A quiet post-holiday week this time around, so a relatively short column this week. What's everyone doing for May 1? Consider some of the domestic destinations we featured for 2014, all three are at their prime this time of year. One of my colleagues just got back from Dubai and said the stand-out thing was the food. Interesting.

One of the worst travel horror stories I've heard in a long time earlier this week. A Cathay Pacific flight made an unscheduled stop in the Guangdong province city of Zhuhai shortly after takeoff from Hong Kong, due to a hailstorm in the area. Why they weren't just delayed departing from Hong Kong is uncertain. The passengers then spent the next 16 hours on the plane. Even the crew, who had reached their contracted daily time limit, were allowed to get off when they were relieved by another crew from Hong Kong. Passengers spent the entire time on the runway and were not permitted to deplane at any point. The flight's ultimate destination was New York, which is a 16-hour journey from Hong Kong. That there wasn't a mutiny on board is a miracle. Anyone who was upgraded at the last second has probably joined a religion.

We can take three lessons from this: even flying over China sucks. It also reminds us that airlines should never be trusted to entertain or feed us, which applies even when your flight isn't grounded for the same period as the flying time. Finally, think very carefully about your seat selection. Any extra space or advantage you gain for yourself at check-in could be magnified many times if the flight is delayed.

On a more uplifting note, anyone looking for a reason to go to Hong Kong for a few days should consider Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, May 27-29, as a good reason. The event is one of the largest wine and spirits conventions of its kind, for both the industry and consumers. See our guide to Hong Kong as the ultimate weekend getaway (although the expo is mid-week) for more information on where to stay and what to do when you're not tasting.

That's it for this week. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 has really put a dampener on enthusiasm for travel, to Malaysia or otherwise. Air travel is still extremely safe, but when something like this happens, it's tough to keep that in mind.

Until next week, one road flat safe.

Photo: Cathay Pacific


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