Passengers on a British Airways flight that left London on Sunday night found themselves facing an optional extra on their non-stop flight to Hong Kong - a stopover. An unofficial 24-hour strike by ground crew at Heathrow Airport meant the cancellation of the usually direct flight. Passengers were offered an alternative flight that included a 14-hour interlude in Bahrain, which is popular with those seeking endless sand dunes, periodic droughts and dust storms. The stopover allows the airline to comply with international regulations governing crew working hours. A British Airways spokesman said an alternative direct flight out of London was unavailable because of 'staff shortages'. And there was no spare crew available in Bahrain for an immediate onward flight. By November last year, the carrier had shed 13,000 jobs as part of cost cutting. The flight, which was due in Hong Kong at 1.40pm yesterday, is now due at 4.45pm today. With the added stopover, the normal 11-hour jaunt between London and Hong Kong becomes a 30-hour epic. Although this does give passengers plenty of time to enjoy the sights in Bahrain. Provided they have remembered to pack their bucket and spade. Expensive friday freight A local freight forwarder has cast doubts on Shanghai's US$16 billion bid to become the region's dominant cargo handler. Officials hope the Yangshan deep-water port will become an international cargo hub to rival Hong Kong and Singapore. Our freight-mate said Chinese customs opened only from Monday to Friday, closes at 1pm on Friday, and has the weekend off. 'If your goods arrive in China on a Friday [after 1pm], they charge you storage over the weekend until Monday,' he said. 'I know since it happened to me with my shipments!' Elite club in hot water A local bastion of righteousness, integrity and tradition has found itself on the wrong side of the law. The prestigious Hong Kong Club in Central, a popular watering hole for High Court judges, has been slapped with a fine for failing to file basic corporate information with the Companies Registry, according to well-placed sources. The registry has clamped down on firms failing to submit the most simple stuff - annual returns, changes of address, that kind of thing, on time. The Hong Kong Club did not immediately return calls. Too busy mixing G&T's for overworked judges? Beam me up, scotty! Excitement has mounted among the press pack at the thought of firing questions to casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson at a press conference in Macau today. Mr Adelson is owner, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands, which operates the Venetian Gaming Resort. The Venetian resort offers customers the unique experience of spending thousands of dollars in a Venice, in the desert instead of spending a few hundred dollars to travel to Venice in Italy. Mr Adelson is keen to bring the Venetian spending experience to Macau. 'Mr Adelson will reveal details of his vision to transform Macao [sic] into a Las Vegas-styled world-class destination with outstanding hotels, entertainment and gaming,' trumpets a press release. There is no question his investment in Macau is welcome. But why is it Mr Adelson cannot make it there himself. It was not until further inquiries were made that the media discovered the tycoon would not be there in person. He was to be beamed in via TV from Singapore. A company spokesman said he was 'very busy with meetings in Singapore'. Grumbled one hacked off hack: 'I'm not going all the way to Macau to meet someone who won't be there. I'd rather go to Venice, Italy.' untimely calls A colleague recently had a call at work from a 'property agent' asking if he would like to sell his flat. The colleague declined. Not five minutes later the phone rang again with a representative from Malcolm Lloyd Investments on the phone. The young lady with a Filipina accent asked if he was interested in investing US$5,000 in stocks. He declined. 'I don't think my flat's worth even that,' he lamented.