Traveller letters: An insulting rejection from the Singapore Airlines lounge

ENTRY DENIED

My wife and I flew from Sydney to Berlin on a Singapore Airlines (SIA) ticket where the Singapore-to-Berlin leg was flown by Scoot. My Krisflyer Gold status was a big influence in buying the ticket, so you can imagine the surprise at being refused lounge access in Changi on the grounds that Scoot is not a member of the Star Alliance. For most sectors we were flying on  a premium economy SIA ticket and Scoot is owned by SIA. For the measly few dollars it would have cost the airline to host us in the lounge, I found this rejection very insulting and an extraordinarily shabby way to treat loyal customers.

Colin Wood, North Ryde, NSW

THE HEAT IS ON

I know airlines turn the cabin temperature up at night to send passengers off to sleep, but who else thinks they just leave the heating turned up because they forget to turn it down again? Recent flights with Japan Air, Jetstar and Qantas have all required me to ask cabin staff to lower the heating. I fail to see why any plane cabin needs to be set to more than 22 degrees, especially when heat is coming off hundreds of bodies as well.

Stephen Yolland, Templestowe, VIC

See: Why you're either too hot or too cold on a plane

Plane travel 

GIMME (FORTY) FIVE

What is it with the world of travel's obsession with the so-called "big five" (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, Cape buffalo)? African safari operators who rabidly promote the concept encourage a legion of compulsive Facebook-following box-tickers who feel they've failed if they don't photograph all five. Africa and those myopic travel companies should be trumpeting the attractions of the many animals and birds that aren't on the list. Sell it as the "big 45" if you must, but give the full cornucopia of magical critters a chance to promote themselves. For instance, I'll never forget staring into the dark, limpid eyes of a young steenbok who met my gaze, from just metres away, on a sunrise drive through Moremi game reserve in the Okavango Delta. Calm and appearing nonplussed by this human intervention, she became one of many unheralded species to endear themselves to us. Surely they deserve a little more recognition?

Alan Hill, Toowoomba, QLD

HELLO, KITTY

I received a WhatsApp message from my husband who was travelling and so I assumed he was in transit at an airport. I phoned him on WhatsApp and was appalled when he told me he was in fact in the air. Emirates apparently now has free Wi-Fi and passengers can access it for calls. Is this the end of the last place to get away from other people's conversations? I hung up quickly in deference to anyone near him who did not need instructions on how to fix the cat feeder.

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Heather Barker, Albert Park, VIC

KANDY MAN CAN

While on a TripADeal tour in Sri Lanka, I became very sick in Kandy. At 6am I called the tour leader and requested to see the hotel doctor. At 6.40am there was the doctor, an extremely young, pleasant Sri Lankan doctor with perfect English. I inquired about where he did his training. His reply: Monash University, Melbourne. After confirming the nature of my illness he told me he would be back in 20 minutes. I was bewildered, but then he explained that he was going to get my medication, as I wouldn't know where to go. Incredible service in a foreign city. I recovered in 24 hours and enjoyed the rest of the tour. Thank you, TripADeal, for having such a good, confident medical doctor on your team – not to forget the wonderfully concerned tour leader.

Elaine Hall, Lane Cove, NSW

TRICK QUESTIONS

In reply to a letter from Allan Gibson (Traveller Letters, October 12), you really can't take cruise ship quizzes too seriously. On a recent cruise, our first, one question was: "How many seconds are there in a non-leap year?" The required answer was 12 (second of January, second of February etc). Another question referred to Iceland, which is apparently the name of a UK food company. Who knew? The winners were always cruise aficionados who have seen these questions before.

Penny Ransby Smith, Lane Cove, NSW

FLAKY MOMENT

In the "Six of the Best" cruise ship excursion article (Saturday, October 12) Alison Stewart describes Table Mountain as being "often with its white tablecloth of snow". The "tablecloth" is cloud, formed usually in summer when Cape Town's south or south-easter wind pushes moist air against the mountain. Snow is quite rare.

Sarah Bell Turramurra, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE The erroneous "snow" reference was regrettably added to the copy during the editing of the article. Apologies to both our readers and also to our writer, a South African by birth who knows her Cape Town cloud from her snow. The online version of the story has been corrected.

ALL IN THE TIMING

While I sympathise with your correspondent regarding their missed connection in Tokyo (Traveller Letters, October 12), I suggest there is more to it. Most airlines will, in general, not accept a connecting flight booking, even on the same airline, if the time period is less than one hour. If a change of airline and, in an airport such as Tokyo's Narita, a change of terminal is involved, then the minimum connecting time period can extend to 90 minutes. The other piece of information not supplied by your correspondent was whether the Air France flight was on time out of Paris Charles de Gaulle airport? If the Air France flight was late out of Paris by, say, 30 to 45 minutes and the connection was already tight, then I don't think Japan Airlines can be held responsible for not holding its flight, even where 18 passengers are concerned.

Michael Hayden, Kiama Downs, NSW

GRAMMAR DILEMMA

I'm often called a POB (pedantic old bastard) by friends who otherwise put up with me correcting their grammatical errors. However, the letter about Hadrian's Wall (Traveller Letters, October 12) referred to "my ancient history teacher". Readers will not be sure whether the teacher was ancient or whether the subject matter was history. Never mind, it was an interesting item.

Tony Nathan, Gilston, QLD
 

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