The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 has cast a pall over the enthusiasm for travel, despite the approach of spring and a long weekend coming up in about three weeks. One thing is for sure: whenever this mystery is solved, air travel will never be the same, so if you're flying these days, remember it. It will be like Americans who remember flying without having to take off their seat belts.

Life goes on in air travel despite this sad situation. Here's some good news: Air China begins Beijing-Vienna-Barcelona service on May 5, flying four times per week. The flights will depart as red-eyes and return to Beijing, arriving at about 5am because all Chinese airlines seem to think this is the way people want to travel, whereas for passengers like me, this is the reason why I don't fly on Chinese airlines unless there's no choice.

Air China is also initiating two new routes that both terminate in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar/Burma, a place George Orwell would have called Rangoon. One route will be Beijing to Yangon non-stop, beginning March 30, and the other route will be Chengdu-Kunming-Yangon, also beginning at the end of this month. See the above paragraph for a guess on how the flights will be scheduled, and why. Right now I'm watching the episode of Top Gear where they drive across Burma, and that seems like a better way to travel than Air China in the small hours.

In one of the stranger routes we've seen develop, later this summer we may see the introduction of charter flights between Beijing and Birmingham, England. Why this is necessary when there are perfectly good flights to London and Manchester, I couldn't tell you. Even more peculiar is that they will be operated by China Southern Airlines, which so far has gotten off pretty scot-free for having sold the two stolen passport passengers on MH370 their tickets via a code share agreement, and that the flights will operate between July 22 and August 6. Whatever, man.

Beijing Tourism teamed up with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to give away a trip to Beijing at a basketball game. I don't believe for one second that Andrew Gomez, who won the trip, actually said "I can finally visit Beijing!" Andrew, we really hope you enjoy your visit to our city, but were you really waiting to come here?

Michelle Obama is visiting Beijing at the moment. I wonder how she likes it?

Next week, I'll have some tips about traveling in the face of delays. Until then, one road flat safe.

Photo: BBC/The Daily Mail

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