Traveller letters: Singapore Changi the world's best airport? I don't think so

SINGAPORE SLUNG

The world's best airport: for what or for whom? Despite your report on the world's best airport awards for 2020, there really is no such thing as a "world's best", and in my experience winner Singapore's Changi wouldn't get the title. Too big, too hard to negotiate, too awkward for people who "hub" at awkward hours, too much a shopping centre instead of being an airport. Out of that supposed top 10, the only one which I rate as memorably good is Hamad in Doha, Qatar.

Frank All (via Facebook)

ALL GREEK TO ME

We had lots of prepaid accommodation for travel in Poland, Italy and Greece in June/July 2020. The Xenia Volos Hotel in Greece claims: "Faced with the unprecedented turn of events, the Greek state, as well as other EU countries, recently passed a law that allows businesses in the travel industry to issue a voucher instead of extending an immediate refund. " I can't find any information on the legislation passed.

If we could source this information it may make it easier for those of us trying to get vouchers for future travel in Europe.

Lindy Wilson, St Huberts Island, NSW

Editor's note: There are more details in this article, but there are questions over whether the Greek law will breach EU rules.

CRUISING FOR A BRUISING

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My heart goes out to all those staff members being held on cruise ships. What a dreadful predicament to find yourselves in - due to no fault of your own. I will pray for you all - daily. God bless you all and give you courage & strength & keep you safe from virus.

Christine Bates (via Facebook)

MARKET FORCES

In reference to Traveller's story on Hallstatt, Austria, being overrun by crowds, It's a case of countries wanting the tourist dollar regardless of the consequences. I went to Munich last year to see the much hyped Christmas markets and they were awful with thousands and thousands of tourists all hoping for the same experience shoulder to shoulder squeezing through the markets. A place is hyped and people want to go which soon makes that location like any other. A crowded, less than anticipated experience.

Barry Roughley (via Facebook)

WORST WESTERN

A couple of weeks ago you published a letter regarding Premier Inns in the UK who had volunteered to refund even non-refundable room rates. I'm sad to say, my friend living in Cyprus has found the opposite with Best Western Airport Motel and Convention Centre at Tullamarine. In January he paid for a non-refundable night there, for a late-night arrival in April, but when Emirates cancelled all flights from Cyprus in mid-March his ticket to Australia became void. Notwithstanding that, Best Western refused to refund his payment "because the rate was non-refundable". They didn't even offer a voucher against a future stay. Pretty poor, Best Western.

Tanya Tintner, Halifax, Canada

CREDITS WHERE CREDITS ARE DUE

I wish people would stop blaming Flight Centre for not giving refunds on pre-booked air and sea travel. The company is a ticket reseller and must pass on monies to the carrier less an agreed commission. Every cancellation means lost income. The airlines and shipping lines won't pass on cash refunds either as they have infrastructure to support and need cash to do so. Virgin in voluntary administration isn't in a position to do anything. I'd like nothing better than to receive a cash refund on my $30,000 cancelled cruise, but have accepted a credit, well knowing I may never get to use it.

Sue Bennett, Sunbury, VIC

PROFITS AND LOSSES

Flight Centre is not the only travel outfit here working hard to ensure that their customers cover their company's losses. These companies have had the use of customers' money for months and may refund only amounts after deducting their own losses through suppliers' cancellation fees. In reality they lose nothing on an individual customer's transaction. It is outrageous that the recompense offered to customers is often a credit for future travel less than the original amount paid. Again, the agency holds the customer's money even longer regardless of whether the customer wishes or is able to use this future credit. Even if this reduced credit was claimed at some future time, the customer would have to pay the price difference between "full fare" and credit voucher. Again, the customer loses. It seems to me that the essence of the contract is that trip, at that time, as was agreed by both parties. To suggest that one party, the travel agent, has the right to adjust their side to be "another trip at another time" is reprehensible and probably not lawful under consumer protection legislation.

Ian Mitchell, Rowville, VIC

WAITING GAME

Unlike Brian Siddles I am still waiting, 45 days now, for the money for four of my 100 per cent refundable bookings with Hotels.com to be transferred to  my account. I have followed this up with the bank, hotels.com, the ACCC (who said it's not their jurisdiction), Fair Trading and now the AFCA. No one seems to want to assist or even care that my money is either being held by Hotels.com or the bank

Rebecca Phillips, Brisbane, QLD

BORDER FARCE

On February 2, 2020 I paid Air New Zealand $11,021.05 for seven tickets travelling Melbourne - Los Angeles (via Auckland) on July 25 returning August 15. According to Air New Zealand, our flight to LA is still scheduled to run, despite Australia's borders being currently closed. When I requested a refund I was told that the standard cancellation fee of $500 per ticket would apply. So the airline wants $3500 to cancel our $11,000 family holiday - or a little over 30 per cent That's a spicy meatball.

Mick Moloney, Ballarat, VIC

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