LETTER OF THE WEEK
I've flown eight times in the past three months and marvel the ridiculousness of airlines' contactless boarding efforts. The paper boarding passes with barcodes still work fine at the scan reader. But I've seen, nearly every time, airline staff having to grab hold of most mobile phones to help do the boarding scan for the passenger, whereas paper boarding passes usually get binned. And let's not even discuss what happens when the phone battery runs out at the departure lounge.
Jason Mcilvena, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
The incompatibility of Australia's international vaccine certificate with almost any other country renders it effectively useless on the ground. The European Union Digital COVID Certificate is valid in all member states and 33 other countries have now joined the EU Certificate system. These countries include New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. If only the Australian Government could show such forethought.
Michael Thomas, Lyneham, ACT
FOLLOW THE SCRIPT
I am eight days into a 12-day visit to Berlin. On day two it was suggested I visit an apotheke (pharmacy) to have my Australian vaccination credentials put onto a European Vaccination certificate. The pharmacist completed it for me in five minutes, printed it for me (free of charge) and advised me to ensure the QR code stayed intact. Since then it has been a seamless trip. Tip: ensure you have your driver's licence with you to match your details at all times. I've found the systems here easy to navigate.
Matthew Edwards, Ballarat East, VIC
My wife and I recently flew to Melbourne on Qantas. The only food on offer was a chicken and ham pie. Since vegetarianism is now quite popular, and since the ham would offend both Jews and Muslims, surely Qantas could provide something that would be more acceptable. Most meat eaters do not object to the occasional vegetarian meal.
Richard Grant, Roseville, NSW
Denise Faithfull (Traveller Letters, December 18) wrote of her poor experience with a cancelled small group booking to Norfolk Island during the recent troubled COVID times. I am writing to report that our small group also had booked and pre-paid for a trip to Norfolk Island during the same time frame but had a much better outcome. Our agent, Shelley of Oxley Travel, handled directly all of the rebooking of flights and accommodation as necessitated by changed dates due to travel restrictions. When Air New Zealand stopped flying to Norfolk, Oxley Travel in Port Macquarie rebooked with Qantas. One member of our group had to cancel the trip and received an immediate full refund. Oxley Travel ensured that we were aware of the pre-travel COVID vaccination and testing requirements, and on December 6, the remaining 10 members of our group left for a wonderful week on Norfolk Island, where we were very well accommodated and looked after by Sarah and Tony of Castaway Resort.
Maurice Fidler, West Pennant Hills, NSW
While we love to explore regional NSW on our bikes, it has now become impossible to take our recently acquired e-bikes on trains. Bikes must be boxed for the rail journey and weigh no more than 20 kilograms. Many E-bikes weigh more than that, and are difficult to dismantle to box up and equally difficult to reassemble. Furthermore, we have to dispose of the box and find another when we've finished our touring in another town. Can the state rail operators please remove a few seats from the regional trains so we can wheel our bikes on, then off at the other end?
Natalie Cleary, Gymea Bay, NSW
Heather Barker of Albert Park's suggestion (Traveller Letters, December 18) of getting a $10 per day SIM card plan is fine for a short holiday but for our upcoming six week holiday to Europe (fingers crossed) that would be an added $420 per phone; not an inconsiderable amount. SIM Direct offer numerous cheaper plans which are easily accessible. You can load the phone before leaving home and give your new overseas number to all of your contacts.
Terry Thelwell, North Ryde, NSW
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