Traveller letters: Qantas, there’s a huge gap between your air and ground service

Sounds of silence dinner at Uluru. Traveller letters, logo
杭州楼凤

Traveller letters, logo

Traveller letters, logo

LA LA LAND

In a case of “don’t put your daughter on the [Qantas plane], Mrs Worthington”, my daughter recently ended up without a flight home from LA.  After a traumatic week of expensive telephone calls, long phone queues and constant broken promises of return calls, she swallowed her pride and independence and asked me to call Qantas for her.

Despite the airline’s professed support of women, it was amazing to see what a male voice could achieve. She got her flight back but the matter unfortunately did not end there, with Qantas changing her flight on the day she was to fly home and not telling her.

By chance she discovered the change before she arrived at Los Angeles International Airport.

Then there was baggage trauma, as she had relied on further misinformation from Qantas. Finally, she relieved it all in a long letter to Qantas because “Customer Care”  repeatedly told me they would “look after her”. All they offered was a bundle of frequent flyer points of little use to someone who, by then, “hated” Qantas.

Whilst it might offer good service in the air, Qantas’s service at ground level leaves a great deal to be desired.

Graham Devries, Melbourne, VICLETTER OF THE WEEK

The Sounds of Silence dinner was a highlight of a trip to Uluru several years ago, so it was good to see it included in the “Six of the Best” experiences at Uluru (Traveller, September 25). But one word of warning. On the night we attended, we saw people getting on the bus in their “going out to dinner” clothes.  This is not a good idea!

As the night goes on, because the dinner is held in the sand hills, the temperature drops rapidly and it becomes very, very cold. By the end of the evening, it was so cold that the drinking water in the glasses had frozen. The organisers provide some warmer gear and some fires, but diners should make sure they are prepared for the temperatures.

To fully enjoy the experience of the silence, the desert, the food and the amazing stars, just ensure you have enough clothes on and don’t forget your feet.

Joyce Currie, Wendouree, VICCARD SHARPS

We recently pre-booked a week-long stay in a Harbour View room at the Holiday Inn Potts Point in Sydney. A credit card imprint of my Visa card was taken at arrival with the assurance that the pre-authorisation amount of $50 would be released at the completion of the stay. On departure, I decided to pay $1200 for the stay on my MasterCard, rather than with the originally imprinted Visa card – a change that I carefully explained to hotel staff.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I had been “automatically charged” a nightly authorisation tariff on my Visa card as well, which has yet to be released several weeks later. In effect, I paid double the hotel bill, once at departure using my MasterCard and unbeknownst to me and without my permission, with my Visa card.

Despite my club membership of the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), the duty manager told me to get in touch with ANZ Bank to try to get the Visa card double charges released.

This simply is not good enough. Does IHG take such a negative view of human character that they automatically charge your credit card a nightly tariff on the presumption that you will leave their hotel without paying?

Joseph Ting, Carina, QLDSCRAPES OF WRATH

I agree completely with John Garratt (Letters, September 25),  as I too have had problems with Europcar​ in the UK. Firstly I had to wait over two hours at Manchester Airport to collect an automatic car that had been pre-booked and paid for. OK, that happens.

Then I was informed by the staff that they had an automatic car available but, because it was of a higher standard than I had booked, I would have to pay  $130 a day, over and above what had already been paid, to rent it. Dreadful customer service.

On returning the car to Glasgow I was charged  $116 for a one-centimetre scrape on the wing mirror and (this bit added insult to injury) a further $58 administration fee.

Ewan McLean, Avalon, NSWSWISS BLISS

I want to thank travel writer Diane Armstrong for the recommendation of Kandersteg, Switzerland, published in Traveller earlier this year. It was, hands down, the most beautiful scenery I’ve come across in my many years of travel, and I would never have known about the town otherwise.

I, too, stayed at the delightful Hotel Bernerhof, and hiked a magnificent Oeschinensee trail. Perhaps I went a bit far by ordering the exact same sausages, rosti and apple Kuchen as Diane did at Lohner’s restaurant Restaurant Lohner, but that also turned out to be a winning idea.

Many thanks for inspiring a great adventure.

Hannah Fagan, Toorak, VicUNDER REVIEW

My partner and I recently completed a five-week trip Europe and after completing each sector of our journey I  posted a review of each establishment and city we visited.

Not having ever been one to post such reviews, I was astounded upon our return to discover some 800-plus views of the assorted posts we had made. It prompted me to think that there are other travellers who will appreciate and make value judgments before booking hotels or sightseeing adventures from the assorted reviews on TripAdvisor and other booking sites.

If we were able to assist at least one other person or group make an informed decision about their travel plans from our own experiences then we were happy to do so.

Tony White, Bexley  NSW

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The writer of the letter judged the best of the week will receive a Lonely Planet prize pack valued at almost $90, it includes The World’s Best Brunches, The World’s Best Spicy Food and The World’s Best Street Food. See www.lonelyplanet杭州龙凤论坛m.

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