Traveller Letters: Think service is better overseas? They're faking it

SERVICE WITH A (FAKE) SMILE

Lance Sterling, the "wonderful service" that you describe (Traveller Letters, October 3) is actually obsequiousness. People in the countries to which you refer are taught to be servile to tourists to get tips and increase custom.

Instead of promoting this type of fake behaviour in Australia in the guise of "service", it would be better for all of humanity and the planet if people in the tourism business everywhere were paid a living wage from their jobs and therefore felt confident enough to behave normally. This might mean tourists have to pay more for their holidays, or even holiday less.

Considering that we are all now thinking about the role of unrestricted international travel in spreading viruses about, as well as the consequences to the planet of increased aircraft emissions and global warming, it is likely this will happen by default.

Jeanne Grey, Kangaroo Point, Qld

SCREEN GEM

While travelling within regional NSW recently, there was a stark difference in the COVID policies of Rex (Regional Express) and Qantas. Rex provided temperature screening for all passengers before boarding and face masks were mandatory for all passengers and crew throughout the flight.

Qantas, on the other hand, provided no temperature screening and face masks were not worn by any of the crew and less than half the passengers on a crowded plane. With this relaxed approach to COVID-19, Qantas could soon become our national "carrier" in more ways than one.

Gavin Smith, Newcastle, NSW

SINKING FEELING

I was astounded that Mindil Beach did not feature under "See the Sinking Sun" in your highlights of the Northern Territory (Traveller, September 26). Far-flung visitors to Darwin's Mindil Beach Markets go there to revel not only in the exotic foods and festive atmosphere but also it's spectacular and iconic sunsets over a shimmering crimson ocean..

David Beins, Cooks Hill, NSW

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HOW THE WEST WON ME OVER I

The letter "Go West" (Traveller Letters, September 26) brought back wonderful memories. In 1995 I roamed the outback: from Sydney to Wilcannia (all bitumen) then all bush road and /tracks to White Cliffs, Tibooburra, Olive Downs and the magnificent Jump Up country, Cameron Corner, across the sand dunes of the Strzelecki Desert, Moomba, Innaminka and then the Burke and Wills "Dig Tree" on Nappa Merrie Station in Queensland. The return trip was via Broken Hill.

Throughout the trip I was in awe of the early explorers including Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson; Charles Sturt; Burke and Wills on whose tracks I was driving in air-conditioned comfort. I noted your warning "do not attempt driving on unsealed roads in the outback in anything other than a robust fully-fledged four wheel drive."

My 3000 kilometres were in a Mitsubishi Verada sedan. I carried food and water to last one week and always advised ahead of my travel plans. I carried spare tyres, oil and water. The car performed faultlessly throughout, and with due care, I was able to drive to all the places of interest in our vast outback. I agree with Terry Cook, "Go West" and enjoy the beauty of parts of our country that too few people get to see and appreciate.

Ian Dyball, Black Head, NSW

HOW THE WEST WON ME OVER II

In reference to Terry Cooks's letter and your editor's good advice, I did this route a couple of years ago in a Subaru Forester. It is not a tricky off-road track but it is extremely remote and covered with sharp stones. We didn't see a single vehicle all day. However, my Forester was shod with proper four-wheel drive off-road tyres though I should have taken more water and a satellite phone.

Richard Mason, Mona Vale, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE Travellers can avoid dirt roads for half of the journey between Tibooburra and Packsaddle by taking the recently sealed Silver City Highway (which continues onto Broken Hill). From the Packsaddle roadhouse turn-off to White Cliffs the road is unsealed. You'll find a number of recent stories on outback NSW on our website here.

DO THE RIGHT THING I

In November 2019, I booked a special non-refundable return fare for myself and my wife to Paris with Emirates, due to depart from Sydney on September 2, 2020. Two weeks before our departure Emirates offered use of the ticket for 760 days from purchase or a full refund. I took the latter, and have now received the full refund including the allocated seat component. This is commendable service considering some airlines have come in for major criticism for their refund policies

Peter Bowan, Hunters Hill, NSW

DO THE RIGHT THING II

Since July, the same message has appeared on Qantas' website: "Because the situation is constantly evolving and may change rapidly, we haven't, at this stage, made a decision to cancel international flights after October 2020." This is despite Alan Joyce taking a motza, sacking people and despite him and the PM saying that flights overseas will not resume until 2021. Cancel the flights and refund (or in my case, allow my travel agent to, without the exorbitant fees worth more than the ticket). It's simple ethics.

Chris McMullen, Carseldine, Qld

YOU WOULDN'T CREDIT IT

I was interested to read Dale Borthwick's letter (Traveller Letters, September 26) regarding refunds from the credit card insurer Allianz covering the rest of their out-of-pocket costs. I have the same credit card insurer in Allianz but have been told that no claims due to COVID-19 would be accepted.

John O'Grady, Sydney, NSW

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