The 10 points the vacation business must repair in 2017

CAR HIRE RIP-OFFS

The car hire industry has a thousand ways to gouge a few extra dollars from you, and only rarely is the price quoted at booking time the same as what eventually appears on your credit card statement. 

HOTEL PRE-AUTHORISATIONS

You took an imprint of my credit card when I checked in, so why do you need to suck out a daily charge of $30-$150 to cover the cost of the mini bar, phone calls and other incidentals? While any surplus might then take more than a week to be returned to my account? 

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR SENIORS

Why is the cost of a travel insurance policy determined almost solely on the basis of age? And why is there no discount for seniors who are in good health and who have a clean insurance record? The car insurance industry tailors its policies, why can’t travel insurers? 

CONSUMER PROTECTION FOR AUSSIE TRAVELLERS

Compensation for offloaded passengers, for long flight delays and an Australian travel industry fund that protects travellers whose travel operator goes bust. Europe and North America provide statutory compensation, so why not here? 

AN END TO FINAL INSPECTION POINT MADNESS

If I buy duty-free liquor in London or Frankfurt and carry it as hand luggage on the way back to Australia, security staff at Dubai, Singapore or any other intermediate stop will confiscate it before I reboard, even if it’s sealed in a tamper-evident plastic bag. This is an Australian government requirement and it’s ridiculous. 

MORE CHINESE, PLEASE

If Australia is to benefit fully from the boom in Chinese tourism we need to be a lot more savvy, and lay out the welcome carpet. Chinese language signs at the airport and more Chinese speakers at customs and immigration would be a start.

ONLINE TRAVEL AGENTS WITH AN INVISIBILITY CLOAK

Tried contacting your online travel agent if your booking went awry? OTAs should have a hotline to sort out problems, not disappear as soon as they’ve taken your cash. 

EXTORTIONATE FEES FOR AIRPORT PARKING

The price of parking at Sydney and Melbourne airports bears no relation to the cost of providing the service and Sydney’s free pick-up zone is a sick joke. 

THE 10AM CHECKOUT

Very convenient for the hotel and its housekeeping staff, but a major annoyance for the guest who just wants to relax first thing in the morning. 

TRANSPARENT PRICING

Your Budget Air ticket starts off at the bargain price of $100, but by the time you add baggage fees, a seat reservation, access to the inflight entertainment system and the fee for paying by credit card the cost blows out to almost double.

The story The 10 things the travel industry needs to fix in 2017 first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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