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Every Friday, we help you navigate the week’s most important and most interesting travel news stories.

Keep up with our dispatches all week by following @BBC_Travel or tracking the hashtag #bbcinbrief.

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Amazing things that should happen more often

  • A couple that first met on a Delta flight got engaged in-air, and you can see it all in this sweet little video, including how the airline was in on the proposal. [USA Today Travel] 
  • The Northern Lights lit up the sky unseasonably early in the Southern US. Photos and video document the natural spectacle. [ABC News]
  • New York magazine featured the “Far Flung Rental” with four options. If you score one, let us know if you end up with an extra room. [New York]

Clear skies
Looks like smooth sailing from here

  • Virgin Hotels has scoped out the Loop in Chicago as the site for its first boutique hotel chain, projected to open in autumn of 2010. Apparently, the architects “are best known for their elaborate movie palaces”. This should be good. [Chicago Tribune]

Ready for takeoff
All set to go, but too soon to tell what’s ahead

  • After a major flight delay, (three years, fact) the Boeing 787 Dreamliner finally took to the air. [Telegraph]
  • Germany is pouring billions of dollars into a new Berlin-Munich bullet train, though some wonder if it is worth the effort and investment. [Spiegel International]

Mind the gap
Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

  • Forget unplugging; travellers aren’t happy when they can’t get online. Internet connection was a factor in the drop in satisfaction with European hotels. [LA Times Travel]
  • The world’s population is set to hit a staggering 7 billion, and you can find out what number you are. Feel special, yet also not-so-special, all at the same time. [BBC World News]

Turbulence
Hold on folks, we’re in for a rocky ride

  • The Transportation Security Administration screener who left a passenger, based on the contents of her luggage, a note saying “Get your freak on girl” is no longer peeking through bags. At least this incident shows screeners really are looking. [Washington Post]
  • Another volcano in Chile erupted. Here’s hoping all are OK, and that this one doesn’t come with another travel-disruptive ash cloud. [The Guardian]

Delayed
Unexpected, and not looking good

  • With the high season approaching, India’s tourism minister is, understandably, not OK with foreign travel alerts that still stand from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. [BBC News]

Cancelled
It’s a no-go

  • An executive who downed a pint of whiskey, allegedly grabbed a male flight attendant’s crotch and demanded sex faces up to 10 years behind bars for sexual assault. That behaviour doesn’t fly on the ground or in the air. [Mail Online]
  • Apparently, temporarily blinding pilots by shining lasers into the cockpits is something that is happening, and at higher rates. In the name of safe flying, let’s keep our skies clear of lasers, eveyone. Agreed? [USA Today]
  • Fees and revenue are bringing airlines an extra $32.5 billion this year, up 44% from 2010. And once upon a time it was free to check bags… [The Economist]

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