Traveller letters: Don't blame the airline for getting stuck in transit

Send us your travel-related opinions and experiences, we'd particularly like to hear about any intrastate (or even interstate) travel experiences since restrictions were relaxed. Letters may be edited for space, legal or other reasons. Preference will be given to letters of 50-100 words or less. Email us at travellerletters@fairfaxmedia.com.au and, importantly, include your name, address and phone number.

BLAME GAME

Barry Frost of Cherrybrook, NSW (Traveller letters, June 20) knowingly booked flights on China Eastern using the Qantas website which says transiting through Shanghai on the way to Prague is simple. He then experienced issues at Xian on the way back to Sydney. I'm not sure how this is the fault of Qantas. Aren't we all responsible for ensuring our paperwork is correct when we travel, rather than the airline we book with? If anything, he should be pointing his finger at China Eastern.

Jo Firth, Melbourne, VIC

DO THE RIGHT THING

We booked a trip with Webjet in October, 2019 to go to Vietnam in May, 2020. We also took out a travel insurance policy with Allianz for $200 at the time of booking.  When our trip was cancelled, we contacted Allianz Insurance  to obtain a refund on our policy. They  refuse to even speak to us, which is not good business ethics. Webjet has given us an "eGift Card" for the full amount, which is fine. Why don't Allianz do the right thing, given that we were stuck here in Australia, and the policy did not cover anything?

Trevor Taylor, Toorak, VIC

TYRANNY OF DISTANCE

I commiserate with everyone whose holiday or travel plans have been interrupted this year. My husband and I are in that category too, but like many hundreds of others, it's our sub-category that really hurts. Our planned trip was to Berlin to see our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Now we have no idea when that may happen safely, or indeed, when they will be able to come to Australia again. There will be anxiety around international travel even when it resumes and I worry that it will inhibit us, as people of more senior years, from taking overseas trips. The thought of not being able to see and hug our nearest and dearest is daunting.

Helen Atkins, Hamilton South, NSW

ALL CREDIT DUE

We were on a guided group tour of South Africa in March when tough COVID-19 restrictions were imposed. As a result, and at short notice, a two-night trip on the famous Blue Train was cancelled, but the staff of our tour company, Imagine Rail Journeys and the Blue Train did a fantastic job in organising two nights quality accommodation plus a connecting flight from Pretoria to Cape Town. This was at a time when they were expecting to lose their own jobs as the tourist industry shut down, a real tragedy given the lack of support measures available in developed economies. Imagine has now advised that they are providing a credit for the cancelled Blue Train trip as well as some Cape Town tours. We will be using the very generous credit for a trip aboard Australia's Ghan train, which runs between Adelaide and Darwin, next year. We hope when the situation improves to return to South Africa with Imagine to visit more of this fascinating and friendly country.

Alex Gosman, Canberra, ACT

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INTERNATIONAL RESCUE

I endorse the dire situation of travel agents (Traveller letters, June 20). We have enjoyed exceptional service over many years from our sole-operator agent who has saved us in some complex situations. Large companies, such as Thomas Cook, going bust last year caused significant financial stress, while this year she was rescuing clients overseas due to the coronavirus and she is still processing refunds for existing bookings. And she has managed to extend our travel insurance by six months in the event that we can go to Peru late this year. Oh, and by the way, the print edition of Traveller is still my favourite part of the paper and I'm so pleased that it's back.

Caroline Dawson, O'Connor, ACT

LET'S ROCK

Pre COVID-19, for our 25th wedding anniversary in early 2021 we were planning an overseas trip. Now we await the opening of borders and Qantas flying further than Melbourne to take us to Uluru, so we can luxuriate at Sails in the Desert, enjoy dinner under the stars and see the sun set on the  magnificent monolith. This is just one of the at-home trips we are planning. There is so much to see in this great country and we want to help all those in hospitality who have been hit hard in the crisis. "Holiday here" they said, and we are.

Meg Dunn, Mona Vale, NSW

IRISH EYES AREN'T SMILING

On January 13, 2020, I paid Emirates for a return airfare to Dublin with an April 5 departure date. The airline cancelled the flight due to the virus. I have phoned and sent emails to them and still have no written reply regarding my refund. Is there a way to get my refund? I have told Emirates that their image has gone down the drain. Can anyone help?

Patrick Drennan, Cheltenham, VIC

PUTTING THE 'OUCH' IN VOUCHERS

Be warned: my travel insurer, Tick Insurance, won't cover my cancelled April 2020 trip to Italy and UK as the various providers of my flights, trains and hotel have offered me credit vouchers. Despite the fact I cannot use any of these vouchers, as I will not (and cannot?) travel to Europe before the credit expiry dates, but still they will not cover me. One voucher from Vueling Airlines must be used by December 31, 2020, for travel to mid 2021.

Jennifer Ingall, Leura, NSW

GO LOCAL

Hooray! Traveller in print is back. With restrictions likely to be in place for quite some time yet, let's focus on local travel adventures. I fondly remember days past when Traveller featured doable and affordable weekend away reviews and "Six of the best" articles. The time is right to revisit and celebrate local travel advice.

Vicki Jacks, Malvern East, VIC

EDITOR'S NOTE Please bear with us as we await the travel industry's return to normality, which will allow us to reintroduce popular regular features including those you mention.

See also: Still waiting? Why travel refunds are taking so long

Send us your travel-related tips, opinions and experiences.

Letters may be edited for space, legal or other reasons. Preference will be given to letters of 50-100 words or less. Include your full name and suburb. Email us at travellerletters@traveller.com.au

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