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

Amazing things that should happen more often

How would you celebrate coming home if a seven-week voyage turned into seven months stuck at sea? Sailors on the HMS Ocean decided to announce their 9 December homecoming with a delightful music video set to Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas. [BBC News]

Feeling lazy? This should motivate you: next week, 15-year-old Jordan Romero is set to climb Mt Vinson, Antarctica's highest peak. He is on a quest to become the youngest person to summit the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, a challenge he began at 13. [Gadling]

The National Geographic Society issued its 10,000th grant, funding a project that assesses human-wildlife conflicts in India. Since 1890, National Geographic has been involved in a multitude of impressive feats, including the excavation of Machu Picchu, the discovery of the Titanic wreck and the establishment of Redwood National Park. [National Geographic]

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

In attempt to avoid major disruptions, like the one Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano caused when it grounded planes in 2010, EasyJet has developed an infrared volcanic ash detection system called AVOID. Hopefully the system will be used commercially by summer 2012. [UKPA]

The oppressive regime in Myanmar (Burma) has made significant reforms in the last year, including unfettered state press, the release of political prisoners and legalised public protests. With the return of ATMs, improved internet and a new expressway, it's time to consider putting Myanmar back on the tourist map. [CNNgo]

Air New Zealand's new "cuddle class" allows coach passengers to lie flat by sharing a row of three modified seats – but it may not be worth the extra cost. A pair of passengers would pay an extra $500 to $800 for a relatively small space: narrower aisles and a "couch" about four-and-a-half feet long and 33 inches wide. [Wall Street Journal]

Long touted as a fuel-efficient industry game-changer, Boeing's Dreamliner shattered the flight distance record for an aircraft of its size, with a 19,835km flight from Seattle to Dhaka, Bangladesh. It also set a record for round-the-world flight time at 42 hours and 27 minutes. But the plane’s long-term benefits to the airline industry remains to be seen. [Sydney Morning Herald]

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

Asia's airline boom means affordable travel for a growing middle class. The only problem? Asia looks to be facing a pilot shortage in the range of 9,000 pilots a year, as 14,000 will be needed, but only 5,000 can be trained. This could make pilots a rare case of Asia exporting work to the west. [Telegraph]

Vastly shrinking airline service to medium-sized cities has meant more than just more expensive and frustrating flights. In cities like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and St Louis, it could also mean businesses leaving with the airlines. [NPR]

It’s a no-go

Two women in their 80s went public this week regarding embarrassing incidents with the TSA. One woman was forced to lower her pants and underwear, and another had to expose her colostomy bag. Disturbing as it might be, experts believe this is a trend that is likely to grow. [Associated Press]

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