Will it become a new trend for passengers to film or photograph their planes and themselves in emergency situations? What does it say of our voyeuristic tendencies if we watch these events especially if they occur in real time?
Last week on July 29, a Cathay Pacific flight 884, a five year old Boeing 777-300ER (registration B-KPQ, travelling from Hong Kong to Los Angeles International Airport with 276 passengers and 18 crew diverted to U.S. Eareckson Air Station in Shemya, in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Before the emergency landing, passengers had been told to prepare for a ditching of the aircraft in the water.
As you can see in the video, the plane landed safely at Shemya. The cause of the emergency was the appearance of smoke in the cockpit of the plane.
Shemya was originally intended as a B-29 base for the WW2 bombing of Japan. Its 10,000-foot runway and Birchwood hangars were constructed to accommodate the bomber. It is used from time to time for emergency situations as seen above.
During the time at Shemya, passengers stayed on the plane and watched movies with the airline distributing snacks and drinks. The airline said that an equipment cooling fan situated below the cabin floor near the forward cargo compartment had failed causing the smoke. After a few hours at the Shemya base, the B777 was declared serviceable and travelled onto Anchorage, Alaska.
After the plane landed in Anchorage, passengers de-planed into the secure terminal where they were provided with food and wifi and had access to lavatories. Cathay flew a ground crew from Vancouver to Anchorage to attend to them which is impressive
The airline three hours after the incident sent a relief aircraft which operated as a special flight, CX884D from Hong Kong to Anchorage to Los Angeles. They passengers arrived at Los Angeles International Airport at around 04:30 local time. They were met by Cathay Pacific staff and each given a $US300 cashcard to use at their convenience.
That is a classy effort Cathay. Another reason why they consistently sit in my top airlines (along with Qatar, Emirates and Air New Zealand).
In the meantime, what do you think of filming emergency situations?