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

Amazing things that should happen more often

An Air Canada flight veered slightly off course this week for an impromptu rescue of a sailor stranded in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. Flight crew and passengers assisted in the rescue, with one passenger even lending his pair of binoculars to assist with the efforts. [HuffPo]

Over China’s eight day national holiday this month, a record number of tourists set out to travel. While many found the heavy traffic and long queues frustrating, economists saw it is as a sign that things are set to improve. [Time]

BBC compiled a slideshow from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners, a stunning collection of images that double as a reminder we are not the only creatures pacing this vast planet. [BBC]

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

The biggest travel news story of the week was the news that, starting next year, Cubans will be able to travel abroad without the currently required travel permit and letter of invitation. Hurdles will still exist for hopeful travellers, though; nationals have to navigate red tape and paperwork to apply for passports, as most are not currently passport holders. [CNN] The Miami Herald analysed a 30-page document published in Cuba to see what the reform really means. [Miami Herald]

Despite continued security concerns in Egypt, the country has seen a 20% boost in tourism this year. Prior to the Arab Spring last year, tourism figured for 10% of the country’s GDP. [Reuters]

It’s a no-go

The disgraced captain of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship was in court this week, with more than 1,000 survivors, relatives of those who perished and lawyers present to hear the accusations. The liner capsized in January 2012 when the captain brought it too close to shore as part of a stunt. [CBS]

Excerpts have leaked from the highly particular “Aircraft Standards” manual for the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO’s private jet, and it includes such stringencies as “crew can eat meals only on flights longer than two hours, and only food that is not ‘aromatic’”, and that tea must be served with a teaspoon that is exactly 5¼in in length. The 47-page document came to light in a lawsuit filed by a pilot who claims he was fired for being too old. [HuffPo]

A former American Airlines baggage handler was convicted for heading up a multi-million dollar drug smuggling operation that relied on the airlines’ vast network and reach to illegally transport upward of 150kg of cocaine from the Caribbean to the US over 10 years. The individual was sentenced to life in prison. [ABC News]

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