I read with great interest the news about Qantas' plans in 2025. Shiny new planes. Non-stop long haul routes. How exciting. I recently had to deal with the reality of Qantas in the here and now. A cumbersome, slow and inaccurate website. Impossibly long phone waits for calls that you have to make because of the limitations of the antique website. Obviously untrained call centre staff if you do manage to get through. No resolution to requests. Intolerable waits for refunds. I could go on. The heralded bright new Qantas flying future also needs some very serious investment on the ground right now if it is to succeed. The reality in 2022 is that the Qantas back of house operation is in tatters.
Martin Joy, TallaI, QLD
LETTER OF THE WEEK
DISPIRITED OF AUSTRALIA
My lovely daughter-in-law was on a Qantas flight which left Sydney around 3.30 pm on Sunday, May 1, which landed at Heathrow some 23 hours later (with a stopover in Darwin followed by the direct flight from Darwin to London). Upon landing passengers found that Qantas left behind in Australia, the luggage of every single passenger on the plane. As I write this, my daughter-in-law is hoping to be able to collect her luggage in the next few hours from Heathrow. She can't wait for the couriers used by Qantas to deliver the luggage to her (who knows when?) because most of her medication was in the main luggage bag. She felt that surely her luggage would be delivered safely, given that the plane which took her to London was the one which left Sydney (with that one refuelling stop in Darwin). A disgraceful lack of customer care.
Paul Parromore, Sawtell, NSW
ALL SHOOK UP
As an Elvis tragic, I was looking forward to visiting Bendigo for a weekend and seeing the Gracelands Exhibition. I booked tickets on Qantas, a room at the fabulous boutique Ernest Hotel, dinner at a local hotspot and tickets to both the Gracelands exhibition and a talk which was part of the Bendigo Writers Festival. It was time to travel again and support local tourism, until it wasn't. Imagine my surprise when my 4.30 pm flight home to Sydney was changed to a 9.30 am departure which meant we lost the whole of our second day. I was then notified that my 7 am flight to Bendigo was changed to 5.45 pm which meant I'd lost the whole of our first day too. I was left with an arrival late one night and a departure first thing the next morning. Bravo Qantas. All that expenditure in Bendigo has now evaporated. As Elvis sang, "it's Now or Never" Qantas, you need to rethink the way you treat your customers and support our local travel industry
Debbie Seidler, Rose Bay, NSW
Lee Tulloch wrote a nice column about hotels accommodating dogs and other animals (Traveller, May 7) and as a dog owner I was most interested. However, whilst a number of hotels may take dogs more often than not there is a size limit no matter how well socialised they are and owners should be aware of that. During one enquiry I was assured they welcomed dogs but upon hearing mine is nearly 50 kilograms quickly declined which is their prerogative.
John Rodger, Connells Point, NSW
I was advised, some years ago, that the security provisions at Australian airports are different by intention (Traveller letters, 30 April). But if we all know what the rules are we can prepare for it, including those who are doing something illegal as well as the normal, mildly frustrated passenger. But I certainly agree about longer counters and the odd chair to assist in resuming your footwear.
Alison Fraser, Ascot Vale, VIC
FEE YOU LATER
In recent Traveller letters travellers have raised the issue of foreign exchange fees when using booking.com. To avoid such fees, I suggest the "pay at the hotel" option be chosen rather than the cheaper "pay now" one. Bookings.com is really only a convenient way of comparing alternatives and this includes checking with the accommodation provider's own website.
Chris Close, Doncaster East, VIC
Like Peter Frederics (Traveller letters, May 7) I am a booking.com Genius member. I phoned the property in Italy to learn that the rate on line would be the same. They had suffered badly with COVID and were grateful for the booking.com work. Without those bookings they would not have survived. Different devices show different rates for identical bookings on booking.com. A "mobile only price" compared with a PC price is generally cheaper. Pay with a fee free transaction card like Latitude 28 Degrees and avoid any overseas currency charges.
Lindsay Somerville, Lindfield, NSW
My understanding is that if accommodation places offer lower prices online than are offered through booking sites, the booking sites then refuse to list them. But by making contact by old-fashioned telephone one can be offered better deals. I remember once staying at a hotel in Canada where they told me that as I'd booked directly, they'd allocated me a better room and thrown in breakfast.
GRAHAM MEALE, BOAMBEE EAST, NSW
EDITOR'S NOTE As we've received a large number of letters regarding booking.com, and with several having been published, we're checking out on correspondence on this subject, at least for the time being.
BLURRED EURO VISION
I find it quite disturbing that people are going to Europe and or are planning to go at the moment. I think most people would have noticed by now that there is a horrible war in the Ukraine whose people are being killed by the thousands due to the indiscriminate bombing by Russian troops. There are over five million refugees flooding European countries. To ignore what's going on in Ukraine is to be blase. Treating it as the new normal because we apparently must travel to Europe after COVID restrictions have been lifted is frankly obscene and entirely selfish and thoughtless.
Glen op den Brouw, Liverpool, NSW
ONWARD VIRGIN SOLDIERS
My experience with Virgin Australia (Traveller letters, 30 April) is the complete opposite of your correspondent. Ordering online a wheelchair for my 80 year old husband from Sydney to Hobart was nothing but positive, from being checked in, security staff, to airline staff, we only have praise and most definitely will be travelLing with Virgin again.
Susan Elderfield, Berridale NSW
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The Tip of the Week writer wins a set of three great Lonely Planet travel books, including Australia's Best Trips, Best Day Walks Australia and Gourmet Trails Australia and NZ.
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