Price gouging

4 06 2020

Talk about price gouging!

I know that tourism providers are hurting badly and reeling from the impact of COVID-19, and that our state’s borders are still closed, which means we can holiday in our own state but not elsewhere in Australia or overseas. And those from other states and overseas can’t come here yet. Our state’s tourist people are actively encouraging us to explore and holiday in our big state.

But why would you when you encounter exorbitant price gouging like this?

Back in Feb, I found an ideal Airbnb place about 2 hours north of Perth that looked perfect for the annual quilting retreat with my friends. At the time the price for booking the whole house for 4 people for 4 days in July or Aug was $200/night + $200 cleaning fee and $155 service fee (whatever that is), so a total of $1155 (~$288 each). Fast forward to today when I looked again at the same place, also 4 people, 4 days, late Jul or mid Aug (and any other date I put in outside school and pubic hols for the next 9 months) — the price has now jumped to $724/night + $200 cleaning fee + $480.79 service fee, for a total of $3575.80 (~$894 each) — more than a 300% increase!

That’s a BIG NOPE from me.

Qantas, Qatar, Emirates and OneWorld

22 10 2019

This post is for me to connect the dots with why I can sometimes see some airlines via the Qantas booking site, but not on the OneWorld website, or vice versa. It’s all a little confusing!

So, here’s the problem. A friend asked me for help to book flights from Perth (PER) to Marrakech (RAK), return, using her Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) points. She’d found that there are flights from PER to Doha (DOH) on Qatar, and then on to RAK, either direct from DOH or through Madrid (MAD) on Iberia. Sounds easy, right? Not so much…

There are some issues we’ve encountered, and that I called the QFF customer centre to find out about. Here’s what I learned from the helpful Frank:

  • Qantas is a member of OneWorld
  • Qatar is a member of OneWorld
  • Iberia is a member of OneWorld
  • Emirates is NOT a member of OneWorld
  • Despite not being a member of the OneWorld alliance, Qantas has a codeshare partnership with Emirates (this means you can book Emirates flights via the Qantas website and redeem and earn QFF points for Emirates flights booked via the Qantas website; however, you can’t earn QFF Status Credits [SCs] on Emirates flights booked through Qantas, as summarised here:
  • Even though they are both part of the OneWorld alliance, Qantas does NOT have a codeshare partnership with Qatar (this means you can see Qatar flights from the Qantas website if you try to book using QFF points only [because they are both part of OneWorld], but you CAN’T see Qatar flights if you try to PAY for a flight, as summarised here:; you can also earn QFF points and Status Credits [SCs] on Qatar)
  • I haven’t checked much for Iberia, but according to the Qantas website it’s not a codeshare partner with Qantas either, so I expect the same rules apply as for Qatar (

It’s a mess!

The other thing Frank told me is that about 10% of seats in all classes are kept aside for points bookings, though that varies between airlines, which means even six months out, you may not find a seat in the class you want to travel for a particular day or flight. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Can’t delete my OLA account

21 10 2019

Did you know you can’t delete an OLA account???? (OLA is a ride-share service in Australia/NZ [elsewhere?]; it’s like Uber but the drivers supposedly get a better cut.) (see Update dated 23 Oct below—it looks like you can do so now)

I signed up when I was in NZ, but there’s no way to delete your account if you no longer need it. Not only does OLA have my personal contact details, it also has my credit card info.

You can’t delete your account through the app, and Googling the issue told me that the only way to get deleted or ‘blocked’ was to send OLA an email ( I sent an email on 8 Oct, another on 12 Oct, and got nothing except a ‘we’re working on it’ reply. I tried again today (this time sending the email to I got another automated reply, followed by this a few minutes later:

“We would like to inform you that we cannot delete the driver’s information due to rules related to record-keeping. At this stage, we need to preserve the information and this overrides any general privacy law considerations. So do not worry as we keep the data with high safety.

We understand that this is not a resolution that you were hoping but we hope you will be able to understand our limitations in the matter and not take this as a representation of our services.”

So drivers’ info/OLA recordkeeping trumps a customer’s right to delete their account?

I responded asking for my account to be blocked, and got this (unedited):

“We can understand your worries about your account. We would like to inform you that your account will intact as it was but as you are not using it .So keep it in a safe way. We can understand that you are concern about the account but it is totally in safe hand.”

To say I’m not happy would be an understatement. I’ll now look into reporting the company to my state’s consumer affairs department or the ACCC.

Update 22 Oct 2019: After more emails with OLA support personnel, finally someone told me how to delete my credit card from the app, which was my main concern. If you need to do this:

  1. Log in to the OLA app.
  2. Under the menu, tap Payments.
  3. Tap on the credit card you want to delete.
  4. Tap the trash icon.
  5. Tap Delete.

Your account isn’t deleted (their latest email says: “we want to inform you that according to the Ola policy you have taken rides with us, deletion of your Ola account is not possible.”), but your credit card details are.

