Traveller letters: Delayed and downgraded - I won't fly Qantas again

 

HOPPING MAD

I would like Alan Joyce to know of my recent experience of flying with Qantas, and why I don't think he deserves his salary and why I won't fly with his airline again. I recently broke my foot near Darwin and was booked to fly with a family member business class direct to Melbourne – at 2am. I had a walking frame as I wasn't to bear weight at all, and so was hopping on one foot. The airline lent me a wheelchair while I was in the terminal. I was told by one Qantas receptionist that I could take the walking frame on board, only to be told by another that, no, I couldn't take it on board. We waited eight hours and then we were told that our flight was cancelled and they would try and get another flight for us.

An amusing side line was an announcement over the intercom that Qantas were having difficulty finding staff to fly at that hour of the night. Eventually we were given flight details: not direct to Melbourne but two flights via Sydney. My seat was changed and I was put in an economy window seat. I couldn't move and as a result ended up with deep-vein thrombosis. To add insult to injury the staff on board the flight were condescending and I was made to feel such a nuisance to them.

Margaret Collings, Anglesea, VIC

MAJOR DISCONNECT

I now know why Japan Airlines are number one in on-time performance (Traveller, September 21). They won't wait 30 minutes for connecting passengers. Don't want to spoil that six-year record. Eighteen passengers from Paris were left stranded 10 hours at Narita airport with no Sakura Lounge access and with no compensation from JAL and Air France. It took 40 hours to get from Paris to Melbourne.

Wendy Ginter, Rosanna, VIC

LETTER OF THE WEEK

MOUNTAIN TENSION

It is said that travel broadens the mind. Based on my experience participating in various trivia sessions on board a recent Carnival Spirit cruise, you learn something new every day. The advertised topic was "Aussie states", however, when the entertainment crew member introduced it, the subject became "Aussie states and territories'. Fast forward to question three: "What is the name of the highest mountain in Australia?" Confidently, based on what I was taught at school, I wrote the answer "Mount Kosciuszko". Imagine my disappointment, along with many others, when the answer was given as Mount McClintock. Yes, at 3490 metres it surpasses Koscuiszko by 1262 metres and is located in the Australian Antarctic Territory. A trick question? Perhaps, but then given it was State and Territories, maybe the question should have been "What is the name of the highest mountain in all the states and territories of Australia".

Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

MAPLE SPIRIT

I was planning a trip to Canada a few months ago, and noted a letter in Traveller, reporting bad service on Air Canada flights. I would like to report that I took four Air Canada flights over the past month, and found the staff very pleasant and the service excellent on every flight.

Lesley Tan, Glen Iris, VIC

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ROMAN HOLIDAY

At high school in the late 1940s my ancient history teacher brought Hadrian alive to me (Traveller, September 7) but it wasn't until 2004 that I set off on my first UK trip. I took the bus from Carlisle to Haltwhistle to see Hadrian's Wall with the friendly driver asking about my background, so each passenger was told I came from Australia. "Why are you going to Haltwhistle?" asked one. My reply: to see Hadrian's Wall. "Och," replied another. "It runs through my back field but I've never ventured down there to see it."

Daphne Roper, New Lambton, NSW

MISSING IN ACTION

The rich narrative including poetic touches from Andrew Bain (Traveller, September 14) were certainly a further enticement to visit and experience Greenland. However, there's not even one mention of the accelerating impacts of global warming and climate change, which are probably more pronounced in the Arctic than any other region on the planet. Surely the on-board lectures must have covered this threat and implications for ecosystems, specific species in decline such as polar bears and indigenous communities reliant on fragile resources? I look forward to a more enlightened update about the broader realities of threats to Greenland, as the world fails to take adequate mitigation measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Pablo Bateson, Katoomba, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE Sorry for the oversight on this occasion though, in our defence, Traveller regularly tackles environmental issues as they relate to travel, unlike any of our competitor titles.

BONDING WITH THE THAIS

Stinking black smoke and deafening engine noise were just some of the unexpected delights we endured on a longtail boat tour to "James Bond Island" from Krabi, Thailand, over 30 years ago. So Keith Austin's news of an Australian entrepreneur's quiet, clean electric longtail "Thai Tesla" engine (Traveller, September 21) was most welcome. Who knows, I may even break my "no more Thai boat tours, ever" pledge some time. But walking around the island in a cramped, single-file queue with other hapless Bond fans is definitely not on my try-again list.

Brenda Mattick, Newcastle East, NSW

SHARING BUT NOT CARING

Three times this year I have had airline code-share troubles. Two were refusal to check my bags to destination, even with all flights with same-carrier flight numbers, and all on one ticket I had to collect my bag in Jakarta (for Turkish) and Zurich last month (for Cathay). And today I am in Paris with no boarding pass for my final leg (Cathay) yet you need one to enter security. I am at the boarding gate hoping I get on, after a two kilometres walk plus two shuttle buses. As most overseas flights have six code-share flight numbers, this is a big problem of systems not being integrated. Travellers be warned.

David Bishop, East Brighton, VIC

STOLEN MOMENTS

In June I travelled to Europe using the travel insurance available on my Qantas American Express premium card. In France my passport was stolen from a house through no negligence of mine. This required an unplanned trip to Paris, hotel accommodation, rebooked flights and other legitimate associated costs which amounted to at least $3000. Although my passport and bag were covered I was astounded to discover unavoidable expenses required for an emergency passport were not covered by card insurance. I am bewildered, annoyed and considerably out of pocket. Even if I had purchased independent insurance it would never have occurred to me to ask about this type of claim because it seems so illogical. If using credit card insurance and your passport is stolen or lost, make sure you are already in a city with an Australian embassy and the time frame enables you to keep your original flight bookings.

Pauline Ethell, Roseville, NSW

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