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.

Amazing things that should happen more often

Gift idea! British Airways is now selling time in one of its flight simulators for various sized planes, from £399 for a one-hour flight on a Boeing 737-400. A pilot at London's Heathrow Airport walks you through the pre-flight checklist, take-off and landing. [Jaunted]  

Attendance at 13 of England's national museums more than doubled to 18 million visitors in the past decade. One reason: making admission free.  [CNNGo]

A stylish new Berlin restaurant -- “Stadt, Land, Fluss” (City, Country, River) -- sources its ingredients from local farms. It eschews "organic" or "bio" food, aiming for affordable and non-precious dishes. [Slow Berlin]

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

Naked at a German spa: It's an ideal way to hang out with your co-workers after work. Or at least that's the tradition at a few fancy new spas in Germany. [The Independent]

Next summer, Iceland will launch an airline called Wow, which will fly to a dozen European destinations, including Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. No word yet on what ticket prices will be, but we do know that the new airline's livery will be very purple. [Visit Reykjavik; Wanderlust]

A young man with cerebral palsy will host a new travel show on Oprah Winfrey's cable TV network in the US, debuting on 12 December. BBC Travel wishes him well. [OWN]

It's that time of year when travel publications release their predictions for the hottest destinations of 2012. Spotlighted destinations include Tikal, Guatemala -- which prompted BBC Travel reader Alex Berger to comment that he thinks Tikal is "far more impressive than Chichen Itza.... if you can get there!" Call us greedy, but we aspire to visit all of these places someday. [National Geographic Traveler, Budget Travel and Lonely Planet]

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

This week, American Airlines declared bankruptcy. What does this mean for travellers? One expert says: "Fliers tend to avoid carriers under bankruptcy protection, out of fear that it will cease operations before their trip… That drop in traffic could lead to aggressive fare sales for a few months, while the carrier is restructuring." In the long run, though, fares may rise in the US overall. [Smart Money]

It’s a no-go

When competition between airlines disappears, ticket prices jump. Case in point: Southwest Airlines has reduced service on many routes, such as between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and US.Airways has responded by hiking fares by up to 600% on those same routes. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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