Update 23 Oct 2019: I fiddled around in the OLA settings looking to put in a temporary email account. Instead, I found a way to delete my account—I swear this wasn’t there a week or so ago! Now, whether it will actually get deleted or not, I don’t know, but when I tried to go into the app after ‘deleting’ it, it asked me to sign up, so here’s hoping. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Open the OLA app on my phone.
  2. Under the menu, tap on My Profile.
  3. Tap Data and Privacy.
  4. Tap Manage your data.
  5. Tap Delete your account.
  6. You get information about what will happen next—essentially, they don’t delete your account immediately. Instead, they deactivate it for 30 days, during which time you can sign back in. At the end of the 30 days, your account is meant to be deleted.
  7. Tap Delete my account.
  8. Confirm the deletion.

I then got an error message (‘auth failed’ or something like that). I closed the OLA app, then reopened, at which point I was asked to sign up again, and offering to sign me up with my previous credentials. So it looks like my account is now deactivated. I’ll set a reminder to check again in 30 days…

Qantas bag drop and Q Tags

7 10 2019

If you fly with Qantas, you may already know this but it caught me out this morning… If you’re travelling with bag tags on your luggage put on by the check-in counter people (maybe kiosk check-in too?) AND you have a Q Tag on your luggage, the bag drop machine for transfer from international to domestic may not accept your bag. Instead the kiosk comes back with a cryptic message that you have too many luggage tags and to remove some.

Well, the only tags I had (that I was aware of) were the ones put on at AKL this morning. But it seems the bag drop reads that AND the Q Tag and gets itself confused. I had to go to the customer assistance counter to find out why my bag wasn’t accepted, and she told me to remove the Q Tag and try again (that worked). But it would’ve been very useful to have that info on the kiosk screen at the point where I was told I had too many tags! (yes, I’ve sent in feedback to Qantas about this and discussed it with a customer service rep.)

One other thing another friend shared — if you have a spare Q Tag for perhaps an extra bag you didn’t end up purchasing, don’t leave it in your suitcase as it can confuse the machine too. Instead, put it in your carry-on bag.

Quilting batiks in Bali

28 09 2019

I was in Bali a couple of weeks ago and went to one of the two main stores that stock quilting batiks. It’s near the old Denspasar markets, so you’ll likely need a driver to get you there and to escort you to the place: CV Dewi Mas, Jl. Gajah Mada 48 Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia (open 7 days a week from 9:30am; closes at 4:30pm Mon to Sat and at 1:30pm on Sunday)

I’d previously gone to the other store nearby (, but this time wanted to check Dewi Mas out. As with the other store, you can buy fabric off the bolt (minimum 1 m cut; $3 AUD per metre), pre-cut lengths (lengths varied a lot — I got a 9.5 m length of a dark fabric; others were 1 or 2 m), jelly rolls ($13 AUD each), fat quarters, charm squares, etc.

For reference: 7.5 m = 1 kg in your luggage (and yes, they have scales where you can weigh your purchases), and 3 jelly rolls = 1 kg.

This was my haul of quilting batiks, probably about 20 or so metres of fabric, plus 3 jelly rolls

This was my haul, probably about 20 or so metres of fabric, plus 3 jelly rolls

Jelly rolls galore!

Jelly rolls galore!

Two long walls were covered in fabric lengths

Two long walls were covered in fabric lengths

Pre-cut lengths of fabric (various lengths)

Pre-cut lengths of fabric (various lengths)



Gorgeous Melbourne!

7 05 2019

I’m in Melbourne for a conference, and I deliberately came a day early to go see some things.

Melbourne certainly turned on some magical weather today! I put a rain jacket, scarf, and spare leggings in my handbag in anticipation of its reputed ‘four seasons in one day’, and all I experienced was gorgeous autumn sunshine, clear blue skies, and no wind. All the parks are stunningly green (so different from the still yellow/brown of where I am in Western Australia).

By 1pm, I’d already hit 10,000+ steps. First stop was a local cafe for breakfast, then down to the MCG and across the Barak Bridge, along the Yarra River to Federation Square, where I spent most of the next 3 hours. My main reason for going there was to see the Hans and Nora Heysen exhibition at the NGV at Federation Square (the one devoted to Australian art). And it certainly didn’t disappoint — there were hundreds of sketches, watercolours, oil paintings from both father and daughter, including all the really famous ones. And lots of info about them as people and as artists. They were from the Hahdorf area of South Australia where one branch of my family is from, and one of the paintings was of a farm owned by people with the surname the same as some of my ancestors — I wonder if they’re related?

After seeing the Heysens, I walked around the other exhibitions in the gallery (all free; only the Heysen exhibitions had an entry fee [$18]), including the exhibition of Year 12 art. Then I walked back to the hotel, picking up some basic food items at the IGA, and stopping off at Fitzroy Gardens.

I’m resting my weary feet right now, but if this weather holds, I may venture back to Fitzroy Gardens a little later just to let those ancient trees remind me of my place in the world.

The conference starts tomorrow, and so my opportunity to see more of Melbourne will be limited — it’s today and tomorrow morning (when I’m catching up with some friends), and that’s it. Everything else is conference related.



