Virgin to give freqent flier a free trip to space

Posted by Kate Taylor

Nervous flyers may not wish to read any further - but if you ever planned to see the world, this is the time to do it.

Virgin America says it's going to give the customer earning the most frequent flyer points over the next year a free trip into space, courtesy of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

Points can be earned through flights with Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America and Virgin Australia, and the deadline is August 7 next year.

The lucky winner will win a free trip on the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo shuttle, with the runner-up netting a free zero-gravity flight.

"We'll count up the total status points you've earned for trips throughout the year, not the total reward points you have left when the contest ends," says the company.

"So you can redeem reward flights with no blackout dates, without hurting your chances."

Virgin's hoping to launch its first commercial flight from its New Mexico spaceport by the end of next year, and is already taking bookings. Tickets cost $200,000 each.

SpaceShipTwo is launched atop the White Knight Two mothership, landing back on a runway like the Space Shuttle. It's currently undergoing flight testing with the engine installed, and has already had 22 successful gliding flight tests.

There's  more information here.