Traveller Letters: We need to get rid of economy class for good

CLASS DISMISSED

Economy class travel should be dumped in light of the coronavirus pandemic. It's almost  criminal jamming people into planes as airlines have  done in the past. Let's have premium economy or business class only. Any reduction in the number of planes flown around the world will result in a huge reduction in the planet-harming CO2 emissions that they dump into our atmosphere every day.

Wayne Robinson, Mona Vale, NSW

ALL IN THE TIMING

This paragraph in the article about when will we know it is ok to travel again by Michael Gebicki caught my eye.

It states: "Any travel insurance policy purchased after coronavirus became a 'known' event in late January will not cover you for any delays, disruptions, cancellations or sickness that you may suffer as a result of coronavirus. You want to be 100 per cent certain that there is zero chance of that happening in your destination."

But by that date there had been one case reported in Australia, the Prime Minister had tweeted some reassuring statements on January 22, there were no media releases I can find from the Prime Minister or the Health Minister, and there's nothing to find on Smartraveller.com.au although that may have been edited (I note that non-pejoratively). 

Direct travel from China to Australia was not banned until early February. Our travel insurance for a trip within Australia has been made worthless by the "known event" stuff. If the insurance issuer deems that a reasonable traveller should have known at the end of January that there was a likelihood of the holiday being affected then in my view a reasonable insurer should have known the same and declined - at the time of issuing in early February - the insurance. Our travel insurance had this applied to it in early March.  But the insurers didn't bother to tell policy holders, and I only found out in early April when I rang the insurers to make a general status enquiry. I have asked the ACCC to see if insurance companies can make these sorts of retrospective changes.

Steve Carter, Gisborne, VIC

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TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Thank you, Anthony Dennis, for your clear and considered piece on the likelihood of resumed international travel from Australia.  Certainly in terms of tourism we run a risk of many businesses, especially for receiving tourists, being wiped out permanently with a significant economic and social cost while we try to maintain our hard-won success of low infection and mortality rate.

However, this article, like many others, does not talk about business travel – travel that needs to be done for work, that helps boost the Australian economy and where face-to-face personal involvement is considerably better than teleconferencing.

Of course it doesn't matter how important the economic gains are if we are merely reintroducing the virus into a section of the community upon our return. But I sincerely hope the government, watched by the media, is working on a program of quick testing for returning business travellers that can give a near immediate result, not after two weeks of expensive and unnecessary isolation. The idea that we have to wait until both Australia and the countries that we visit for work are 100 per cent virus-free is fanciful but so is an economic future with no face-to-face dealings.

John McCubbery, Ivanhoe, VIC

WE'LL MEET AGAIN

Rather than just a holiday, I wondered whether families that are split between Australia and New Zealand may be given first option of travel between the two countries – so that they may visit their elderly parents (who are not able to travel) across the ditch for example.

Julie Johnston, Kilara, NSW

DO THE MATH

In response to Greg Zakrzewksi's letter, "Going the social distance", (Traveller, April 25) , the reason for a 50 per cent increase of fare with a 30 per cent decrease in seats is in the mathematics.  To keep it simple, think of a row of 3 seats, each sold for $1000.  The airline expects to make $3000 from that row.  If you can only sell two seats due to the social distancing rules, then for the same revenue, each seat should sell for $1500 which is a 50 per cent increase to the $1000 ticket.  Noteworthy, the airline will also benefit by saving fuel with a lighter load or be able to carry more airfreight.

Geoff O'Hearn, Lyndhurst, VIC

BY THE BOOK

Like many travellers, we had an overseas holiday booked which had to be cancelled. Even though we are still awaiting many refunds, we had two hotels booked in the US which were booked as  non-refundable through Hotels.com. We have to pay Hotels.com the highest recommendation as they have not only refunded our monies in full within three weeks they have also returned a reward night we had used. They had set up a fully automated phone system to cancel our booking and organised the refund. Surely they would have had more worldwide individual cancellations to process than an airline, or a cruise line, but it was handled efficiently and professionally. Well done Hotels.com.

Brian Siddles, Heathmont, VIC

HONESTY THE BEST POLICIES

While coverage has been given to travel credits from the various airlines and to accommodation providers' refund policies, what happens to travel insurance policies? Mine is an annual 60-day policy to cover my trips to my partner who lives overseas but of course I won't be going anywhere this year and therefore the insurance company won't be liable for any payouts on my account. Also, our airline credit vouchers will be worthless if the airlines in question fail. Thousands of travellers must be very concerned, if not worried sick, about the possibly thousands of dollars that not travelling is costing them. 

Nicola MJ Stainlay, South Murwillumbah, NSW 

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