This Week in Travel News: The World’s Longest Flight Just Got Longer | Plus: Russian bears raising money for a good cause (in a morally ambiguous way), and Canada wants to hear your worst airline horror story.
By Michael Fraiman
Each Friday, we round up the week’s biggest travel headlines. Here are this week’s:
Bad news for travellers in Qatar. Several Middle Eastern countries have made moves to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar, a relatively small peninsular country off the coast of Saudi Arabia. The latter nation is leading the charge to isolate Qatar, while Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya and the Maldives followed suit, blocking all planes of any nationality from flying between them. This is a sticky spot for travellers—Qatar is a popular hub in the Middle East, and holds the record for the world’s longest flight (just under 16 hours to New Zealand), which now takes 15 minutes longer. Anyone flying between Qatar and any of the above-mentioned countries will find their flights cancelled or rerouted, and should contact the specific airline for a rebooking or refund.
Canada wants your input on the new air-passenger bill of rights. The Canadian Transportation Agency wants to hear your thoughts about air travel in Canada, as preparations begin to create Canada’s own air-passenger bill of rights. “We are going to give Canadians an opportunity across the country to let us know what they think should be in those regulations,” CTA chair Scott Streiner told the Canadian Press. The agency, which has seen an uptick in passenger complaints this past year (mostly because of an awareness campaign—they want to hear it all), is scheduling up to three months of public consultations for the bill of rights, including online discussions, a submissions inbox and day-long in-person sessions. We expect details about their schedule will come out soon, and will keep you updated.
And now, a video of a bear riding a motorcycle sidecar. Locals in the Russian city of Syktyvkar were baffled when they saw an enormous bear sitting calmly, cruising down their Siberian streets. Turns out it was a fundraising PR stunt organized by a local biker club called the Polar Wolves (note the wolf motif on the bike’s front), who teamed up with a visiting circus to raise money for a children’s psychoneurological clinic. One wonders if the bear was drugged for the stunt, but… at least it was for a good cause?