Frustrated passengers wait in the departure hall of Gatwick's North Terminal on Christmas Eve

Heathrow, Gatwick and the Channel Tunnel hit fresh highs despite Christmas Eve chaos

Record numbers of passengers travelled through London’s two main airports and under the Channel last month in the great Christmas getaway.

Mark Leftly: Weather chaos shoots down Gatwick's expansion plans

Westminster Outlook The minds of politicians and business bosses work very differently. MPs are, typically, marvellously impressive at linking very disparate topics with a single thread of argument; directors believe this is disingenuous at best.

Frustrated passengers wait in the departure hall of Gatwick's North Terminal on Christmas Eve

Gatwick bosses learned of Christmas Eve flood just half an hour before

Gatwick bosses found out that a damaging Christmas Eve flood was on the way only half an hour before it happened, the airport’s chief executive revealed on Tuesday.

Howard's end: no more 'stacking' for planes

Simon Calder: Ho, ho, ho! Christmas cheer to report

The man who pays his way

Vince Cable has decided against a ban on zero- hour contracts as some workers need flexibility

Vince Cable: London 'is sucking the life out of the rest of the country'

Business secretary warns against Heathrow airport expansion

Airports Commission: New runways considered at Heathrow and Gatwick - but politicians refuse to be bound by final decision

Thames Estuary options not included at present 'because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage'

Flight path: Yes to Heathrow expansion; no to Boris Johnson’s Estuary hub

Revealed: Take-off for controversial Heathrow expansion as David Cameron faces anger of Lib Dems, London Mayor, and his own party

Two of the shortlisted options in Davies report on airports out this week favours third (and fourth?) runway

Standstill: Gatwick trains are due to be disrupted

Simon Calder: Welcome to Gatwick. Now get lost

The man who pays his way

A galaxy not so far away: the Milky Way ski area

Get me out of here - spa in Andalucia, sun in the UAE, ski in the Milky Way

Now... Christmas spa break in Andalucia

If you want to remove yourself from the Christmas chaos, there's a three-night wellness break at the Shanti Som retreat, Andalucia for £839pp. Departing on 23 December with easyJet flights from Gatwick to Malaga, it includes all meals, a guided hike and a massage. bit.ly/SpaSpain

Eurostar stake to be sold and nuclear power station to be built in new UK infrastructure spending plan

Plan includes sale of Eurostar stake and funding for a new nuclear plan

Gatwick passenger traffic rises to 20.8m in first half as chief executive calls for new runway

Gatwick numbers take off as chief executive calls for new runway

The Sussex airport posted an impressive 18.75 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to £127.3 million in the first half

Jim Armitage: A chance for Boris Island to go bang once and for all

Outlook Say what you like about Boris Johnson, his survival skills in the political jungle make fellow Old Etonian Bear Grylls look a wimp.

Sir Howard Davies: 'Additional capacity will need to be provided'

We need additional capacity': Airports chief Sir Howard Davies clears the fog (a little) over airport expansion for South East England

He confirmed to The Independent that it was possible he could propose both a second runway at Gatwick and a third runway at Heathrow

Travel agenda

From Bristol to Reykjavik, skiing in Milton Keynes, and the 90th anniversary edition of the South American Handbook

Ryanair plans passenger increase at Stansted in exchange for fee cut

Irish carrier signs ten-year deal with airport to boost passenger numbers to 20 million

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

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