Travel: Check In

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The Independent Culture
A train

Or is it a plane? Britain's newest "airline" is the Heathrow Express (0845 600 1515). Even though this is a train company, it has just been awarded its own Iata airline code. Just as BA is the code for British Airways and VS is Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow Express becomes 2E*. The 15- minute link will be officially opened by the Prime Minister on Wednesday. The one-way fare in standard class will be pounds 10, in first class pounds 20.

A boat

Duty-free sales within the European Union end in a year's time. Until then, expect ridiculously cheap ferry day-trip offers - such as the latest one from Bryant & May. Buy 60p worth of matches, and you get free tickets for five people on P&O's Stena Line from Dover to Calais.

A plane

Tomorrow, Air France (0181-742 6600) begins flights from Paris to Havana; this means that travellers from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton and London can reach the Cuban capital with a change of plane at Charles de Gaulle airport. Through agents such as Journey Latin America (0181-747 3108) fares are available for pounds 448 return in June.

A room

The continued strength of Sterling, plus the availability of cheap flights, means Switzerland is once again a competitive destination. The Swiss organisation Reka Holidays, based in the capital Bern, offers family holidays on farms. Prices start at SFr 350 (pounds 200) for a family of four self-catering. Call 00 41 31 329 6633, or fax 00 41 31 329 6601.

A meal

The absurd BA World Offer of pounds 299 from London to Tokyo has now been removed from sale, but anyone who got a ticket should call in at Tsukiji market. This is where most of the sushi and sashimi sold in the city originates, and a new restaurant, the Uoshiki, offers a fish lunch for around a fiver.

A drink

Bargain air fares to Australia continue until the end of the month; you need not pay more than pounds 600 return. Once there, you could begin drinking vigorously in preparation for the 26th Beer Can Regatta, held in Darwin, northern Australia, on 2 August. The "boats" are made from 6,000 or so empty beer cans. The Northern Territory Tourist Commission (0181-944 2992) says "Cheating and sabotage are mandatory".

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