Each Friday, we round up the week’s biggest travel headlines. Here are this week’s:
A Taiwanese hiker that went missing in the remote Himalayan jungle nearly seven weeks ago has been found alive. Liang Sheng-yueh, 21, went missing with his 18-year-old partner Liu Chen-chun after a snowstorm hit the region. The couple had not employed a local guide, despite being reportedly suggested to do so by their tour agency, and lost their way when the storm hit. For the first few days, the couple survived on food they had packed for the trek, but after they ran out, they survived by eating salt and snow. Liang’s girlfriend reportedly died just three days before help arrived, while Liang himself was found dehydrated, exhausted and covered in maggots and lice, according to various news reports. Doctors said he lost 30 kilograms in the 47 days he’d be missing, but is now recovering and quickly gaining energy in an ICU in Kathmandu.
Happy Easter, United Airlines. In yet another blow to United’s image, a giant bunny was found dead after travelling from London’s Heathrow airport to Chicago in their cargo compartment. Simon the bunny was allegedly fit and healthy before boarding the flight to met his new owner in the United States. It’s yet unclear why the rabbit died, and United reacted swiftly to the incident, offering condolences and compensation to the breeder and to perform a necropsy, free of cost, to determine the cause of the death. The breeder declined the offer.
The dust from United Airlines’ previous controversies had barely settled, and the timing of this makes it even worse. First they were in the news for banning two girls in leggings from boarding a flight; then a viral outrage shot across the web when people tweeted a video of a passenger being brutally dragged of a plane due to overbooking.
Now Simon’s unfortunate death adds yet another PR mess for the battered airline, particularly because he was no ordinary rabbit. His three-foot-tall stature gave him a chance to be the biggest rabbit in the world—he was the son of Darius, another giant rabbit, who currently holds the Guinness world record for being the longest rabbit in the world. If you’re worried about ways to fly with your pet, check out our senior editor’s explanation on how you can safely travel with your pet.
Canadians are closer to finally getting an air-travel bill of rights. Last fall, we reported on how Canadian air passengers did not have a safety net in case they got bumped from flights. In the wake of recent controversies (RIP, Simon), the Canadian government has officially introduced new legislation that will address passengers’ legal compensation in a situation like the one United recently faced. What the legislation dictates is yet to be seen, but for Canadian passengers, who still lack any clear protection, this is good news.
Qatar Airways has introduced a new record-breaker for world’s longest non-stop, from Doha to Auckland, New Zealand. The long-haul flight covers more than 14,500 kilometres and will last as long as 17 hours and 30 minutes. On one hand, the prospect of not taking connecting flights might be a huge relief, but on the other, it will prove an endurance test, to say the least. Long-haul flights are usually not very profitable for airline companies, and hence flights like one from Singapore to New York by Singapore Airlines—which was previously the longest commercial flight ever, at more than 18 hours—was discontinued in 2013.