Eli Orzessek finds the answers to your travel questions

Do you have any hot tips for getting upgraded at the airport? I've got a long flight coming up in a couple of months and — for just once in my life — I'd like to fly in the pointy end of the plane.

- Sally

There's a lot of advice out there around the elusive upgrade, but I think at the end of the day, it all comes down to luck. Of course, it can't hurt to take some of it on board - dress nicely, ask nicely, fly at quiet times and all that.

Today, airlines would rather charge you for the privilege of an upgrade, rather than hand them out randomly.

As a travel writer, I'm lucky enough to occasionally get to the 'pointy end' of the plane.


But the only time I landed a random upgrade was when I was a small child. My family were all seated in different parts of the plane and I cried at check-in at the thought of sitting by myself. My mum and I were upgraded to business class, but unfortunately my dad was left by himself in economy. So I'd suggest bringing a crying under-five for a sure thing.

Here are more of your questions answered by the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens:
I read in a newspaper a few years ago that if you take out insurance when you rent a car, then have an accident, which is your fault, that the Rental Car company will point to the fine print and say: "you broke the law, so we're not paying".

Most of us would assume that you would need to commit a serious offence for that to happen. But the article was suggesting it doesn't need to be.

Is this true? If I fail to give way, do I end up buying Avis a new car?

- Grant Patrick

You should always read the policy to see what you are and are not covered for. Some policies do contain exclusions for any loss if you are in breach of your licence or the law.

The specific words used in the policy will tell you what is and is not covered, so never assume you know what a policy will cover.

My wife are in our mid-70s and have done a lot of overseas travel using either Southern Cross or ASB Gold card insurance. Apart from the higher claims excess on the ASB Gold card, do you consider the ASB Gold card carries sufficient cover and is suitable for our up-coming trip to Dubai, Petra and cruising home through Singapore.


- Kevin Hooker

Sometimes the travel cover under a credit card policy will not offer the same cover as other specialist comprehensive cover. In particular, you should look at the cover for pre-existing conditions/medical expenses — and sometimes they will have a maximum age limit. We've seen consumers caught out by using their credit card insurance without reading the policy, to find they are not covered at all because their trip was for a longer period than the cover provided.

Email your questions to askaway@nzherald.co.nz

Eli cannot answer all questions and cannot correspond with readers.