Traveller letters: Flight attendants are not there to annoy passengers

BELT UP

Joseph Ting suggests airlines should refrain from making PA announcements for mild turbulence (Traveller letters, February 16).

I was a flight attendant for 18 years and can report that what starts out as mild turbulence can turn into serious turbulence.

Sometimes, technology has no answer to nature and flight attendants have to put their own safety at risk walking through the cabin to politely ask passengers to fasten their seatebelts.

The number of passengers who ignore the suggestion to keep their seat belt fastened loosely at all times means they put themselves and others at risk. Passengers seem to think seat belts are the equivalent of strait jackets and that they must be free of them.

Flight attendants are not there to annoy passengers. They are there for passengers' safety. I have seen too many injuries from turbulence, often due to mindless stupidity. And if passengers choose to ignore safety and then get injured, they shouldn't then turn around and sue the airlines.

Joe Gagliano, Brunswick, VIC

LETTER OF THE WEEK

DOWNHILL BATTLE

Your writer Kylie McLaughlin reports the smell of burning rubber wafting through her hire car as she descended Mt Washington in New Hampshire in the US (Traveller, February 9), due to the brakes overheating on the steep gradient.

Reliance on brakes in this situation is folly in the extreme. She and other drivers could find themselves hurtling over the edge. Virtually all automatic cars younger than eight to 10 years have a "sport" option on their gear selector. This allows the driver to easily select one of the (probable) six gears to cater for any particular road or driving conditions.

In her case, this would have been second or maybe third gear, allowing her to "coast" all the way down with barely a tap on the brake pedal - with the low gear braking the engine rather than brake pads generating friction (and heat) against the discs.

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Martyn Yeomans, Sapphire Beach, NSW

DESERT FLOWER

I couldn't agree more with your article "East meets best" (Traveller, February 16) regarding Oman and its friendly and welcoming people.

We spent two magical weeks there over the summer holidays and my teenage children were amazed with the beauty of the county.

They went camel and quad bike riding through the desert as well as sand-bashing in 4WDs and even snowboarding. They also loved the markets in the city and were blown away by the beauty of the country.

The ocean is a gorgeous blue and the country is surrounded by dry rocky mountains. And, wow, the food, it is mouthwatering.

Jodie Weerasekera South Kingsville

SUCH IS LIFE

Andrew Whitton, the humpback and minke whales you saw from your ship did not "put on an amazing display" (Traveller letters, February 16). They were just living their lives.

Jen Gladstones, Heidelberg, VIC

MEMORIES STIRRED

Alison Stewart captures the essence of a pilgrimage to the resilient city Ypres which was reduced to rubble and rebuilt following World War I (Traveller, February 9).

Alison's article awakened the emotions felt while observing the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate and of meeting the friendly and helpful people of Ypres.

My great uncle was killed in the Third Battle of Ypres, unlike those commemorated on the Menin Gate. He is buried in the Hooge Crater Cemetery, a short taxi ride from Ypres.

While based in Ypres I stayed at the Novotel Ieper Centrum Flanders Field Hotel, a brief walk to the Menin Gate.

If you feel like exploring further afield, Poperinge about 12 kilometres from Ypres is worth a visit and is easily accessible by train. It served as a casualty clearing station for troops during World War One.

The Talbott House and Museum "where rank was left at the front door" was a place of quiet relaxation and "home from home" for troops away from the battle field.

Dale Catto, Gwynneville, NSW

RUNNING RINGS

It was interesting to read Brian Johnston's cover story on the "50 objects every traveller should see" (Traveller, February 16).

However, while Galileo's telescopes are in the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy, as are the lenses which were housed in them, Galileo did not discover any rings around Jupiter.

He found four moons orbiting and that's why, to this day, they call them the Galilean Moons of Jupiter. And, by the way, even though Saturn has rings, Galileo thought they were "ears".

Roger Davis, Padstow, NSW

BAD MISS

What a shame Brian Johnston had his colonial blinkers on when selecting "10 Australian must-sees" for his cover story on "objects of desire" from around the world.

Not one selection was featured from our First Nations peoples and their 60,000 years of civilisation. Such a missed opportunity.

Jacqui Altman, Parkville, VIC

POINTED RESPONSE

I had to sympathise with Graham Devries (Traveller letters, February 16) for the way in which he was recompensed with a pitiful number of points for a seat that did not work.

This is all too common in an airline industry where shareholder interests are placed above those of the customer, regardless of the class you fly or the number of years you have been loyal to the carrier.

My bags were lost back in January on a flight from Heathrow to Riyadh, and before that, my they were damaged from Riyadh to Marrakesh, all with the same carrier - British Airways.

Like Graham, I was only compensated with a paltry number of points. Given that each point is worth no more than two US cents, this is completely disproportionate to the inconvenience suffered, or the money you have paid for a ticket.

Andrew Dorahy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

BAGGED OUT

Indian Airlines lost my checked luggage last September. Five months of Kafkaesque shenanigans has ensued.

No assistance, no compensation, not even a ransom note. I'd like to at least know where the "body is buried".

I wonder if any other long-haul carriers approach the level of strategic incompetence and hindrance that Indian Airlines has perfected.

Paul McGuire, Ivanhoe, VIC

DIM VIEW

It may not be widespread, however, the number of hotel rooms I have frequented over many years where lighting is a minus feature far outweighs those in the brilliant category.

It seems low wattage globes combined with wall, rather that ceiling, fittings must be a pre-requisite when it comes to design and fit out.

It's yet another reason for management and senior executives to spend a night at their own properties.

Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

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