Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 14 May 2024

Malmo skyline.

Putting the spotlight on Scandinavia, a big win for consumers and a selection of home-swap options, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield explores another week in Travel


The biggest travel news of the week, surely, is that 86,000 Qantas customers will get up to $450 each for the “ghost flights” they paid for but never boarded. And Qantas will pay a further $100 million to settle a claim brought by the consumer protection watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ACCC has successfully pursued Qantas, claiming it sold tickets on more than 8000 flights in 2022, though they had already been cancelled.

Qantas announced on Monday it had agreed to $20m in payments to customers and a $100m “civil penalty”, to be formalised by the Federal Court. The ACCC wanted a penalty of more than $250m.


Rosie Thomas, consumer group CHOICE’s director of campaigns and communications says it is a “significant result” but she adds: “We’ve heard from countless consumers about having to fight tooth and nail to receive refunds or compensation from airlines for delayed or cancelled flights. Consumers should not need regulator action to receive compensation when it’s owed.” Quite.


Two readers who are visiting Prague in June are concerned about reports of security issues for tourists in the city. “Are there any specific precautions we should be aware of?” they ask. Prague is certainly under more pressure with the cost of living, recent politics and refugees and drifters coming in.

But, having said that, I don’t feel overly concerned about it. Take the usual precautions — a cross-body bag and don’t just put your phone on a cafe table.

The Australian Government’s SmartTraveller adds: “Petty crime is common in Prague, including passport theft. Be wary of strangers who offer help or ask to see your passport. Only use ATMs in secure places such as banks, shops and shopping centres. Never leave your belongings unattended in public places or on transportation.”


Having a tether or lanyard on your phone isn’t a bad idea. Consider something like the Nere universal phone lanyard ($9.99) at Strandbags, which has a decent insert which goes under your phone cover, between it and the phone. That gives a bit of security. It comes in four nice colours.


The spotlight was on Malmo in Sweden on Saturday, for the final of the Eurovision 2024 song contest. (And it is particularly poignant that the competition was held in Sweden, as it is the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s win.)

In Sunday's print edition of Travel, we had the Top 10 things to do and see in Malmo (pictured at the top of the page), which is less than 40 minutes by train from Copenhagen. You can read the story here.

It’s easy to get around Scandinavia by train. Denmark, in particular, has an extensive railway network, and DSB (the Danish national rail company), is a good choice. Think about just getting a “standard ticket”, as it is fully flexible and refundable. They are valid for a specific date, but not for a specific departure — so you can go earlier or later on that day. (But you can add a specific departure time and a seat reservation.) Visit


Reader John Sandy wrote in about our recent glossy Luxury Travel Magazine: “Just wanted to say I don’t think we needed the Luxury Travel edition as your supplement, every Saturday is sheer luxury in its own right.” We’ll take that as a compliment (but I still love the glossy magazine we produced).


On May 2, AirAsia Cambodia started flying from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, which has the temples of Angkor Wat. The first flight left Phnom Penh International Airport at 7.40am and landed at Siem Reap Angkor International Airport at 8.30am. That flight then connects to Sihanoukville — a good link between three destinations in Cambodia. The launch of the flights coincides with the Cambodian Government’s Visit Siem Reap 2024 campaign, which aims to attract more visitors.


A reader who joined us at our New Norcia reader weekend, has asked about house swaps. Start with …

Love Home Swap, which has more than 200,000 properties globally and has been going since 2011. There is an annual membership fee.

Home Exchange has been going since 1992, and I’ve never had any bad feedback on them.

This one is smaller:



This brings to mind the house swap movie The Holiday, in which two women, from America (Cameron Diaz) and England (Kate Winslet), swap homes after break-ups with their boyfriends.

Jack Black plays a film composer in the movie and in one scene he picks videos off the shelves in a store (remember videos?) and performs their themes for Kate Winslet’s character, Iris. When he does the Jaws theme, Jack simply says: “Two notes and you’ve got a villain.”


I’ll stick to country music. Three chords and the truth. Tickets are on sale for the world’s biggest country music festival, CMW Fest, from June 6 to 9, 2024, in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, US. It has a fantastic line-up, from Kelsea Ballerini and Ingrid Andress (two of my favourites) to Keith Urban and Dolly Parton.