Bargain of the week: US in business class

Bargain of the week: US in business class

In summer, economy fares across the Atlantic rise sharply: a basic London-New York return ticket can typically cost £450, with West Coast destinations priced at up to £700. Conversely, business-class fares fall, because fewer executives travel in July and August. This summer, the deals available on Continental Airlines from Gatwick are excellent. You can travel to Newark (New York) in the airline's BusinessFirst cabin for £1,123 return - barely a quarter of the full business-class fare.

Not surprisingly, several restrictions apply. You must book no later than the end of June, and at least a month in advance of outbound travel. You must stay away a minimum of one Saturday night, and be back by 7 September. And most crucially, you must book on 0845 60 70 777 and quote the offer code, "B150".

Continental's other non-stop destinations, Houston and Cleveland, are on sale for £1,226 return. Even better value are flights to destinations with no non-stop links from the UK. For example, New Orleans and San Antonio are also priced at £1,226, while Reno and San Diego are available for £100 more.

Warning of the week: in France, beware the retailer's Rottweiler

My rather ordinary family of five decided to take relief from last summer's heat in one of the larger French supermarkets. Forty minutes later we were escorted off the premises by two security guards and a Rottweiler.

The reason: the "chip-and-pin" system that has been used successfully for a decade by the French to reduce credit-card fraud. (Such cards are now being issued in Britain.) Most travellers simply hand over their cards at the checkout for approval. But once we got that far we were unexpectedly asked for our passports. The supervisor decided that our car numberplate would provide sufficient assurance of our identity and moral character - hence our escorted exit.