Traveller Letters: Why do greedy passengers demand compensation for the slightest mishap?


Paul Ness (Traveller Letters, July 25) mentions his (unrequested) United Airlines compensation "for a simple spill of wine". Considering the crew are working on a moving platform 10,000 metres in the air and moving at about 800 kilometres an hour it's a wonder more, and far worse, mishaps don't occur. Why has it become so normal for airline passengers to demand compensation for even the slightest mishap? Have we all become so thin-skinned, or greedy, that we demand compensation for the slightest problem on what is essentially a mass transportation system?

John Mizon, Collaroy, NSW


Your reader, Shelley Johnston (Traveller Letters, August 1), states it is not selfish to want to travel overseas. Well, whether it is or not is irrelevant because our government does not want us to travel and the UK government has stopped the relaxation of their restrictions.

They, as with Australia, will only repatriate residents of their own country and owning a "holiday" house would not make you one. As a resident of Western Australia, you have more freedom of movement than I do as a Melburnian. So be grateful.

As for my tuppenceworth on whether the writer of the letter that sparked the letter you refer to was being "breathtakingly selfish", a visit to the Oxford Dictionary shows that selfish is defined as "(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure". Was that person being considerate of others? Were they just interested in their own pleasure? Well, they stated that they were adults, knew about masks so should be allowed to travel. Here in Melbourne there are adults who are not acting maturely and who refuse to wear masks. I'm sure that Melbourne is not unique in that. Be patient.

Ian Rosel, Wantirna, VIC


I feel sympathy for Shelley Johnston (Traveller Letters, August 1) in respect of being denied travel to the UK, and her affirmation regarding self-funded quarantine. Who could regard such a commitment as being selfish? 

Shelley was humble in declaring that "we would like to go to the UK where we have our own home and travel around (we own a narrowboat)." I like that understated bit about owning a narrowboat, Shelley - it's something that us yobs can relate to. Others could have mentioned strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, or hoovering cucumber sandwiches while watching the polo, but you didn't. I salute your modesty as I eat my cake.

P. Reynolds, Gilmore, ACT



Julie Miller's One & Only guide to Port Macquarie, NSW (Traveller, August 1) brought back memories of when I was younger, so much younger than today. In 1967 I was "posted" to Port as a teller with the Bank of New South Wales. The Mid Pacific Motel in Clarence Street was relatively new, as was the El Paso just up the street.

Those were the days when life in this town, named by surveyor John Oxley in honour of the governor of the day in 1818, was laid back. The location has a long history of accommodating the needs of the traveller with the Royal Hotel dating back to 1841. It, along with the Hotel Macquarie and the Tourist Hotel (the latter since demolished), had competition from the new trend of motels. Port holds special memories, returning as we did in 1970 to be married and remains a special place to visit.

Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW


Dennis Payne's airfare refund delay (Traveller Letters, July 25) may be common. I have been waiting more than four months for a refund from Qatar Airways. Each enquiry comes back with either a request for information already provided or a request to be patient. More disturbingly, Qatar has advised three times that the refund has been processed and to check with the bank. No transaction details were provided although on one occasion the wrong credit number was quoted. In contrast, Qantas refunded a credit payment for a hotel booking within one week.

Lee Stiotis, Oatley, NSW


There has been a lot of concern and worry expressed by travellers about having trouble getting a refund from carriers because of cancellations. We have had success at last because of our persistence with our credit card company. At first they said that it was not their problem and that the travel agent or airline must reimburse the costs. This is not so.

If you paid by credit card for travel to a travel agent and the flight was cancelled by the carrier, it is the agent that must refund the amount. The payment by card was made to the agent. The extremely helpful AFCA (Australian Financial Complaint Authority) advised us to have the credit card provider issue a "chargeback" because the "goods and or services were not supplied." The credit card company is obligated to do this. We did not have to wait for the carrier to reimburse the agent. There were no "conditions" relative to any cancellations relative to this COVID-19 crisis. It has taken over four months of continual demands from us to both Visa and Amex but we have finally received the chargeback in full.

Russell K. Coburn, Bonny Hills, NSW


Regarding the cover story by Ben Groundwater (Traveller, August 1) on places in Australia with the word "great", there was also a mention in a sidebar to Great Britain. The "Great" reference is not used as a superlative as he mistakenly states. Rather, "Great Britain" was originally used to refer to the large island which consists of the three countries of England, Scotland and Wales, while the smaller island that was Ireland was called "Little Britain". This is not dissimilar to the way that people would refer to "greater" Sydney as the city of Sydney itself and its 200-plus suburbs.

Greg Lan, St Leonards, NSW

Send us your travel-related tips, opinions and experiences.

Letters may be edited for space, legal or other reasons. Preference will be given to letters of 50-100 words or less. Include your full name and suburb. Email us at

Keep your travel dreams alive! Share your most inspirational travel photos and stories with us on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #travelleraudream

See more: Traveller Letters