Reminiscing about Travel in the 60's & Q & A with Carol Mallett
Dear Valued Customers,
Travel Agency life continues - amending, crediting and requesting refunds on behalf of our clients, resulting in all Suppliers and Airlines advising that refunds can often take 90 plus days to process due to the current volume.
There are some fantastic incentives in place by the suppliers for clients to take a credit to use over the next two years.
It was disappointing this week to see Flight Centre exposed heavily in the Media for the fees they are charging clients; disappointing because the inference is that this is the norm and all Travel Agents are being tarred with the same brush. This is far from correct. Our fees are one quarter of this – not $300.00 but just $75.00 per person which we feel is very fair.
On a lighter note, many of our clients have been sending us some interesting articles and memorabilia.This week, we thought you may like this interesting read sent to us by Roger Clarke, a client who worked in the Travel Industry in the early 60s.
Air Travel. Domestic air travel was tightly regulated by the two-airline policy operated by Ansett Airlines and TAA. Both airlines offered identical timetables with a flight every two hours between Melbourne and Sydney starting at 8am, flight time 1 hr 35min. The one-way airfare was $27.30 first class and $23.00 economy. Most business travellers flew first class.
The Melbourne-Sydney service was operated by the Lockheed Electra, a four-engine turbo-prop aircraft. First class was situated at the rear of the plane, and if you were quick to board, you could grab a seat in the comfortable, glass-enclosed, circular lounge right down the back.
Economy seats were up front behind the cockpit; it was noisier there. All alcohol and meals were free. The introduction of the Boeing 727 jet reversed the first/economy seating plan.
Very few travellers flew overseas. It was expensive; the economy fare was $620 one-way, nearly nine months’ pay for the average worker. There was no such thing as discount or early-bird fares. Qantas operated about three services a week to London on the Boeing 707 aircraft.
I flew to Amsterdam on the weekly KLM flight from Sydney. Today, the usual flight to Europe includes one stopover. My flight had eight; Darwin, Manila, Bangkok, Karachi, Dhahran, Beirut, Rome, Zurich then Amsterdam. All first class passengers had to observe a dress code. There was no airport security and carry-on baggage was not permitted. There was no Frequent Flyer program and very little possibility of an upgrade. First class seats did not lay down flat.
All tickets were hand-written. A round-the-world flight ticket with numerous stop-overs could, when stapled together, stretch out to nearly two metres and take more than one hour to write. There were no computers anywhere in the entire travel industry.
Sea Travel. Most people travelling to Europe went by sea. There were at least two or three ships a week from Melbourne’s Station Pier operated by British, Italian, Dutch and Greek shipping companies. You could get a two-berth outside cabin to a European port for $200 fully inclusive. The voyage travelled via Fremantle, Aden (Yemen), the Suez Canal and through the Mediterranean. It took 4-5 weeks. Or you could take a longer voyage via the Panama Canal.
Cruising as we know it today was almost non-existent. Small French freighters carrying 10 passengers could take you to Vanuatu, Fiji and Tahiti on a very slow round trip.
Rail Travel. The overnight Southern Aurora train to Sydney cost $18. The equivalent of the Indian Pacific between Sydney and Perth cost $84. Adelaide to Alice Springs on the original Ghan cost $39.
Hotels. The top hotels in Melbourne were the Windsor Hotel ($13.50 night), Southern Cross Hotel, Exhibition St ($13.50) and the new Sheraton Hotel in Spring St ($11). The top hotels in Sydney were Menzies Hotel ($15.50) and the new Wentworth Hotel ($16). A night on Hayman Island cost $15-$20, Dunk Island $16.
Car Rental. You could get a Morris Mini from Avis for $3 per day and 10 cents/mile. Hertz had a Holden Kingswood for $5 and 10 cents/mile.
Melbourne’s Top Attractions. Our day tour best-sellers were Cowes Sunset and Penguins tour $5, Healesville Sanctuary and Reservoirs $5. Tours along the Great Ocean Road were unheard of.
Melbourne Restaurants. We promoted the Balzac (French) in East Melbourne, Capers (steaks) in Collins St, The Walnut Tree in William St and Little Reata in Little Collins St. Geoff Brooke’s Steak Cave in Queen St was a favourite.
I hope you enjoyed Roger's story.
Q & A - Carol Mallett
1. Your Name and when did you start at BTW? Carol Mallett - 19 years ago. 2. How did you get started in the travel industry? After secondary school, I completed a Certificate of Business Studies (Travel & Tourism) at William Angliss College. At the time, this was the best course available. It was a difficult industry to break into then. My first job was in 1985 at Ambassador Travel in St Kilda Road. They gave me a 3 month trial and I stayed for 3.5 years. I then worked for Traveland to try a big company and stayed their for 14 years. After that it was on-to Brighton Travelworld. 3. What excites you about being a travel agent? I love it when clients have a complicated plan that they are struggling with and we can put it together seamlessly. Such as extended family trips with people coming and going at different times & places. I also love to learn about new destinations. 4. What three things do you never travel without? 3-4 scarves - They can transform an outfit and keep you warm. You can use them to sit on at a park or beach. They are also handy for use on doorknobs during a virus pandemic. 3-4 pens - It is so annoying when the stranger next to you on a plane says, “Can I borrow you pen?” Language - Learn to say please and thank-you (at least) in the language in the country you are visiting. 5. Favourite TV show you are watching now? Killing Eve. 6. Tell us about your best holiday experience. It is too hard to pick just one: Here are my top 3. a. Every family holiday as a child was great. Mine were mainly caravanning in NSW and driving to the Gold Coast, but when I was 11, we went on a plane (!) to Brampton Island. It was fantastic! b. In 1987, my boyfriend (now husband) and I spent 3 weeks driving around Portugal. We teamed up with a couple from NZ and spent many days at Beliche Beach in the southwest corner. The beach was down many steps from the road, and every afternoon a local shopkeeper would visit with an esky of icy-poles for sale. Merango Calipos always remind me of being young and free. c. Family holidays with my own children have also been wonderful, including annual camping trips to NSW beaches. In 2006, we went to Northern Territory and experienced the wonder of Uluru. 7. What is one positive that has come about in the current travel industry environment? Many of our clients have sent wishes of support. They really care about us, our jobs and the business that Julie and Keiran have worked so hard to build. 8. If you could go on your dream holiday right now, where would you go and why ? With our children now adults, Carey and I are looking forward to the next phase of travel with just the two of us or with friends. Right now a cottage somewhere in France would be lovely. I can work on my French and learn to live like a local. 9 What did you learn from your worst travel experience? If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. (Particularly with respect to hotels.) 10. Tell us something that we would not know about you. One of my guilty pleasures is steamed dim sims.