Traveller letters: Virgin Australia flight attendants go above and beyond their duties

ONWARD VIRGIN SOLDIERS

I want to express a huge thank you to a cabin crew member Renee aboard our VA 45 from Brisbane to Denpasar on December 7.

My eight-year old daughter awoke from sleep about one hour out of Denpasar vomiting. This was the first flight I had not packed spare clothes as it was a relatively short flight and she's an experienced flyer who has never been ill on a flight.

The crew member helped with wipes and other items and ended up giving my daughter her own pyjamas so she didn't have to walk through the terminal with just a blanket and her underwear.

This delightful young lady went above and beyond her duties and this kind act needs acknowledgement. Thank you for your consideration and thoughtfulness plus ensuring my gorgeous eight-year old was able to arrive with her head held high on her holidays.

Erin Merrin, Mudgeeraba, QLD

FLAGS CARRIER

As we approached Sydney airport on my Qantas flight from San Francisco back home last week we received a message from the cockpit.

It advised all passengers about the requisite customs declaration and prohibited articles but we were also warned of the possible dangers at Australian beaches and stressed the importance of swimming between the flags.

With tragic losses up and down the coastline, bravo Qantas for taking this potential lifesaving initiative. I urge all other inbound carriers to follow suit.

Jen Sanford, Redfern, NSW

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LETTER OF THE WEEK: ROADS LESS TRAVELLED

Janet Murphy's suggestion to explore lesser known areas of the Lake District (Traveller letters, December 22), can be applied much more widely to so many other places. In fact, it's a principle we're now applying to most of our travels.

On a recent trip, for example, we explored the beautiful Portuguese University town of Coimbra and its surroundings (including the charming Aviero, instead of the crammed Porto).

On the advice of our travel agent, we visited the stunning Belgian city of Ghent, which has just as much to offer as the nearby Bruges, but without its tourist overload, which we discovered for ourselves on a day excursion there.

Ghent offered the bonus of being close enough to another Belgian city, Ypres, in Flanders, for us to gain some slight understanding of the tragic World War I battlefields that surround it.

Anne Ring, Coogee, NSW

TAKE A HIKE

While I agree with Brian MacDonald (Traveller letters, November 24) that the Lake District is crowded, the way to enjoy this area is to boat and walk it.

We used the ferries and walking maps to explore around and above the lakes as well as visit Beatrix Potter's cottage.

There are numerous walking routes and lovely public footpaths, some of which are really easy and pleasant walking. Catch the train to the area and parking is no longer an issue.

Diana Crombie, Malvern, VIC

PECKING ORDER

Following an accident where I was knocked off my motor scooter, I spent three months recuperating in hospital with seven fractures, dreaming of riding a scooter in Rome.

The dream came true when I spent my insurance payout and persuaded a scooter hire owner in Rome to allow a 72-year-old lady to follow him around the well-known sites Gregory Peck visited in the film Roman Holiday. I told the scooter hire owner that my riding skills began in Sydney in 1963. After our ride he did not doubt me.

Judy Nicholas, Denistone East, NSW

EIGHT IS NOT ENOUGH

Over the past decade I have had cause to visit Sri Lanka eight times. I wholeheartedly agree with Rae Masman's letter (Traveller letters, December 22) defending Sri Lanka as a country that has so much to offer that is positive.

Tourists who criticise this beautiful little island forget what its gentle people have experienced, including years of civil war, and a devastating tsunami. My friends were only saved from drowning by being lucky enough to get to high ground just in time.

Gloria Meltzer, Chewton, VIC

JEEPERS CREEPERS

Having read your "letter of the week" discussing the comments on Sri Lanka by Peter Burton, which refuted another reader's experience, I feel compelled to make a few comments of my own.

With regard to the safari experience in Yala National Park, I wish to say the over-crowding of Jeeps and ultra-competitive jostling of the drivers to get in front of each other is both dangerous and disruptive to the animals.

Peter states that "the animals seemed happy enough", however statistics maintained by the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka reveal that a large number of wild animals have died over the past few years due to the high number of vehicles entering the park and the high speeds at which they are driven.

Last year two precious leopards were run over and killed as well as high numbers of other animals. This simply does not happen in other countries where safari rules are stricter and the number of speeding jeeps are tightly monitored such as Kenya or even in India.

Adam Rehak, St Leonards, NSW

EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE

I recently had to fly from Bologna to Geneva via Rome with Alitalia. The cost was more than $1000 but if the two flights were booked separately it was $300.

Alitalia in Sydney assured me I could book the separate flights and my luggage would be checked right through to Geneva. This did not happen as it is apparently against Alitalia rules.

I missed the flight in Rome as I had to collect and recheck my luggage. The cost for an additional ticket and the additional accommodation involved was $1200.

Although I have provided written proof of all this, Alitalia refuses to take any responsibility

Diane Tiffin, Hawthorn, VIC

WAKE UP CALL

A frequent flyer, I have no option but to avoid Qantas since the rescheduling of QF9 and QF10 Melbourne to London Heathrow.

All Qantas flights on this route now depart about 5am, which means leaving home at 2am or arrive in London at approximately 5am, which means I cannot check into my hotel after a long flight.

This is madness. I no longer feel I can ask family and friends to take me or collect me from the airport. I do not wish to fly Emirates so I will desert Qantas until they show greater consideration for their long-standing clients.

Julie Reid, Southbank, VIC

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