On the bright side
More airline deaths worldwide were due to deliberate acts in 2015 than to accidental air crashes for the second year in a row - bad news, right? Well, maybe. To put a positive spin on the stats: There were only eight accidental airline crashes last year, accounting for 161 deaths - the fewest crashes and deaths since 1946. The global fatal accident rate for airlines in 2015 was one per 5 million flights, the best year ever. So, stay calm - it's safer than ever.
On launching from Houston
Our spies in Houston say the Texan commercial capital will be a tough sell as a standalone destination for Kiwis (with Nasa's Johnson Space Center being the exception - see p6 for our story), but it will make a great hub for journeys onwards to the Caribbean. And the hot word from those sun-dappled isles is that Jamaica is overtaking Barbados as the Caribbean's most popular destination. Visitor numbers into Jamaica from Europe are up 8 per cent, off the back of a raft of new resorts, the popularity of eco-tourism and an increase in flights, says the local tourism board.
On the nose
The greatest crime of our fellow travellers? Being a bit whiffy. In a casual survey by Southern Cross Travel Insurance, 24 per cent of Kiwi respondents said offensive body odour is the most annoying thing about fellow passengers on a flight. Second on the list? Hogging the armrest, at 14 per cent.
On the road
Despite the potential of smelly plane-seat neighbours, more than a third of Kiwis are intending to travel long haul this year, according to another set of casual research from Loyalty New Zealand. Their survey of more than 80,000 Kiwis found that 36 per cent of respondents intended to holiday in an overseas destination that required a long haul flight. Last year, 21 per cent of respondents took a long-haul holiday.
On track for Nepal
Eight months after earthquakes slammed Nepal, trekking specialist World Expeditions is returning to the Manaslu and Langtang regions, from March. "We're delighted that the due diligence safety assessments are completed in these relatively remote trekking regions which were impacted by the earthquakes in April and May and that the results allow us to resume in the spring trekking season from March," said the company's New Zealand manager, Natalie Tambolash.