Open Jaw

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The Independent Travel

Heathrow's new T2

Why the obsession with Heathrow? I hope that the UK will not "be toast" just because an airport isn't expanded.

If companies had a bit more common sense and used Skype, instead of flying people all over the world, then there wouldn't be the need to keep building more and more airports.

Also, believe it or not, some people don't live in London and would rather fly from their local airport (via Amsterdam, etc) than deal with the hassle of getting to and through a badly organised Heathrow.

Jake Fowler

Smoking on planes

You are right that it was absurd to have "naked flames lighting toxic substances to produce fumes that were then inhaled by everyone on board". But from an aircraft engineering point of view, there was at least one benefit from on‑board smoking. Looking for tobacco tar stains outside the air vent system was a sure-fire means for maintenance staff to check for leaks in ducting or pipes.

Adrian Young

Steve Ridgway said: "Virgin Atlantic was the first UK airline to ban smoking on all its flights in 1995." Well, he is not correct. Loganair, the Scottish airline, banned smoking in 1979.

John Bone

"Boutique" hostels

Fifty years ago, my friends and I could have a weekend's walking or cycling, based upon youth hostels, for one shilling and nine pence. That is less than 9p per night. It encouraged many working-class kids like me not to hang around street corners, but to develop a spirit of adventure. It has lasted until today, when, as a pensioner, I still shoulder my rucksack and head off to hostels in Asia to explore the world and escape the English winter. I don't think that £22.50 per night for "bespoke bunk beds" will have the same effect on young people.

Pete Loud

Big Six: Panama

We stayed at Red Frog Beach, also in Bocas del Toro on Bastimentos: awesome.

"Marvis surfer"