Travel news: flying standing up, Boeing heads to space

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It's that time of the week, where we ask our worldly Lonely Planet editors what's making travel news in their corners of the globe.

Flying standing up. Anyone who’s travelled on flights that cost, say, 1p before taxes and charges may have wondered where budget airlines go from here. This week we might have got the answer. It's the hottest topic in travel news this week. Aviointeriors, an Italian airline seat manufacturer, came up with a seat which you do not sit in (check out the pics here). Their innovative design, which will be familiar to anyone who’s answered the call of nature in a stand-up pit latrine, requires both feet to be planted on the floor, with the passenger leaning for all they’re worth. There’s not much risk of falling off, though: even the most determined of tumblers would find it hard to topple into the space created by a mere 23 inches of legroom. The idea is simple: install these instead of regular seats and more people can be carried, generating more cash for the airline.

These 'seat' designs are clearly designed to appeal to the likes of Ryanair and budget carriers around the world who want as many bums-on-ledges as they can get, but passengers who are less than keen to shoe-horn themselves into this seat for a couple of hours should rest easy. Standing on planes has been a dream for airlines and a nightmare for self-loading cargo (that’s airline industry slang for you and me) for years now, but no government looks likely to allow this 'high density' seating option just yet. - Tom Hall, UK travel editor

Oprah is coming to Australia with her posse. US talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey is coming to Australia to kick off the 25th season of her show. The trip - funded by federal and state governments - will mean:

•    300 audience members get an eight-day holiday to Australia all-expenses paid.
•    Said audience members get flown from the US in a Qantas jet piloted by John Travolta (who else!).
•    An episode of Oprah filmed in the Sydney Opera House. Of course.
•    According to Oprah, they'll get 'kangaroos, koalas…beaches…the Great Barrier Reef…shiraz’.

Oprah's stamp of approval works like a charm for book sales, so it will be interesting to see what happens to US trips Downunder after the resulting episode airs in January 2011. Meanwhile, in Chicago, they're already starting to ponder what the end of Oprah's chat show will do to tourism in the city.  - Asia-Pacific travel editor Shawn Low.

And in travel headlines from other places:

Boeing gets into the space tourism business - New York Times

Liberace Museum closing its doors. Get to Las Vegas before it closes on 17 October. Jane Ormond, Lonely Planet

Top places to retire. International Living Magazine has revealed its list of desirable spots for retiree living. Ecuador, France and New Zealand all make an appearance in the top 14. - Travel Industry Wire

Inside the world's most opulent private jets. You wish. - Wired

World's worst pickpocketing cities. Watch your pocket in Barcelona, for starters. - Daily News

Cambridge deemed UK's most boring place to shop. - Gadling