Traveller letters: Perth's terminal 4 not suitable for Qantas' international

IT'S TERMINAL

Qantas has recently shifted all its international flights departing from and arriving into Perth to Terminal 4 (the old domestic airport).

This creates some problems departing Perth, such as the Qantas lounge being on the wrong side of passport control and security, though the bigger issue is arriving into Perth.

The airport is not set up for international arrivals so you get funnelled through a duty free store smaller than my bedroom. You have to squeeze past people trying to buy something.

Then, because the "arrivals hall" (and I use those words loosely) is so small you have to wait at the top of the stairs (or if you are in the back half of the plane, in the tiny duty free outlet) for a Qantas staff member to let batches of 20 people down the stairs to wait for passport control.

Passport control cannot deal with the numbers as there are only four stations (but only three ever seem to work). There are no automatic machines to allow speedy exit and so everyone has to be manually processed, which invariably takes forever with only three staffed terminals.

Quite frankly, the set-up is entirely inadequate and hardly befitting Qantas passengers entering Australia's fourth largest city. I cannot imagine this being considered suitable anywhere else in Australia.

Peter Galvin, Nedlands, WA

LAKE IN FRIGHT

In early October we decided, as part of a journey through Britain, to take a leisurely drive through the Lake District from Keswick, the ancient town at the district's northern end, down the length of Lake Windermere, enjoying the famed scenery and finding a pleasant spot to overnight.

In the event,  we endured slow-moving, nose-to-tail traffic, highly commercialised towns teeming with people and no available parking.  Furthermore, English country roads, hemmed in by hedges and embankments, do not offer spots where you can pull off the road and enjoy the scenery.

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We were glad to exit the Lake District and go on to the charming old town of Kirkby Lonsdale, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, where we could park, stretch our legs, find a bed and enjoy a relaxed meal and a stroll.

Sadly, the Lake District has become so popular year-round that this is now normal.

We humans tend to despoil places we love by flooding to visit them. The Lake District, like Bath, Paris, Dubrovnik and many more, is just another example of this. Let it be said, we are among the guilty.

Brian Macdonald, Watsonia, VIC

LIVE AND LET FRY

We recently travelled around South Australia for a month, staying at many different motels, hotels and bed and breakfast. One thing we noticed is that many places that call themselves a B&B should more accurately be called a "bed and do-it-yourself breakfast".

Breakfast provisions such as eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, cereals and toast are provided, but travellers are required to prepare and cook their own breakfast and often to clean up afterwards.

This may be fine if there is a commensurate discount involved, but sometimes quite expensive B&Bs still require customers to prepare their own meal and tidy up.

So be careful when you are booking a B&B online as breakfast may require your own time and effort to make it, and that time loss needs to be factored into your schedule.

Pauline Croxon, Undercliffe, NSW

GREEN TEA

I was flying with Qantas recently and asked for a cup of tea in my clean reusable cup and was refused.

"We can pour it from the [non recyclable] paper cup into your cup. This is a safety and liability issue. Company policy."

It seems that Qantas is committed to taking our money to offset emissions but not to reducing waste.

Colleen Jackson, Port Melbourne, VIC

SLING SHOTS

I was interested to read Greg McLagan's surprise on being billed $US13.50 a day for tips/gratuities while on a 24-day cruise in the Mediterranean (Traveller letters, November 10). All cruise lines, after all, explain this within their promotional material and, in fact, it's hard to miss it.

I hate this tipping concept so enthusiastically embraced by our American friends. Some passengers actually boast that they sling the barman $30 at the first drink to ensure they get preferential treatment for the rest of the cruise.

We Aussies live in a far more egalitarian society than the US where the guys behind the bar get $US3.75 an hour and Walmart pays its part-time employees about $US12 to $US14 an hour.

If you work in the hospitality or service industry in the US you can't survive without tips. While we may be concerned about the behaviour of some unions in Australia it is because of these unions we now receive reasonable wages.

Despite paying the $US13.50 prepaid tips we find the cabin attendants are really miffed if you don't sling them a further $US25 at the end of the cruise. That's the way life goes in America and when we cruise on American ships.

Lance Sterling, Burwood, VIC

HOLY MOLEY

In October my wife and I travelled with Insight Vacations on its tour of the Holy Lands and Jordan, and while in Jerusalem, I developed an eye problem that required urgent attention.

My doctor in Australia recommended that I return home within the next 48 hours but after a consultation with an ophthalmologist who happened to be part of our tour group, he recommended I undergo treatment in Jerusalem.

The hotel duty manager at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel arranged for me to be taken to the emergency department of the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital where the care and professionalism of the doctors and staff was outstanding.

After two days of treatment I was able to rejoin the tour and save our travel insurance company many thousands of dollars.

Daniel Murphy, Coniston, NSW

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