Something To Declare: BA on sale; holiday romances


Bargain of the week: BA on sale

The sub-£200 fare to New York is back - which shows the scale of the problems facing British Airways. The UK's largest airline averted a strike this week, but the threat of industrial action has hit advance bookings for this month and next. To get passengers on board, BA (0870 850 9 850; www.ba.com) is offering half a million seats at deep discounts on normal prices for travel in February and March.

Besides £198 return from Heathrow to New York, the airline is selling Californian destinations - Los Angeles and San Francisco - for £288; a weekend surcharge of £15 each way applies on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on US flights.

To Asia, the bargains apply to a very limited range of dates in late February/early March. Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo are available for £299 return.

Bologna, Bordeaux or Zurich are on offer from Gatwick for £59 return. The first £10 of these fares goes straight to the government in Air Passenger Duty.

Book by midnight on Tuesday, 6 February.

Warning of the week: holiday romances

People travel in search of adventure and new experiences, which often includes sex. Casual encounters tend to increase while abroad, not least because travellers frequently meet new people. Add the fact that alcohol intake increases, because there is no need to get up for work the following morning, subtract the disapproval of family and friends (as they are many miles away) and the result is a potent threat.

Whatever your moral stance, the statistics are shocking. Casual sex is riskier in Bangkok than in Bangor, yet one in three male visitors to Thailand has sex with prostitutes. One in eight cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the UK is contracted abroad. Half of male medical students from Britain fail to practise safe sex abroad.

As one travel medicine specialist warns: "The speed of travel means you can be home and spreading infection before symptoms appear."

Other health risks facing travellers are covered in the current edition of Radio 4's Case Notes, to which you can listen online via www.bbc.co.uk.

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