This could explain Qantas’ baggage handler issues

JOYCE’S CHOICE

Traveling overnight recently on a very late and delayed Virgin Australia arrival from Melbourne, I met several baggage handlers on the shuttle to the car park who may have explained one of the reasons why luggage is a problem. All worked for Qantas and lost their jobs. All were rehired by [the aviation services company] Swissport after a period without work, although some received Jobkeeper. They had nothing good to say about disloyalty and lost benefits and more. Did Alan Joyce pluck his goose that lay the golden eggs?

Paul Gerrard, Kellyville, New South Wales

HARD TO SELL

If Qantas wants to up its game, it should stop flogging wine, insurance, healthcare and god knows what else and just focus on air travel.

John Swanton, Coogee, New South Wales

LETTER OF THE WEEK

I’M GOING THERE IN 60 SECONDS

Sue Williams’ article “The Art of Outsmarting Scammers” (TravelerJuly 9th) was a great reminder of the difficulties Australian travelers abroad can face. As my wife and I were boarding a train from Lisbon to Porto, Portugal, I was struggling to lift two heavy suitcases onto the train when a man offered to help me. A minute later the train pulled away and I put the crates on a rack and we got back to our seats. That’s when I noticed my wallet was missing. I thought I must have fallen on the floor of the train but finally realized I had been robbed. The driver’s assistant said she saw two suspicious men running away as the train departed. By the time the train had reached Porto a few hours later, the thieves had used my credit card and cash card with a considerable amount of money also lost which was in the wallet. We went to Porto tourist police the next morning but it was a waste of time. Robbing tourists from train stations is a regular occurrence and our travel insurance company refused to accept my claim on the grounds that I was not vigilant enough. A lesson learned.

John Aarons, East Brighton, VIC

TOMB WARRIOR

I disagree with your Buenos Aires guidebook’s choice of Recoleta as the only cemetery to visit there. Visiting the tomb of Evita, yes, but if you want to pay homage to Carlos Gardel, the “king of tango”, you must visit the cemetery of La Chacarita. A train or bus ride from downtown Buenos Aires takes 30-40 minutes. It then takes about 10 minutes to find the tomb and the statue of the great man. When we were there, someone had placed a carnation on his suit and a lit cigarette in his hand. It was well worth the time to pay homage.

Robert Pallister, Punchbowl, New South Wales

SUCCESS OVERNIGHT

Regarding Ray Ward’s comments (Letters to travellers, July 9) about staying at the Hilton at Fiumicino airport in Rome, we faced the same problem of an early morning flight and opted to stay in Fiumicino town itself. We were picked up by a free shuttle from the airport train station to our accommodation. Fiumicino is a city apparently devoid of architectural value but not lacking in cafes and restaurants. We spent an afternoon strolling through the town, along the waterfront and the town’s canals where the fishermen were selling their catch. Later, we ate pizza in a small cafe before returning to our accommodation. The next morning we were brought back by the shuttle to the airport in time for check-in. It was an interesting and rather different way to spend our last night in Italy and cost less than half the airport hotel.

Dawn Lumley, Fitzroy, VIC

I’m sorry that Ray Ward was disappointed with the Fiumicino Airport Hotel. Our experience, admittedly less recent, has been quite the opposite. Efficient and convenient, our stay there was just what we needed for a next day departure.

Graham Hannaford, Ainslie, ACT

My wife and I have just returned from our third tour of Italy by car, this time mainly in the southwest. Like Ray Ward, we too had a morning flight from Rome airport (Rome-Doha-Melbourne) and as usual we chose to stay at the Best Western, Rome. The hotel is easily accessible from the airport with a shuttle service even for the first flights. The hotel itself is clean and modern, the staff are friendly and helpful and the restaurant offers excellent food and wine at very reasonable prices.

Brad Downs, Bairnsdale, Vic

My only stay at an airport hotel has been wonderful. Our flight from Johannesburg was delayed overnight and we were transported at midnight to the Southern Sun Airport Hotel. The dining room had remained open for us and the following day we were treated to an assortment of South African specialties for breakfast, tea and lunch. The direct train to Sandton City Mall was an added bonus for last minute shopping.

