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

Spend Christmas Day at 37,000 feet – and save a fortune

Surge in number of travellers taking advantage of cheap fares if you fly on the 25th

Business Diary: French take on old enemy

Nicolas Sarkozy doesn't want for support at home after his falling-out with the rosbifs. The radio pundits are lining up behind him. One report at the weekend on Man United's shock Champion's League exit was prefaced by "and David Cameron isn't the only English Euro exit this week". Then an item on Paul McCartney, who had been rude at a concert about the French Government's insistence that meat must stay on school menus, ended with the presenter moaning about "another Brit trying to tell us what to do".

Britons stuck in the US face a long wait to come home

Thousands of British holidaymakers stranded in New York and other US cities could face a long wait to get home. Although Hurricane Irene has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, the threat of severe flooding means that delays may continue after it has passed. Meanwhile, the lack of spare seats on flights in the peak holiday season means the backlog of stranded passengers could take many days to clear.

Virgin Atlantic to launch 'weep warning' gimmick on films

Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic is to put "weep warnings" on tearjerker film shown on flights.

Business Diary: Proof that some still dress properly

Charles Tyrwhitt, the menswear retailer that specialises in City boys, has a bit of news to restore one's faith in tradition and standards during these troubled times. Sales of pocket squares are up 48 per cent at its shops and it reckons the trend will continue, with the actor Daniel Craig having modelled the look at a recent premiere. "Although we have witnessed a huge rise in the number of open-neck shirts in the workplace, it seems that a touch of formality is creeping back," the shop says. Thank heavens for that.

David Prosser: Virgin still looks lonely but there is no sign of a partner

Outlook It has not been a bad few days for Virgin Atlantic. On Tuesday, Sir Richard Branson's airline announced it had been successful in heading off a potentially humiliating strike by its pilots. Yesterday, Virgin was able to reveal it has returned to the black over the year just gone. All very satisfactory, one might think.

Virgin back in profit despite stiff headwinds

Virgin Atlantic returned to cruising speed yesterday as the airline's finances soared back into the black despite taking a £40m hit from the ash cloud and winter cold snap.

Virgin pilots accept new pay offer

Pilots with Sir Richard Branson's airline, Virgin Atlantic, have voted to accept a pay offer - finally ending the prospect of strike action.

Virgin seeks 'fairer' departure tax arrangements

The Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax is resulting in long-haul flight passengers subsidising short-haul travel by £222 million a year, Virgin Atlantic Airways said today.

Union lifts strike threat at Virgin Atlantic

The threat of a damaging pilots' strike at Virgin Atlantic was lifted last night. The pilots union, Balpa, said it had "secured an offer" from the airline which would be put to a ballot.

Turbulent times for Branson's racing mate

Never one to duck a challenge, the man at the throttle tells Sarah Arnott how he plans to keep Virgin Atlantic above the clouds

Virgin boss Branson warns pilots over strikes

A pilots' strike on Virgin Atlantic would leave "an indelible scar on the company", the airline's boss Sir Richard Branson said today.

After decades flying high, Branson hits turbulence

As crew plan first ever walk-out, Simon Calder on what the dispute means for the airline

Virgin pilots vote for action

Virgin Atlantic pilots have voted to go on strike in a row over pay for the first time in the company's history, raising the threat of summer walkouts which would cause travel chaos.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape