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The Independent Travel
Sod's Law of air travel

HAVE you noticed that when you submit yourself to the process of air travel, life immediately becomes governed by a completely new set of rules, apparently designed to drive you insane. When you fly, everything is subject to Sod's Law.

For example, when you arrive at the airport, it doesn't matter which check-in queue you choose, the other one always moves more quickly (unless you change queues, of course, in which case the one you left suddenly speeds up).

Here are some of the more common Sod's Law travel experiences:

If you take the trouble to arrive at the airport two hours early, your plane will be two hours late departing (the corollary: if you arrive late, the plane will go on time and you will miss it).

Paris is always on the other side of the aircraft.

No matter how ill you get on your trip, you will never look as bad as you do in your passport photograph.

The person who occupies the window seat always has a weak bladder.

The cabin attendants wait until the very second you have gone to sleep before bringing around the duty-free trolley (to wake you up to ask if you want to buy a bottle of whisky in the shape of a golf ball or an inflatable model of a jumbo jet).

Anyone with a violent antipathy to smoking will be given a seat in the row immediately in front of the smoking section.

At the luggage carousel if you have three pieces of luggage, your first two suitcases will appear be among the first 20 bags - the third shows up among the last 20 half an hour later.

The cabin crew always start the drinks service at the other end of the aircraft - and runs out of ice serving the person in front of you.

No bag of 'cocktail snacks' should contain more than three peanuts (a unique breed of special dwarf peanuts presumably produced in Japan).

Other Sod's travel laws gratefully received . . .

Appeal from Scotland

ARE ALL the 'real' tour operators based in Southern England, asks Eric G Fogg of Perth. 'Those of us in Scotland who wish to break away from the sun and sand on offer in the brochures of the major operators face even greater problems than our counterparts in southern England.

'Reading through your Real Holiday guide there seem to be hardly any companies operating from Scotland. Where airlines are quoted they never seem to depart from Scotland. We seem to have no travel agents other than the high street giants.'

Can anybody help Mr Fogg?

Moving experience

MAUREEN HAWORTH'S plea for help (Departures, 1 August) on how best to get her daughter plus belongings to university at Toulouse in September has produced several generous offers of help.

Michael Dunn of Shrewsbury is going out to bring back a student daughter and her belongings, and as he will therefore have room on the outward leg he offers to provide a lift.

Raymond Side of Sevenoaks has offered to take Mrs Haworth's daughter for 'no personal profit but reasonable expenses


Nicholas Murray of Somerset warns against engaging a professional removal firm which may be ignorant of Customs regulations.

Mr Murray paid a well-known firm to transfer his belongings from Scotland to Belgium; but because the firm had failed to do its homework, he was landed with a Customs bill of almost pounds 1,000.

After a debate that stretched over four months Mr Murray finally managed to collect his belongings without paying the demand. He advises people in a similar position to check the Customs regulations and that, if they use a professional removal firm, to make sure that the company is also aware of the regulations.