News The third test flight of the commercial spaceship took it to a record 71,000 feet

The firm hopes to take first ever tourists to space later this year. Onboard cameras were able to capture its rocket-powered engine, the first time it has been used

Simon Calder: Choose your airline carefully – and relax

Could the stormy skies in which British and Irish airlines have found themselves become even more turbulent? Until Flight International revealed passenger fatalities were running at 20 a week globally, it seemed unlikely.

Open Jaw: Virgin Atlantic's 25th birthday

Your piece on Virgin Atlantic and its high-profile boss, as with most pieces of the sort, seemed to emphasise the service "Upper Class" passengers can expect. My only experience of Virgin was a trip to the US in steerage class, wedged into a short-haul European-style seat pitch, with cabin crew whose only interest was their forthcoming layover in San Francisco. Because of that trip, I would have to be persuaded to fly with Virgin again.

Travel Challenge: A beach holiday for singles outside the euro-zone

Every week, we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a particular holiday. Today: a one-week beach holiday outside the euro-zone, for single travellers. Prices are for departures in the first week of August in a double room for single occupancy, for seven nights.

Branson's flights of fancy: The highs and lows of Virgin Atlantic

Twenty-five years ago, Virgin Atlantic was born, offering travellers new levels of style and sophistication. But have the skies darkened for this iconic brand? Simon Calder meets the mogul with a mission

Virgin Atlantic defies aviation slump as profit soars to £68m

Rising sales of first- and business-class seats buck trend across the industry

James Halstead: Sir Richard's baby is a lot different to her rivals

So Virgin Atlantic managed to double pre-tax profits to £68m, having carried 5.7 million passengers in the year to February and generated revenues of £2.6bn. It says so on the press release so it must be true. In contrast, last week British Airways announced a full-year pre-tax loss of £401m and Air France-KLM recorded a loss of €814m (£714m) for the year to March.

Virgin profits pile on misery for BA

Virgin Atlantic piled on the misery for struggling rival British Airways today after saying it had virtually doubled annual profits.

Tahiti's top attractions lie beneath the waves

The best way to see these islands in the South Pacific is by boat. It's cost effective, too. Sophie Morris reports

High jinks: California's Squaw Valley is the ideal location for freeriders looking to perfect their skills

The Tram Face at Squaw Valley looms up steeply behind the ski resort's small village. Fingers of red granite and gnarled pines dot the sheer wall. Above the summit, skiers lose their stomachs as the cable car swings up over the first tower.

Watchdog presenter caught up in row over ‘£20,000 air-miles racket’

The BBC presenter Julia Bradbury has stepped down from hosting Watchdog after police opened an investigation into allegations that she enjoyed £20,000 worth of free flights in a suspected air-miles racket.

Ship-shape shore: English Harbour is a Caribbean haven rich in maritime history

Linda Cookson visits the Georgian dockside – and joins the ‘jump up’

Family travel: 'Can we take our disabled son to Florida?'

Q. We have three young children, one of whom is six and severely disabled. We want to go to Florida next year, but have no idea of the mechanics of taking our disabled son on a flight. He won't be able to sit still in an aeroplane seat for more than a few minutes, and is too unmanageable to sit on our knees. Normally, he travels in a slightly larger than normal car seat (which we will need to take with us anyway for use in the hire car), but what will we do with it and his wheelchair on the plane? Are some airlines better than others at dealing with this kind of thing? And there is one further complication: our son has a cochlear implant. Can we avoid taking him through any electronic- scanning devices? J Thatcher, Nottinghamshire

SNP call for talks on space flights

The SNP has called for talks with the UK Government over the prospect of a commercial space flight from an RAF base.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic cut fares

UK airlines have come out swinging this Christmas, slashing in an attempt to lure customers into booking up their summer holidays despite the looming recession.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future