Surrey The television adventurer Bear Grylls is to launch one-day “travel preparation courses”, aimed at gap year students and business people visiting hostile environments. Topics covered will include dealing with kidnap situations, wilderness first aid, motor mechanics, and personal security. The courses, which cost £150, begin on July 27 and take place near Guildford, Surrey.

Paris The Plaza Athénée, the grand Parisian hotel that celebrates its centenary this year, has announced it will close on October 1 for a seven-month refurbishment. The hotel, one of only 13 in France to have “palace” status, has acquired three adjacent buildings and will use them to create 14 new rooms, a ballroom and two new event spaces, while the Alain Ducasse restaurant, Le Bar and other rooms will also be redesigned. Some of the existing art deco furniture, fittings and artwork will be sold by auction house Artcurial on October 8.

London British Airways will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 on Thursday, part of a major fleet update. The configuration of the 469-seat A380, which will be used on services from London to Los Angeles and Hong Kong, differs markedly from other airlines already flying them – where many A380s have premium seats on the upper deck, economy on the lower, BA has smaller economy and business cabins on both decks. The delivery follows that of BA’s first Boeing 787, which arrived at Heathrow last week; the airline has a further 11 A380s and 23 787s due for delivery over the next four years.

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