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Virgin goes round the world
The world's three Virgin airlines – Virgin Australia, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic – are closer to becoming the second round-the-world airline after Air New Zealand.
This week the three Sir Richard Branson-linked airlines said they would be merging their frequent flyer programmes – a possible precursor to a genuine round-the-world airline grouping.
Members of Virgin Australia's Velocity programme can already earn points and credits when travelling on Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic flights and also trade their Velocity miles in on a ticket with their overseas siblings.
However, the same two-way “earning and burning” deal now applies to members of the Virgin America Elevate and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club programmes.
The result is a global frequent flyer scheme that could allow very frequent flyers to consolidate their points across Virgin airlines and swap them for what would in effect be a round-the-world Virgin ticket.
Club Med to open three resorts
Club Med is opening new resorts in Italy, Turkey and China within the next 12 months.
Club Med Guilin, which opens in August, is located in China's Guangzi province and is famous for its protected environment.
December 2012 is the scheduled opening for Club Med Pragelato Via Lattea, Italy, in the heart of Piedmont Europe's second largest ski area.
Club Med Belek on the Turkish Riviera, which is due to open in March 2013, is surrounded by a golf course with nearly 2.5km of beach on its doorstep.
All resorts will have Club Med's all-inclusive package, which includes accommodation, all meals and drinks, and a range of activities with expert tuition.
Qantas boss tells all
In a revealing interview with GQ magazine, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has talked about telling his family he is gay, surviving cancer, his childhood in Ireland and mistakes he has made during his career.
"I could pick a load of mistakes I've made, but the one that stands out is when we set up Jetstar without assigned seating," he said.
"It was a disaster and I was the one who'd insisted on doing it. ..It taught me this: If you know you've f . . ked up, admit it immediately, then take fast action to fix it."
Mr Joyce, who was appointed Qantas chief executive in 2008, began with Aer Lingus in the 1980s before joining Ansett in its dying days and launching Jetstar in 2003.
He said it was tough growing up gay in a Dublin working-class suburb but that he enjoyed "very supportive parents.”
Today he lives in an apartment in Sydney’s The Rocks with his partner of 14 years, an unidentified New Zealand man. "[Coming out] was a big moment but there was no real inner turmoil for me and it wasn't a surprise to my family."
In the interview, he also spoke of the trauma of being diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer.
"What came into sharp focus in the aftermath of the cancer scare was my determination to do the right thing by Qantas and the honour it is to be CEO. I want to make sure that when I leave it's a lot stronger . . . than when I arrived."
Finns test anti-jet lag headset
Premium passengers on Finnair's route between Helsinki and Shanghai will soon be able to try out a “bright light headset” said to help passengers adapt to jet lag.
Finnair says the Valkee bright light headset “brings wellbeing by channelling bright light into the brain via the ear canal,” adding that “it stimulates passengers and helps them adapt better to jet lag and the fluctuation of the circadian rhythm.”
The headset will be available free of charge to business class passengers on the Helsinki-Shanghai route during April, before going on sale in-flight in May.
Finnair says the device should be used about an hour before landing, assuming an early morning arrival.
Going undercover for security
Years of backpacking in more than 40 countries has given Swedish-born Johanna Denize a wealth of firsthand experience about protecting travellers from pickpockets.
"Money belts are bulky and therefore easy to spot. Fanny packs are easy to cut open. Neck pouches are easily cut away. In fact, the more traveling I did, the more I realised that none of these security systems worked and that none of them were any good at all when it came down to normal human forgetfulness and absent-mindedness,” she says.
It spurred her to do something to help all travellers keep their belongings safe.
So the now Washington DC-based Denize has developed The Clever Travel Companion Company, which came up with the idea of fitting secure, secret pockets in specially designed, slim fitting underwear.
She started with a set of boy short style underwear for women and a boxer brief for men. Both have two pockets with secure zippers on the front where travellers can keep their passport and the bulk of their money.
She has since moved on to T-shirts and tank tops with a secret stomach pocket and for skiers, long-johns with secure pockets.