Rhoda Silber, Manly, New South Wales

UNIQUE SPIRIT

Kudos, Lee Tulloch, for pointing out ageism and faulty assumptions in the travel industry regarding older travelers (TravelerJuly 9th). Also spare a thought for older single travellers. Travel articles and advertising place a strong emphasis on couples, but among the over-50s there are many well-paid singles who would appreciate recognition of their existence and that they have special care needs. accommodation. Articles, advertising, and photographs almost invariably promote king beds and “romantic getaways.” Older singles usually only need a double bed, and singles traveling together appreciate twin rooms where the beds aren’t so close together that they might as well be doubles.

Liz Edwards, Orange, New South Wales

TIP OF THE WEEK

CAPTURED MAPPING

We are in the middle of a 10 week trip to Norway and Iceland. An app called Maps.me has transformed our travels. It is a free application, through which you can download different countries and use it offline. It contains detailed information on hotels, ATMs, gas stations, tourist sites and grocery stores. The app provides options for driving, walking and other transportation routes and estimated times. He helped us hike the highest mountains of the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway, with most hiking routes and parking spots marked and the ability to track your progress. A traveller’s must.

Jenni Davidson, Balmain, New South Wales

GOOD WELCOME

Ute Junker, in her article on free attractions and experiences around the world (TravelerJuly 10), may not have heard of the International Greeter Association (internationalgreeter.org). Visitors to 130 destinations (including Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane here in Australia) can meet a local Greeter for a free walking tour to explore the Greeter’s hometown. They will discover places known only to locals and get an inside perspective from someone who lives there. It’s a great introduction to the city you’re visiting at no cost.

Joanne Karcz, Dangar Island, New South Wales

SET THE “FREE” FREE

Another fantastic free experience to add to the list is Boston’s Freedom Trail. This self-guided walk takes you through Boston’s 16 top historic sites. There are organized tours for a small fee, but it is easy to walk and there is information to read at each site. There are also wheelchair accessible routes. The website (thefreedomtrail.org) has many resources to help you prepare for your visit. I lived in Boston for eight years and it was my go-to activity for visiting friends and family and was always a big hit.

Kay Hartman, Willoughby, New South Wales

LOWER BALI

I recently flew to Bali for a hoped-for relaxing break, but the Bali airport was a mix of queues and chaos. First there is a long queue to show your vaccination certificate. Then Australians again have to queue to pay US$35 for a visa – a tax recently reinstated by Indonesian authorities – with a mass of immigration queues. My advice is to stay calm because although the process took almost two hours, I also had to wait for my bag before facing the fourth queue to clear customs. It’s such a shame because the Balinese need our support so much right now and are disappointed with their airport.

Simon Benedict, Docklands, Vic

HOT RED

Just got back from a trip to Alice Springs where I booked a rental car 12 months ago. The day before the car was picked up, I received an email confirming my reservation. Upon closer inspection, I luckily noticed that the charges had increased by 50%. After a phone call, adjustments were made so that the initial charge was honored. Even with this car rental fee amendment, it turned out to be an expensive trip to visit the Red Centre, but the beauty and magic of it was mesmerizing. I can not wait to return to.

Jane Buckingham, Apollo Bay, Vic

CONDITIONS APPLY

We recently rented a car in Italy through the Rentalcars.com aggregator. When renting, pick up was clearly in Rome and drop off in Naples. Be careful because at the bottom of all the terms and conditions there was a clause saying that the car company used (Locauto) can actually charge you what they want as return costs, even if we thought it was covered by the pick up and drop off appointment. My credit card was eventually charged about another €100.

Vince Vozzo, Blairgowrie, Vic

TIP TIP

One of your recent Traveler articles mentioned that Australians did not understand American “tipping culture”. By way of explanation when traveling to the United States, it is important to be aware that service staff, such as servers and baristas, unlike here in Australia, do not receive a living wage. Americans doing the same job are paid such a pittance that they are entirely dependent on generous tips from customers.

John B. Quinn, Lawyer, Vic

WRITE TO US AND WIN

Letter of the Week author wins Hardie Grant travel books worth over $100. For July, that includes Kate Ulman’s Vantastic; The Great Wonders of the World by Michael Turtle; and Emma Shaw’s Ultimate Weekends Australia.

See hardiegrant.com

The author of the tip of the week wins a set of three excellent Lonely Planet travel books, including Ultimate Australia Travel List, The Travel Book and Armchair Explorer.

See shop.lonelyplanet.com

HOW TO WRITE TO US

We give preference to letters of 100 words or less and they can be modified for space, legal or other reasons. Please use complete sentences, do not use textual language, and do not include attachments. Email us at travellerletters@traveller.com.au and most importantly include your name, address and phone number.

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