. With me was my imaginary friend, Ginger who was in the seat beside me. A very large man sat on him and I screamed the place down apparently. I would like to say sorry, 51 years later, to all those on board the flight.

- Kimerley Brown

I refer to Lee Tulloch's Luxe Nomad, (September 27) and must say, she has the patience of a saint. I was absolutely appalled to read that she and her husband had to endure, in my words, seven hours of torture from this child. Sure, I have travelled countless times on flights where there have been "crying, and whingeing" children and on most occasions, the parents have tried diligently to keep their offspring quiet and under control, but the young couple who allowed their daughter to throw  a tantrum for the entire journey with only a modicum of control and then "give up" and allow her to run wild down the aisle, is just not on! I have just two words to parents who cannot control or discipline their children on flights - STAY HOME!

- Sandra Cascone

Lee Tulloch (Traveller, September 27-28) showed incredible restraint in not reacting openly to a seven-hour tantrum by an undisciplined toddler. Some of us wouldn't have waited seven minutes, let alone seven hours!  Everyone needs to be assertive and take some action when this type of situation occurs, if only by getting a flight attendant to intervene. Doing nothing gives these incompetent parents the green light to allow their child to repeat the  behaviour.  Sure, we need to appreciate the challenges of travelling with toddlers and make every allowance but Lee's experience was way over the top.

- Ray Keipert

Hallelujah, Chris Roylance (Letters, September 27), when I read your timely epistle about children on trains-and-boats-and-planes who act like Grand Poobahs with doting parents as acolytes, I gave you a high five by remote. If I hear once more, "sweetie, I'll check to see if they can get you pork ribs with a raspberry reduction" while 4-5 year old "sweetie" pouts, yells and stamps its frustrated feet, I'll take the nearest exit, preferably with "sweetie" on my left hip. Only kidding ... half. 

- Rosemary O'Brien

Oh dear, Chris Roylance,  it seems the type of behaviour that has  irritated you immensely, is evident not only in children. Your response to Lorna Milligan was the literary equivalent of a rolling-on-the-floor, wailing, screaming, red-faced tantrum. A little parenting advice:  patience is a virtue.

- Alana Hulme Chambers

WET BLANKET

I travelled with Emirates from Dubai to Melbourne on September 27. I had an incident at the bulkhead near the kitchen where I was sitting. A leak had saturated my handbag and boots (I had taken them off)  which were on the floor. A steward took the blanket from my lap to put on the floor, and I was told not to worry – when we arrive in 11 hours time, things will be dry. On the way to the toilet in my wet boots I spoke to another steward who arrived 20 minutes later with slippers and an Emirates bag to tip my wet belongings into. Eventually I got my coat and scarf from the overhead locker to keep warm. When we did arrive in Melbourne, there were four blankets and a stack of pillows below my cold feet, and I left the plane upset, in damp boots, and carrying a smelly soggy handbag. 

- Bernadette Miles

NO SNOW JOB

I was interested to read of readers' opinions of the cost of skiing in Australia. Perhaps it would be helpful to know of the relative costs paid by Australian operators, to regulatory authorities such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service, when compared to their Northern Hemisphere cousins? As a service provider in the NSW skifields, I can assure your readers that a very significant percentage of our income is paid to NPWS for the privilege of doing business in the skifields. Anyone who thinks operating in the snow is a licence to print money needs to know how much it costs and how little time there is each year to recoup these costs.

- Phil Jacombs

JUST NOT CRICKET

Flying out of Gatwick a few years ago, my backpack was too large for the check-in so I was directed to "Oversize Baggage". The dour attendant in his grey dustcoat had me  place my bag on the slow-moving conveyor belt; as it inched its way up the belt, I was reminded of a coffin entering the crematorium furnace. As the bag began to disappear  the attendant  said seriously, "You won't be getting the ashes back". I instantly imagined my belongings being incinerated, until he  quickly added, " The Ashes -  cricket -  you're an Australian aren't you?"

- Brian Lamprell

KASHMIR UNDER WATER

Your article on Kashmir (September 27) while mentioning "dangers and delights" and a note about safety, completely ignored the fact that earlier this month, the heaviest monsoon rains in 50 years caused widespread flooding resulting in excess of 250 deaths. DFAT reports significant damage to infrastructure and services and for Jammu and Srinigar, their advice is to "Reconsider your need to travel".  Your failure to at least mention this borders on the irresponsible.

- Mike Cuming

LETTER OF THE WEEK

In the past year I have taken two long haul flights during daylight hours - the first from Honolulu to Sydney with Hawaiian Airlines and recently Sydney to New Delhi with Air India. Within 90 minutes of takeoff, cabin staff had imposed darkness on the passengers – Hawaiian, by ensuring every window shutter had been lowered and Air India by using  their 787 window tint technology. No wonder the numerous children were confused! Might be great for reducing cabin activity but leaves an entire flight stumbling off the aircraft feeling totally disorientated. Let's hope the flight deck weren't in the dark as well! 

- Malcolm Harrison

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