Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to cancel your holiday

I don't know about you but I've only cancelled a flight once - and due to family problems it was all I could do. I was refunded some money but it didn't matter. Seeing this piece that our loyal and friendly Get Up & Go reader David Ellis sent in surprised me - who cancels willy nilly? Do people make crazy spur of the moment bookings and are they too chicken to say they can't afford the trip and they made a mistake.
In his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says accommodation website has revealed some of the weirder calls received at its Customer Service Call Centre by people wanting to cancel holiday bookings.

They included:

• A customer who claimed her cat had walked on her computer keyboard, resulting in the wrong dates being booked.
• Another who said she couldn’t stay at a particular hotel because she believed she had stayed there in a previous life.
• A father who called because his child was sick, just as a young voice in the background called out “but I’m not sick, daddy!”
• A customer who asked to cancel a booking because of fraud, claiming his four-year-old child had used his credit card to process an online booking.
• After checking into his hotel room, one customer called to complain that there was an “adult photo shoot” underway in a nearby room.
• During a lengthy chat, an intoxicated customer began to cry, telling the staff member “please don’t hang up, don’t leave me, your voice is so beautiful.”
• Another customer wanted to book herself, her husband and two children into a two-bedroom apartment, but asked to change the childrens’ bedroom from a twin to a double, “because her children weren’t twins.”
• Yet another called to say she was mystified by hotel bookings made on her credit card under her partner’s name – because they were at hotels she’d never stayed at.
• And one believed he was entitled to cancel a non-refundable booking –because he was the President of his local cards club.
Too those 'cancellers' - here's a couple of images that surely you wouldn't think of not visiting . . .…………………………….

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Visitor number 3 million requiring information

Today, Tourism Central Australia (TCA) welcomed Julie Chester-Master from Brisbane, visitor number three million to use the facilities of the Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre on Gregory Terrace.
“This is definitely a milestone,” said Peter Grigg, the general manager of TCA, “and a very strong indication of the great customer service and professional skills of the people who have served the Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre since it began back in 1958.”
Back then the visitor’s centre was based in the Connellen Airways buildings at the old airport on Memorial Drive in what is now the suburb of Araluen and was known as the Alice Springs Tourist Promotion Association. The name has changed several times over the years but the service to visitors to Central Australia has always remained of the highest standard.
“Celebrating our 3,000,000th visitor reinforces that tourism is alive and well in Alice Springs and across the region,” said Mr Grigg.
Mr Grigg said over the past 25 years the Visitor Information Centre has averaged about 100,000 visitors a year.
“We are looking forward to continuing to welcome travellers to Alice Springs and Central Australia,” he said. “We want people who come here to know all about the region and what is has to offer.”
The Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre helps people visiting the area with tour and accommodation bookings, travel itineraries, current road condition information as well as a stocking comprehensive range travel guides and maps of the Northern Territory and South Australia.
“Tourism Cental Australia also sponsors an Ambassador Program to help travellers when they first arrive in the town,” he said. “Our dedicated volunteer Ambassadors greet new arrivals at the airport and coming off The Ghan with a friendly welcome to the Territory.”
The Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Image: Julie Chester-Master, three millionth visitor and Peter Grigg, General Manager, TCA. (Image courtesy of Centralian Advocate)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lost property - you will be surprised!

While the editor gets herself together and catches up with a backlog of emails that have piled up while she was in Greece and Turkey - here's a bit of light relief from one of Get Up & Go's diligent readers.
In his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says air travellers can be a forgetful lot: Britain’s Virgin Atlantic Airways has revealed that every year it collects more than 12,000 books, 10,500 pairs of reading glasses, around 5,000 mobile phones, almost the same number of cameras and iPod/MP3 players, and thousands of items of clothing that have been left on its flights.
And more unusual, cleaners have also recovered an artificial limb, an urn of ashes, a movie script, a wheelchair belonging to a member of the cast of the American TV show Glee... and from one flight, a witch’s broomstick.
Flight Services Manager at Virgin Atlantic, Laura Hutcheson says many passengers go into holiday mode the moment they get on board their plane, and simply forget to check seat-back pockets and overhead bins before leaving for anything they may have put there.
And while she did not say what happened to these items, most airlines hold left items for a set number of days, and if not claimed donate them to charity (Lions Clubs getting most of the reading glasses for use in third-world countries,) or dispose of them in job-lots to private companies that sell them through second-hand outlets.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Holiday in Istanbul

Thinking of visiting an exotic destination for your next trip? Readers of Get Up & Go magazine may have visited Istanbul 30 or so years ago in their hippie heyday - say no more! I'm 24 hours away from flying out of a city of more than 15 million people - Istanbul. I've been here for just four and a half days after a brilliant cruise from Athens to Istanbul.
After the peace and sailing serenity, arriving in Istanbul was like a shot of adrenalin.
What an extraordinary place, layer up on layer of history - talking Turkey means talking Hittites, Persians, Romans, Gauls, Macedonians, Ottoman Turks - and an amazing, glittering era of Byzantine rule and splendor.
When I see a pile of pomegranates, next to a tray of fresh dates - I'm seeing the same thing here that someone else was checking out at the green grocer's a few thousand years ago.
I am here in the middle of Ramadan, and there aren't too many people in a bad mood. I wonder as a man serves me dinner - houmus, shepherd's salad, kebabs, bread floating across the room with air filled wings; all finished off with a plate of sliced watermelon. A glass of apple tea washes it all down as a cup of the high octane Turkish coffee would keep me awake until next week.
Everything about Istanbul is full on . . .more to come.
Tonight staying at Divan Istanbul City - - nighty, night, the air con is being pumped up tonight.
Enjoy a couple of non 'postcard perfect' pictures from the frontline.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The new Greece

Arrived in Athens at a sweltering midday to find there were no taxis. Strike happening, and had to use my old hippie smarts to find the best person to get me to a hotel in a district that I had no idea about.
Five old guys drinking coffee when they should be working - my target (offered one of them some euros to take me there). Endaxi! Gave me a lift, I parted with the cash and he gave me his number in case I got stuck anywhere. Trust is the key!
Athens is frantic, everyone looks very grumpy even though half the population has left town for a the summer holidays.
Despite the country being broke, Gen Y are spending up big at the department store sales - why not? Yeti Ochi?
Main focus for me was getting around on the metro (much improved since I was here last) and the local buses - they turn up!
The new Acropolis Museum is stunning - elegant and spacious and very much the people's museum with kids and adults enjoying the interactivity of the set up. The floors slope upwards (to replicate the place where most of the exhibits come from, around the base of the Acropolis) and are glass, which is quite disconcerting - mild vertigo looking down at the diggings underneath.
Left Athens for a two hour bus trip to Napflion, a lovely town in the Peloponnese.
More to come . . .yassas!