Richard Branson's X-rated stunt

Cross-check, cross-dress

Passengers on AirAsia X flight D7 237 from Perth to Kuala Lumpur in May could be forgiven for looking twice when Virgin's chairman Sir Richard Branson, dressed as a female flight attendant, teeters down the aisle in heels.

More than two years since Branson lost a friendly bet to AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes over who had the better formula 1 team, the Virgin chief, with shaved legs, make-up and red skirt, will have to serve guests on the charity flight for the Starlight Children's Foundation.

"As an AirAsia X flight attendant, he has to comply with our grooming standards and that includes shaving his legs, donning high heels, putting on some make-up and slipping into the AirAsia's famous red uniform," Fernandes says.

"He will be committed to carry out the responsibilities of a flight attendant, including offering coffee, tea and other food and beverages to guests ..."

Seats are available for the one-way flight on May 12 and cost from $399 a person.


Relaxation meets adrenalin

In the ultimate shore-to-slope adventure, two New Zealand operators have launched a heli-skiing trip, with a luxury yacht on Lake Wakatipu serving as a home base.

For five days guests on the 20-metre Pacific Jemm will be taken by a Southern Lakes Heliski chopper to ski or snowboard the Humbolt, Hector, Thomson and Forbes mountains. Alternatives in inclement weather include golf, jet boating or relaxing on board.

Individual bookings can be made on the trip that takes a minimum six people. A seven-day package costs from $8700 a person and includes two nights at the Queenstown Hilton.


Dog days at LAX

Pets have been long been a source of therapy and Los Angeles World Airports has unleashed a new plan to reduce airport angst.

Dogs and handlers will be present near departure gates in each terminal "providing comfort" and information about its multibillion-dollar improvements as part of the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) scheme, a spokesman says.

Volunteers have had classroom and in-terminal training at LAX, which is the sixth busiest airport in the world.


Blooming good idea

In Britain, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is planting the seeds of an English garden at London's Heathrow Airport.

Celebrating National Gardening Week from April 15 to 21 and the Chelsea Flower Show, May 21-25, terminals 3, 4 and 5 will have a living art installation by garden designer Tony Smith.

Airport restaurants are also on board, with menus celebrating spring. Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food in Terminal 5 is serving native lobster with elderflower foam, pea shoots and violets.

For passengers arriving home, more than 170 Heathrow and RHS volunteers dressed in gumboots and gardening aprons will be handing out seed packets - 20,000 of them - enough for each recipient to grow their own square metre of wild flowers.

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