Travel: Something to declare

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The Independent Travel
True or false

There's no such thing as a free lunch

False. You may take the view that by buying a plane ticket, you have paid for the on-board meal. But why stop at one snack? Even when the plane is completely full, a second free lunch is a real possibility.

A question of class arises here. In first class on many airlines, there is "100 per cent loading" for each menu choice - meaning that if there are 20 people in first class, there will be 20 of each of the beef, salmon and duck, just in case everyone chooses the same main course. So there's plenty of scope for seconds in first.

Business-class passengers on British Airways' long-haul services are allowed, nay encouraged, to "raid the larder". A consignment of snacks is on offer in the galley throughout the flight.

In economy, what you see is not quite what you get. Often, the supply of meals will not be entirely devoured, because some passengers prefer not to eat airline food. But even if all the main meals have gone, you could still be in luck. Cathay Pacific makes a point of carrying a supply of rolls and sandwiches, which you can ask for at any point in the flight. Passengers are not, however, expected to take these off the plane as emergency snacks.

Trouble spots

Threats to life, limb and loot around the world

Costa Rica (above): police say the number of victims of a mysterious serial killer known as "The Psychopath" could exceed 31. Authorities fear the killer may have returned after several years of inactivity, since a pair of young lovers was found in the hills of San Jose 10 days ago. Each had been shot in the head with a .45 calibre bullet. - Reuter

Bosnia and Herzegovina: we advise against all but essential travel. Although a peace agreement has been signed and freedom of movement theoretically applies throughout the country, incidents of violence and harassment still occur and the country is not safe for travellers. - Foreign Office Travel Advice Unit (0171-238 4503)

Zimbabwe: the country's two major government hospitals are paralysed because of a strike by junior doctors and other staff over the arrest of two colleagues and the firing of thousands of nurses. Harare Hospital, the largest, was hardly functional, with exhausted consultants saying they were unable to continue work without assistance. "The government must resolve this situation urgently because people are dying," Zimrights, the country's main human rights watchdog, said in a statement. - Reuter

Visitors book

The Clocktower, Croydon

Speaking as a snotty person from North London I must say that this museum is the very model of a local museum which gives people understanding and pride in their locality - Anon [presumably of North London]

Fantastic: at last, a reason for living in Croydon - PH, South Croydon

I live in the West End of London, and I wish there was something like this on my doorstep - Anon

A useful and necessary step towards Croydonactually finding an identity - JG, Croydon

Keep going this way, and Croydon will get back its soul - EH, Surrey

Bargain of the week

Air fare wars have finally reached Albania. Malev Hungarian Airlines is offering a fare of pounds 220 return from heathrow to the capital, Tirana, over pounds 100 cheaper than the previous discount fare through Regent Holidays (0117 921 1711). The alternative is to get a cheap charter to Corfu and to travel over by boat to the port of Sarande. Good luck.