A friend recently downgraded from business class to economy class on a Qatar Airways home flight made me nervous about flying business class at a hefty fee. Is there any way to make sure it doesn’t happen? C. Lee, South Yarra VIC
Downgrading from business class is a fact of flying these days, and airlines have a priority list to determine who gets sent to the back. The most likely candidates are those paying for their tickets with points rather than cash. This means airlines can simply reinstate their points without having to compensate them with cash. Next, those without frequent flyer status earn points with the airline. Elite-level flyers with gold or platinum status are the least likely to be fired. To avoid the possibility of a downgrade, travel between Tuesday and Thursday when there is a higher chance of empty seats and check in early. If you’re a potential candidate for relegation, it’s advanced and best dressed.
My friend and I will have about 14 days to go home after our UK/Ireland trip. We are interested in visiting the Isle of Wight, can we do it without a car? How many days do you recommend? Is there a package tour? C. Coutts, Swansea, NSW
Touring the Isle of Wight by bus is practical and affordable.South Vitis [islandbuses.info], the island’s bus operator, connects all towns and places of interest on the island with fairly frequent services. Download the Southern Vectis app and you can view fares and timetables. You can pay contactless with Visa or Mastercard, and weekly passes get you unlimited travel for one low price. Southern Vectis can also sell you a Cross Solent ticket for a hovercraft ride across the Solent, by far the fastest and most exciting way to get to the island.Rabies [rabbies.com] and go on vacation [justgoholidays.com] Full guide service is provided, including accommodation.If you want to arrange your own accommodation and day trips, visit the island’s website [visitisleofwight.co.uk]. How long you stay depends on what else you might be exploring in southern England, but I’d spend five nights here.
My husband and I will be touring New Zealand’s North Island for two weeks next April and looking for advice on accommodation, car hire and any must-see attractions. G Cusack, Mudgee NSW
Official New Zealand tourism website [newzealand.com] is a great resource to help you plan your trip at Flight Center [flightcentre.com.au] Offers vacation deals that include airfare, car rental, and accommodation. Spend four nights in Auckland exploring the city before catching a ferry to the pretty harbor village of Devonport. Take a day trip by ferry on Waiheke Island, then rent a car or join a tour, with its many wineries and lively dining options. Head north to the Bay of Islands and take a boat tour of this picturesque wonderland. Russell is a better place to stay than Paia, and while it’s less accessible, its charm and personality put it way ahead. You can then drive south from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula and then to Rotorua for four nights to experience the steaming sensations of New Zealand’s geothermal wonderland, complete with stunning lake and forest scenery.Afterwards, head to and fish Lake Taupo, and if you have time, continue south to Tongariro National Park to see the dramatic volcanic landscape used to depict Mordor lord of the rings Movies and do some amazing walks.
Traveling to Europe for Christmas, I want to turn off global roaming and use the free Wi-Fi provided by the hotel, but I still need to be able to receive messages when I am away from home. Is there a way around this? A. Fleming, Coffs Harbor NSW
You can’t avoid global roaming even for something as simple as receiving messages, unless you just want to limit your usage to those times when you have Wi-Fi access. Receiving messages requires a data or cellular connection, so you’ll need to enable global roaming when you don’t have a Wi-Fi signal. Another issue that may affect your travels is that if you activate two-factor authentication for financial transactions, you won’t be able to receive messages with the codes you need to complete the transaction unless you have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.
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Travel advice is general; readers should consider their individual circumstances.