Glancing at the icy speedometer as we barrelled along the narrow trail, I was astonished to see it creeping towards 50mph. Just minutes earlier, struggling to get to grips with this two-man snowmobile, 20mph had seemed absurdly fast. But then everything about this trip to the alternative winter wonderland of northern Michigan had proved pretty easy to master and, for a bunch of winter novices such as the five of us, wonderfully family-friendly.
Broken toilets, missing meals in first class, partitions held together with sticky tape, uniforms with gaping holes: these are just some of the delights awaiting passengers and crew on Alitalia, according to an insider's blog written by a steward on the near-bankrupt Italian airline.
Flying became even safer this week; or at least it should have. Thirty-one years ago, the worst accident in the history of civil aviation took place at Los Rodeos airport in northern Tenerife. A bomb attack at Las Palmas, on Gran Canaria, had caused a number of aircraft to divert to Tenerife. Among them were Boeing 747s belonging to KLM and Pan Am. Fog sharply reduced visibility. The pilot of the Dutch plane was keen to get his passengers away, but a mix-up between him, the Pan Am captain and the air-traffic controller meant that he took off while the Pan Am jet was on the runway. All the KLM passengers and crew died, along with most of those on board the American aircraft; in total, 583 perished.