Virgin Atlantic - latest news, breaking stories and comment - The Independent
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

Consumer rights: How can an air fare jump £300 in just a few minutes?

It pays to check online prices for air travel before you click the 'confirm' button...What happens when a builder demands money up front

The business on... Steve Ridgway, Chief executive, Virgin Atlantic

Branson's head pilot?

Travel 2011: The year of travelling differently

It's surely the stuff of dreams. The ultimate, fantastical, globe-spanning holiday, lasting 365 days and starting ... now. You put aside the mundane demands of the office, unburden yourself of family responsibility and sample the freshest experiences that the planet can throw you. Wherever you have been and whatever you have done, everything in this ultimate itinerary will be novel: taking advantage of new flights, you'll stay in brand-new hotels and sample brand-new holiday itineraries. Money is no object as you contemplate a year of living from a suitcase (incidentally, prices here are per person and, for packages, normally based on two sharing). Crucially your new 2011 desk diary is suddenly clear of previous engagements, and instead will read like this...

Branson set to relinquish control of Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic yesterday revealed it had been approached by a series of rivals over potential tie-ups, increasing speculation that Sir Richard Branson is preparing to relinquish control of the carrier he founded in 1984.

Rivals spark Virgin Atlantic deal talk

Virgin Atlantic today fuelled speculation it could pursue a merger or tie-up after it said it had received "a number of lines of enquiry".

Good to go: 24/11/2010

Air tax rise will make family holidays 'unaffordable'

Next week's rise in the Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax will make family holidays "unaffordable for many", Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic warned today.

Tax rise adds £450m to 2011 holiday bill

Next month's increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD) will add £450m to the cost of holidays in 2011, according to Virgin Atlantic. The third increase in as many years will add £240 to the cost of a four-person holiday to the US, a 33 per cent rise from 2009.

Briton arrested after fight on flight

A UK-bound jumbo jet with 451 passengers aboard had to divert due to a disruptive passenger, it was revealed today.

Trevor Beattie: This is not a power trip.It's my life's ambition

As a kid I wasn't in to sci-fi, I was in to sci-fact. The Apollo programme fascinated me, and one of my earliest memories was of the notion that man could go to the Moon. Then David Bowie came along with "Starman" and that really touched me musically. It's amazing how much the timescales have changed; we used to believe that by the 1980s we'd all be living on Mars. It seems that recently scientists have been more interested in exploring cyberspace, turning progress inwards rather than outwards.

Branson dedicates spaceport runway in US desert

The dream of rocketing tourists into space edged closer to reality yesterday, as the world's first commercial spaceport opened a runway in the New Mexico desert.

Virgin Galactic achieve first solo glide flight

Virgin Galactic's space tourism rocket SpaceShipTwo achieved its first solo glide flight, marking another step in the company's eventual plans to fly paying passengers.

Celtic Manor Diary: Bring on the boos... Mahan has a plan to provoke the crowds

With 50,000 spectators filing through the gates of Celtic Manor each day, US captain Corey Pavin's dream is not to hear a single cheer. "Quiet would be good," he said. That would mean his team is winning. Perhaps he should have a word with Hunter Mahan. The 28-year-old from Orange, California has his own plan. He likes noise. Lots of it. "I love that edgy atmosphere with the spectators almost being like a football crowd," Mahan said. "You know, you almost want the crowd to boo us."

South Africa: Eight days, four stops, one incredible journey

A new tour of the Eastern Cape mixes safari with activities such as cooking and canoeing. Olivia Greenway tried it out
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona from £949pp
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro from £799pp
Provence from £599pp
Apulia, Lecce and Vieste – Undiscovered Italy from £899pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from £759
Classical Spain from £539pp
Prices correct as of 12 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week