Destination of the week: Central Park

"The work of art will be completed on 12 February, weather permitting." The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude (below) are on course to finish their latest venture, The Gates. On Monday morning, 700 workers are due to move into Central Park in the middle of Manhattan to install 7,500 fabric panels along the edges of walkways. The Gates is scheduled to last until 28 February, after which it will be dismantled and recycled. Already some rogues are trying to cash in on the free event, leading the artists to release a statement saying: "There are no official opening events. There are no tickets...if anyone tries to sell you [one], do not buy it."

Demand for Valentine flights is distorting prices and availability to New York. Expedia ( has a fare of £321 on Virgin Atlantic for travel out on 17 February and back a week later. Lower fares are available on Air France via Paris and Alitalia via Milan, and also apply to journeys starting at other UK airports.

Warning of the week: East Africa

The US State Department has issued a wide-ranging alert about the risk that terrorists may target passenger aircraft somewhere in East Africa. "The potential for future threats against civil aviation continues throughout the East Africa region," reads the warning. In 2002, a shoulder-launched missile was fired at an Israeli aircraft that had just taken off from Mombasa, Kenya.

Bargain of the week: Iberian flight fight

Spain and Portugal are shaping up to be the low-cost battleground for summer 2005. Monarch Scheduled (08700 40 50 40; is stepping up its services from Manchester with a new daily link to Madrid. Flights to Malaga increase to three times a day. Faro also gets more services.

From Birmingham, Monarch is launching flights to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Tenerife.

Two attractive cities will soon have new links from Gatwick. Monarch starts flying to both Granada and Lisbon from 19 May. Ryanair (0871 246 0000; already flies to the home of the Alhambra; BA (0870 850 9850; and TAP Air Portugal (0845 601 0932; fly to the Portuguese capital.

GB Airways, which operates to Spanish and Portuguese resorts on behalf of BA, has a new low-cost upgrade offer. Passengers are invited to spend about £100 to upgrade on each leg; the amount tends to be higher inbound than outbound because of the higher duty incurred.