Kudos to American Airlines

2 04 2019

I must say that American Airlines has upped their game a LOT in the past few years. The new Flagship Lounges at the major airports (I’ve tried Chicago and now JFK) are wonderful, with good selections of food (not just stale cheese and crackers) and drinks, friendly staff, good showers, oodles of power outlets, good seating for working at a laptop (Qantas could learn something from this… too many of its lounges have very low [and round] tables which are fine for putting a cup of coffee on, but not conducive to working on a laptop without severe stress on your back).

And the flight I just took from Boston to JFK? Amazing! It was on an A321 (flight 1140), and even though I’d booked and paid for Economy, I was seated in Main Cabin Extra (I think that’s what it’s called), which was akin to a full international Business Class, with lie-flat seats, two each either side of the aisle. The First Class cabin was a real First Class, with single suites either side of the aisle. Because it was such a short flight (about 45 mins in the air) and bumpy, there was little service where I was seated—just a bottle of water. And being a noon flight and so short, I didn’t need to lie flat to try to sleep. I didn’t pay any extra for the seat either—just the normal Economy fare—but I think my status as Qantas Platinum (OneWorld Emerald) meant that I was able to choose the seat that I did for no extra charge. I had no idea it would be as good as it was.

This is streets ahead of what many of my previous experiences with American Airlines have been.

QV2018: Day 20: Houston Quilt Festival

13 11 2018

A very lazy day today. First task of the day was to pack my second suitcase.

Then I had brunch at Poitin with some Houston friends (I worked with Jason in Perth, some 10+ years ago; he and his wife Natalia have been living here for much of the intervening time). It was good to catch up with them again, and brunch was amazing, as were the two cocktails I had — yes, before noon!

This afternoon I wandered back to the exhibition and vendor mall — both were pretty quiet and the mania of the crowds on Thursday had gone. Memo to my future self: Unless there’s something specific you want to buy, wait until Sunday to check out the vendor area! I stopped in at the booth run by my friend Kim’s mom, and caught up with her for a while. Then as a group we convened near Michelle’s second prize entry, and she talked about how she and Sophie made it. Next stop were Helen’s two quilts, where Helen explained how she had made them.

For our last night, I had dinner with Michelle, Helen, Carol, and Lyn, and a ring-in Carol from New Zealand. And then it was all over.

Tomorrow some head off for other destinations, and I head off earlier than the others to IAH for my flight to DFW. Most of us are on the same DFW-SYD flight, though some will be in different classes and different parts of the plane. Once in Sydney (Wednesday), we lose the Tasmanians, the Canberran, and the Sydneysider, and I fly back to Perth on a later flight than those that remain.

And that’s it for another QuiltVenture. We don’t know yet if there’ll be another in two years’ time, and if so, where it will go. But travelling with a group of similar women and the friendships that ensue, can’t be underestimated. Many thanks to Michelle, especially, for being our fearless leader, and for organising yet another AMAZING trip. There’s an enormous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make it all seem so easy, and Michelle is responsible for all that. Thank you, my friend.

QV2018: Day 19: Houston Quilt Festival

11 11 2018

The only class I had today was in the afternoon, so I had a leisurely breakfast with Mary Beth and her husband. I first met Mary Beth at the first-ever Quilting Adventures workshop I went to in New Braunfels, Texas (2012). I’ve since met her at Festival. This was the first time I met her husband.

After breakfast, I wandered back over to the quilt exhibition to see a few more sections in detail, and to check out some of the vendor mall — it wasn’t so crazy busy today as it was on Thursday, thank goodness (for me as an attendee; perhaps not so much for the vendors). Then back to my room to pick up my class supplies and to call and catch up with Kim, the ex-owner of Quilting Adventures (now closed). Kim’s mom has a booth in the vendor mall, which I missed, so I’ll check that out tomorrow when I go say hi to her. My class was on Super Fast Binding and Piping with Melody Crust, and it was super fast — I was done in half the allocated time!

This evening we had our final group dinner at The Grove restaurant in Houston, and said goodbye to Miss Pat, the lovely Texan who joined this mad group of Aussies on this trip — she leaves early tomorrow morning.

Here are some more photos of quilts on display at Festival this year:

One of Jane Sassaman's quilts -- I did a whole day drawing workshop (Abstracting from Nature) with her

One of Jane Sassaman’s quilts — I did a whole day drawing workshop (Abstracting from Nature) with her

QV2018: Day 18: Houston Quilt Festival

10 11 2018

I had three classes today — morning (Floating Forest, with Rita Lynne), afternoon (Improv Color Blocks, with Cindy Griselda), and evening (Professional Quilt Edge Finished — The Envelope Edge, with Grace Errea). See

I met Sara, a friend of mine from Texas, for lunch, then had about 45 mins after lunch to look more closely at some of the quilts on exhibit, specifically the SAQA (Studio Art Quilters Association) exhibition and the quilts up for the silent auction.

Some of the most intricate quilting is coming out of Spain, and it's by men -- I'm pretty sure this is one of them

Some of the most intricate quilting is coming out of Spain, and it’s by men — I’m pretty sure this is one of them