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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Day In a Page

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 timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?