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The Independent Travel
Miss your flight? Dawdle on the way to the departure gate. Airlines are cracking down on passengers who fail to arrive at the boarding gate on time. It is now common practice for airlines to offload bags of missing passengers: Emirates, which flies from Manchester and London to Dubai, has introduced a new system whereby the cut-off time is 10 minutes before departure. Any later than this, and the offloading process will begin, to achieve an on-time departure, and the passenger will be refused permission to board.

Find the best weather in the world? According to an American survey, the place with the most perfect weather is the town of Las Palmas - on the island of Gran Canaria, just a four-hour charter flight away from Britain. In second place is San Diego in California, on the Mexican border.

Get a free tour of London? Turn up at the Tottenham Court Road entrance of the Virgin Megastore in Central London on the hour between 10am and 5pm inclusive. Virgin buses depart on two free tours: a loop around the West End, and a voyage down Piccadilly and the King's Road. But despite publicity to the contrary, the buses do not operate at weekends.

Survive a flight? Steer clear of antiquated ex-Soviet aircraft. The Tupolev 134 belonging to Vietnam Airlines which crashed in Phnom Penh last week was the latest tragedy involving aircraft manufactured in the former USSR. These are mostly used for domestic flights within present or former Communist countries; airlines, travel agents or the Official Airline Guide can tell you which aircraft are used on each route.

Cycle through Croatia or stroll through Slovakia? Read the Eastern Europe special in the travel pages of The Independent this Saturday, 13 September. Also: track down London Bridge 30 years after it was put on sale. Travel to Lake Havasu in Arizona, where a millionaire hoped to install Tower Bridge; in fact, he had bought the next crossing upstream.

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