The Qantas Club in Sydney. There’s a time and a place and a business class lounge isn’t it. Photo: David Freund
Miramare Castle in Trieste, Italy.
Not sure what’s happened to Qantas business class domestically. While waiting for our flight on January 21 in the business class lounge in Sydney we saw not one but two passengers wandering around the lounge in thongs.
This was despite notices plastered around the terminal precluding thongs. We lost count of the number of T-shirts and torn jeans in the lounge.
David Morgan, Beecroft, NSW
See also: Lee Tulloch – Australian tourists look like a bunch of badly dress slobsLETTER OF THE WEEKTRIESTE IS BEST
Wow, two mentions of Trieste, Italy, in the one edition (Traveller, February 4). What a way to start my weekend. Firstly, I was delighted to read about design director Alex Zabotto-Bentley’s pilgrimage back to Trieste to honour, I gathered, his Trieste-born parents.
My parents were also from Trieste and I have travelled there and enjoyed the food and multiculturalism of this beautifully Austrian-inspired town many times.
Secondly, I then turn a few pages and read about Elspeth Callender’s gorgeous cycling experience in Slovenia and Trieste, where she was treated to the genuine hospitality of locals.
As she described her encounter with scooter-riding Fulvio I was reminded of my own travels and experiences in both Trieste and Muggia, and the lifelong friends I have made there (ciao, Paolo!). I would also recommend the nearby beautiful Karst region for hiking and its world heritage cave sites.
Thank you for transporting me to my happy place. Trieste is my destination for 2018.
Deborah Valente, Oak Park, VICLIFE ON THE NILE
We have just returned from a 10-day tour of Egypt. We had a great time. Tourist numbers were down to 40 per cent of those prior to the recent revolution so most of the archaeological sites were relatively uncrowded.
Similarly, riverboat traffic was sparse. Hotel accommodation, even at the high end, was discounted. Security was tight and the people seemed to welcome the return of tourists.
Peter Bailey, Blackwood, SACLASS ACT
I totally agree with Mark Darcy (Traveller letters, January 28). Premium economy on Qantas is exceptional. Last year my husband and I travelled to London and Geneva using a few different airlines and different classes of travel. We had two premium economy sectors, Melbourne to Dubai with Qantas and Hong Kong to Sydney with Cathay Pacific.
Qantas was definitely very, very good with great seating, food and service. Cathay’s service was good but the seating (maybe an old aircraft) and food was very mediocre.
Ramona Quazzola, Burraneer, NSWTHUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER
Like several previous letter writers my family also experienced difficulties with a hire car company over a pre-booked and paid for rental car. The booked car wasn’t available and they haggled over insurance coverage.
My advice is to go in loud and proud, actually at the counter, and bring to bear on the hapless salesperson the most blistering attack on their company’s good name that you can sally forth with.
I included threats to take action under consumer law; their criminal intent to scam innocent Australian tourists; that every possible social media outlet would be told of their nefarious business practices and did they really want to take on a middle-aged woman, following a 15-hour flight with a child and fear of flying (me not child).
At the end of my blistering (and somewhat hysterical attack) they could not get my family out of the office and into an upgraded vehicle of our choice with full (the previously paid for) insurance fast enough.
Tracey Dillon, Woy Woy, NSWHIRE POWER
I hope you find the following press release, issued by the European Commission (ec.europa.eu) on January 19, 2017, helpful.
“Did you ever book a car online and find out you had to pay more when you get to the rental desk?
“Last year, this was the case of 2000 consumers in Europe, who reported these issues to the European Consumer Centres, which help consumers when they travel or buy cross border.
“Following a strong increase of the number of complaints on car rental issues, the European Commission and national consumer authorities engaged with the five leading car rental companies to address these issues.
“Today, the authorities decided to conclude this phase of the enforcement co-operation. They are satisfied with the changes brought by the five industry leaders, Avis, Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz and Sixt, to their commercial practices, which now comply with EU consumer rules.
“The EU trade association, Leaseurope, which helped set up the action from the industry side, is also developing further their guidelines for the whole car rental sector.”
Richard Townley, Camberwell, VIC ART ATTACK
With regards to Lake Ballard, Western Australia (Traveller, January 28), make sure you take plenty of water and insect repellent. The lake can be as hot as an oven and the flies are the worst I have ever seen. The 100 kilometres dirt road round trip from Menzies is barely worth the effort, unless you are really into sculpture.
T. Hart, Canterbury, VICTAKING SOCK
I would like to update the information given by Lee Tulloch (Traveller, February 4). Singapore Airlines no longer provides amenity kits to business class passengers.
On a recent flight to Europe on all legs, Melbourne to Singapore and Singapore to Frankfurt and return to Melbourne, we were only provided with socks and a sleep mask. There was toothpaste, brushes and other amenities provided in the toilets but not in individual kits. In fact, the whole experience of flying business class with Singapore was quite underwhelming. The service and food were very good but the state and age of some of the planes we travelled in were quite disappointing.
Our homeward leg from Singapore to Melbourne was on a very old plane that had seen better days. The leather trimming on the seats was brittle and cracked, and the storage shelves had evidence of rings where glasses had been placed and not properly cleaned. In all it was a disappointing experience for first time business class flyers.
Pamela Saville, Yarraville, VIC
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