Q: I have read about flying on courier services and wonder if any such flights operate out of the West Coast to the Far East?
A: Here are some. The services sell discounted seats on flights to free-lance couriers -- only one to a flight -- and use the couriers' baggage space to send their clients' luggage. Thus, the courier generally can take only carry-on luggage.
* Way to Go, 6679 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90028 (other services here make arrangements only by phone) can be reached at (213) 466-1126. It represents a number of courier companies that fly between the West Coast and the Far East, with some flights to Mexico and London. From Los Angeles, flights go to Bangkok ($725 now), Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore. Prices in the summer are as high as $725 and during the rest of the year are around $400 or $450 but can be as low as $150 on short notice. There is a membership fee of $75 a year. Members can ask to be informed of cancellations and can take flights on short notice for $150 to $300. Requirements for length of stays vary. Way to Go also has offices in San Francisco, (415) 292-7801, and San Diego, (619) 224-0252.
* UTL, (415) 583-5074, represents several courier companies that fly between San Francisco and Hong Kong, Singapore and Manila. The cost of a round trip is $450 to $550, depending on the destination and the courier company; terms like minimum or maximum stays and deposit requirements also vary. Reservations can be made no more than three months ahead; to get a date you want, the company recommends two months.
* Jupiter Air, (310) 670-5251, flies from Los Angeles to Seoul ($350), Singapore ($500) and Hong Kong ($480). The company also has a San Francisco office, (415) 872-0845, and offers courier flights from San Francisco to Singapore ($535), Hong Kong ($515) and Manila ($550). A $200 deposit is required for all flights; to fly to any location except Manila, couriers must pay a $35 three-year membership fee. Couriers may stay up to one month, with a one-week minimum for Seoul. Reserve two or three months ahead.
* Polo Express, (310) 410-6822 or (415) 742-9613, puts couriers on flights from Los Angeles to Hong Kong ($350), Sydney and Melbourne (each $499). Flights are also available from San Francisco to Singapore ($350), Bangkok ($400) and Hong Kong ($350). Reservations should be made six weeks to three months ahead. There is no deposit or fee. Couriers must stay three weeks in Australia and two weeks in the other destinations.
Q: I will be in Pakistan in early October. What are the dress considerations for foreign women?
A: In Pakistan, women should keep their legs covered; jeans or other pants or skirts mid-calf-length or longer are acceptable. Barbara Crossette, the New York Times' bureau chief in south Asia from 1988 to 1991, says that women often wear baggy drawstring trousers and long tunics called "shalwar qamiz," which they buy in Pakistan. She adds that in cities many Western women dress as they would in their home countries, though one should always avoid clothes that may be perceived as provocative.
Brian Reed, a tour leader in Pakistan for Mountain Travel, gives women going there this advice: Wear no tight clothing (Lycra is out), and wear long sleeves and skirts or baggy pants when in the countryside or in villages. Wear a scarf around your neck at all times; if Pakistani men begin glowering, put the scarf over your head and walk away. Dress conservatively (a shalwar qamiz will do) if you will be alone and if you wish to visit a mosque (though you will not be allowed in the inner prayer hall). Also dress conservatively in village markets.
Q: I would appreciate information on a rock festival held at Castle Donington, England.
A: There will be a one-day heavy metal rock concert called the Monsters of Rock on the grounds of Castle Donington in Derbyshire on Aug. 22. The groups appearing will be Iron Maiden, Skid Row, Thunder, Slayer, the Almighty and Wasp.
Tickets, about $51.50, must be bought in advance. They can be charged by credit card by telephone, from the United States, (44 602) 483456 (if calling from within Britain, omit the 44 and dial 0 before the number). Or you can send a check (in pounds for 27.50 pounds) to Way Ahead, 18-20 St. James's St., Nottingham NG1 6FG, England. The organizers will operate buses between London and other cities. From London, round-trip fare is $39.