RICHARD GRAHAM, the senior manager at British Airways responsible for the launch of the airline's Shuttle service from Heathrow to Scotland in 1973, takes issue with my comment that the no-reservation concept 'quickly failed' (Independent Traveller, 22 January).

Mr Graham, now an independent transport analyst, says that the Shuttle operated as a turn-up-and-take-off service in its pure form until 1983. 'It worked so well that we wanted to extend the Shuttle concept to Paris. In fact, the service to Paris as it operates now is really a Shuttle service: you never need to book.

'The service between Boston and New York's La Guardia still functions as a Shuttle service as it has done for 30 years: you still pay on the aeroplane,' he adds.

He agrees, however, that the Channel tunnel service, Le Shuttle, will find it hard to run a no-reservation system when it opens in May with its initially limited car-carrying capacity.

Mr Graham believes that the major revolution in travel will come from the Eurostar rail service between London and Paris. When a high-speed rail link competes directly with an air service, the rail service always wins, he says. 'When the TGV service began operating from Paris to Lyon, the airlines on the route were wiped out.'