All of us, surely, are firmly in favour of facilities being provided for less able travellers. For example, it seems entirely reasonable that airline passengers who are unable to walk long distances should be provided with wheelchair assistance. Sandra Leventon of Lancashire writes with alarm about the policy adopted by Ryanair, which flies between and within Britain and Ireland. She is not disabled, but says: "Ryanair charges pounds 12 for the use or carriage of wheelchairs. Am I alone in not wanting to patronise a firm which does this? I appreciate news of travel bargains which allow me to visit Ireland more often, but I also want to be an ethical traveller."

As these pages have mentioned frequently, Ryanair has some of the lowest fares in Europe. With fares such as pounds 49 between Britain and Dublin, margins are pared to the bone. So unlike other carriers, the airline passes on the charge levied by ground handlers at airports. Two possible solutions: Ryanair could re-negotiate its contract with the handlers so that wheelchair users do not constitute an additional expense, or the airline could take the policy of pricing its fares according to the costs incurred to its logical conclusion. So heavier passengers would pay more and passengers carrying only hand baggage should get a discount. While Ryanair ponders these suggestions, Ms Leventon may wish to know that Aer Lingus, British Airways Express, British Midland and Virgin Atlantic are among the airlines flying to Dublin that do not charge extra for wheelchairs.

"This is your second serious gaffe in one year," writes John Marrone from Vienna. He corrects my story about Chisinau, the capital of Moldova: "Soviet Moldova was founded in 1940 soon after its annexation by Stalin... Furthermore, the distinction betwen Moldavia and Moldova does not exist in the Romanian language."

The earlier gaffe, Mr Marrone adds, was to describe President Kennedy as former governor of Massachusetts; he was, in fact, senator for the state. Mr Marrone's letter, like all comments and criticisms about these pages, is warmly welcomed.

And another thing: Alan Magnus writes from London to take issue with my appraisal of Chisinau as forlorn and morose. "The main thoroughfare, Boulevard Stefan cel Mare, is a fine, wide avenue ... there are a number of fine buildings including an opera house that would not disgrace London." (Would that Covent Garden had tickets at pounds 3 or less.)

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