Traveller Letters: There's nothing selfish about wanting to go overseas

HOME RUN

In response to the "breathtakingly selfish" letter regarding people wishing to travel overseas, I fail to see how it is selfish. We would like to go to the UK where we have our own home and travel around (we own a narrowboat). On return, after six months, we are more than willing to pay for our hotel quarantine. I cannot see where selfishness comes into that equation at all.

Shelley Johnston, Allanson, WA

LEAVE GRANTED

When reading Michael Gebicki's brilliant piece for Traveller.com.au about our right to travel and the strangely vitriolic letters in response, it seems we are dividing ourselves into two parts - those who need to travel and those who don't wish to go outside their home. Some people need to travel (such as your reader Katherine Spencer for her job in Spain), the Dutch family who want to go home, or Danni Minogue, Nicole Kidman and our cricket team. One outward flight to Europe by those not likely to return for months or years hardly endangers Philp Sewell and Allan Gibson. Eighty countries are open already.

Alan James, Bondi Junction, NSW

NO ORDINARY JOE

With airlines across the world,including Qantas, bidding a nostalgic adieu to the iconic 747s, it reminded me of my tour of the world's first ever made Boeing 747 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The aircraft made its inaugural flight for Pan Am from New York to London on January 22, 1970.

Besides its grand size, it was its story that stole my heart, and all thanks to its chief engineer, late Joseph F. Sutter, whose home interestingly faced the Boeing factory while he was growing up. It inspired his love of aviation and it was a ritual for him to visit the factory with his elders. After school, he studied for a degree in aeronautical engineering and then got a job at Boeing.

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Given his passion, he was chosen to head a new aircraft project, which resulted in the Boeing 747 which airlines across the world started ordering. T

his beautiful aircraft, which revolutionised the airline industry, may be saying farewell, but its chief engineer proved that if we identify our passion and follow our dreams, we can make a great contribution.

Rameshinder Singh Sandhu, Ipswich, QLD

FRYING HIGH

Sad to see the 747s being retired from active service after such a long career. I actually never thought they (and I) would last after I flew Air India in the 1970s and to my horror watched passengers cooking with oil on portable gas burners set up on the floor at 30,000 feet.

John Swanton, Coogee, NSW

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

When we settled down to explore the travel spots in your cover story on Australian places that remind us of abroad (Traveller, July 18), we discovered we had been lucky enough to have visited all of them over years of rambling through this wonderful country. How lucky are we?

We loved them all but if we had to pick, it would have to be the Penny Farthing Championships in Evandale, followed very closely by the Kernewek-Lowender Cornish Festival in Moonta. Our tip? Plan your visits to include these events and you won't be disappointed.

While the tourist dollars are so welcome in these small towns these local events seemed to us to be more about bringing local communities together to celebrate history and tradition. The visitors are a welcome addition but they are not the main players. We felt privileged to be part of these communities as we witnessed the joy and sense of belonging.

It was wonderful to watch the local children participating and thoroughly enjoying these wonderful celebrations. Keep up the good work and suggestions in these troubled times.

Rose & Walter van Hilst, Wallabi Point, NSW

STAY SAFE

The impact of the global pandemic has been widespread and the tourism industry has been hit hard, yet in some parts of Australia some form of "normality" is returning.

To enable some essential family-related travel we recently had an overnight stay at a Mercure property at Wyong on the NSW Central Coast; our first domestic hotel stay since December. In an environment where health mandated obligations need to be met, this Accor hotel clearly ticked all the boxes, from check-in to check-out. All staff we're wearing face masks, hand sanitiser was available at strategic locations, including the lift which had a clearly displayed "two people only" signage.

The restaurant was set up with tables suitably socially distanced and set with plastic covered menus. A QR code, prominently displayed, enabled an app-based method of capturing guest details. The staff were exceptional in their professionalism and we were treated with respect, courtesy and a true sense of individual engagement. A most enjoyable stay.

Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

HAPPY CUSTOMER I

I'm sure many other travellers can relate to Jan Hart (Traveller Letters, July 18) in wanting to hear more about refunds, credits and treatment by travel and insurance providers over COVID-19 cancellations.

So, I am happy to report our recent experience. Fearing we might be thousands of dollars out of pocket for a two-month trip to Europe, we were contacted by Southern Cross Travel Insurance offering a full refund of our premium, with no cancellation costs!

Then, three months after our cancelled flights, and after many email exchanges, we received a full refund for our Etihad flights purchased through Budget Air. Thank you to both companies, who have done the right thing by us in these chaotic times.

Carol Murphy, Port Macquarie, NSW

HAPPY CUSTOMER II

We were booked to fly to the UK in August. We had accommodation booked in the UK, France and Italy plus an Aegean cruise from Rome to Venice. We had travel insurance fully paid up. Some bookings were made directly with the venue but mainly through Booking.com. We decided to reschedule to 2021.

AAMI refunded our travel insurance in full. Accommodation venues agreed to re-book for 2021, cancel without penalty, or refunded in full. One hotel refused with the loss of €200, however, Emirates tickets are available for two years with no additional cost and they will refund in full at any time up to two years if we don't travel. Holland America refunded all prepaid shore excursions and transferred our booking to an almost identical cruise in 2021.

Gary & Vicki Sayer, Warrnambool, VIC

WHAT'S MY LINE?

Ever wanted to take a cruise but were afraid to ask? Help is at hand. Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships (2020) by Douglas Ward will aid planning. The tech-literate will appreciate the free app and e-book with the guide. It is comprehensive, affordable and informative, whatever your travelling status. If it's not in the book then it is not important. Get this cruising bible.

Mike Fogarty, Weston, ACT

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