Newspaper headlines: Corbyn train seat row, Team GB homecoming and airport music

The row between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Virgin Trains founder Sir Richard Branson over seating dominates the front pages.

Mr Corbyn and his supporters claim he was unable to get a seat because a train was "ram-packed" and he had to sit on the floor - Sir Richard and his business have released CCTV footage that appears to show Mr Corbyn walking past rows of empty seats

The Guardian reports: "Backed up by Sir Richard Branson, the train operator said it had to 'take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn't able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn't the case' on a crowded train that the Labour leader had taken from London to Newcastle on 11 August.

"But the Labour leader stood by his description of the train journey, saying while there had been some available seats he had not been able to sit with his wife, Laura, and that he was only able to sit later because train staff had upgraded another family to first class to create space.

"Virgin Trains took the unusual step just over a week after Corbyn was filmed sitting on the train floor after he could not find a seat on the morning train. In the video he laments the lack of available seats."

Image copyright Virgin Trains/PA
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn appeared to pass empty seats

The Times says former Labour transport spokesman Michael Dugher accused Mr Corbyn of "bizarre antics".

The Telegraph says Sir Richard took the "remarkable step" of releasing evidence to defend the company's reputation.

"The row threatens to tarnish Mr Corbyn's claim to be an 'honest and straight-talking' politician who offers a 'new politics' after the media-focused New Labour," states the Telegraph.

The i says Sir Richard tweeted the footage to his eight million followers.


Hogwash Express

Times political editor Francis Elliott writes: "As Mr Corbyn was filmed staging his sit-down show of solidarity, however, another camera was recording images that yesterday threatened to undermine his claim to offer a 'new kind of politics'.

"The release by Virgin Trains of on-board CCTV footage led many to conclude that the Labour leader had, at the very least, connived in the sort of exaggerated and partial account that has left trust in politicians at record lows."

The Telegraph describes Mr Corbyn's film as a "sham".

"The Labour leader did have a seat on the train and in CCTV footage released by Virgin, the train operator, he can be seen occupying it," it comments.

"The man who has supposedly brought us the 'new politics' turns out to be just as shameless an exponent of the media stunt as all the others, only less competent."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBroadcaster Lynn Faulds Wood and journalist Sean Dilley join the BBC News Channel to review Wednesday's front pages.

The Independent's travel correspondent Simon Calder is decidedly unimpressed: "All aboard the Hogwash Express."

"Cultural historians may pay tribute to Jeremy Corbyn and his advisers for reviving a great British cinematic tradition. Carry On Up The East Coast provides some welcome comedic relief, presumably scripted by the team behind The Thick of It, as the Labour Party tears itself apart," he writes.

"This shabby episode to portray a Virgin Train as grossly overcrowded will be scoffed at by those who actually use the railway. Yes, there are serious problems with overcrowding on commuter trains. But the 11am from London King's Cross to Newcastle customarily carries zero commuters."


Eye-catching headlines

  • Star breaks the Hollywood mould: She turns 46 on Friday and is definitely bulkier than the typical winsome Hollywood starlet, but Melissa McCarthy is the second-highest-earning actress in the world, making more than $33m (£25m) in 12 months, according to the Forbes annual rankings Times
  • Loneliness "could be as bad for health as cigarettes": Having no friends could be as deadly as as taking up smoking, researchers at Harvard University have suggested, after seeing a link between loneliness and levels of a blood-clotting protein that can cause heart attacks and stroke Telegraph
  • Sleeping duty: why we all need slumber to secure memories and reset our brains: In a study published yesterday, researchers have shown for the first time that sleep resets the steady build-up of connectivity in the human brain which takes place in our waking hours in a process that appears to be crucial for our brains to remember and learn so we can adapt to the world around us Guardian

Pride, reunions and finding luggage

There are some wonderful scenes of Great Britain's Olympic heroes arriving back at Heathrow airport from a medal-laden Games at Rio 2016.

The Guardian paints the picture: "In blazing sunshine under a brilliant blue sky, Team GB's Olympians returned home festooned with medals and eager to offer up corporate endorsements - but above all dreaming of British food.

"'Fish and chips,' said Jonny Brownlee, last seen rolling on the ground in his brother Alistair's arms after they won silver and gold in the triathlon. 'Haven't had fish and chips for months. I am really looking forward to fish and chips.'.

"Dina Asher-Smith, winner of bronze in the women's relay, looked thoughtful. 'I'm looking forward to having something really, really bad to eat - that's been a long time coming,' she said.

"For the swimmer Adam Peaty, who blushed furiously as his gold and silver medals clashed and chimed like a church bell, the food party has already started. 'I've been in McDonald's for the last seven days,' he said."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Members of Team GB retuned to Heathrow after Rio 2016

The Times describes that as 320 Team GB athletes and support staff boarded British Airways flight BA2016 the gold medal winners turned left for first class, the silver and bronze medallists filed into business, and those that did not make the podium had to make do with economy.

The Telegraph reports: "For Britain's triumphant Olympic athletes, yesterday's homecoming was a heady mixture of intense pride, tearful reunions and trying to find their luggage among 1,000 other identical red bags.

"Or as Adam Peaty - who kicked off Team GB's medals spree at the start of the Rio Games with gold in the breaststroke - put it: 'It was mental'."

The i says tweeted images of the fun party atmosphere on board showed that Team GB were in the mood to celebrate.

The Sun and the Mirror both picture the athletes lined up in front of the British Airway plane that brought them home on their front pages.


Air music

Finally, news about a different airport in the Times which says London City has become the first in the country to play a mixture of ambient electronica and upbeat acoustic music in its main security area.

"There may be a solution to ease the frustration of long airport queues and security checks," says the Times, "...music by Ed Sheeran and Adele.

"Songs composed by Sheeran, a Grammy Award-winner, have received the most positive response from travellers and staff."

The paper explains that Sheffield University research found that background music could create a more pleasant environment and provide a distraction for passengers as they passed through security.

The airport's Melanie Burnley tells the Times: "It takes passengers just 20 minutes or less to get from the front door of London City Airport to the departure lounge, and we wanted to enhance the customer experience with a soundtrack.

"So far we've had a very positive reaction to the musical addition, from staff and passengers alike."