We're just a few days removed from a Boeing 747 cargo plane's engine bursting into flames mid-flight, which caused an emergency landing. Of course in the beginning of the month we had an entire door/panel being blown off during an Alaska Airlines flight. You may say I'm operating with a bit of sensationalism here with these stories, but how about this new one?
A New York-bound Virgin Atlantic flight was canceled just moments before takeoff last week when an alarmed passenger said he spotted several screws missing from the plane’s wing.
British traveler Phil Hardy, 41, was onboard Flt. VS127 at Manchester Airport in the UK on Jan. 15 when he noticed the four missing fasteners during a safety briefing for passengers and decided to alert the cabin crew.
Passengers are meant to relax on planes. Pop a xanax, slam a few whiskeys, and shut those eyes as you travel across the skies. Something we're not expected to do? Check the structural integrity of the aircraft before takeoff. I for one did not go to school to learn how planes work and what's expected of them in order to safely spread their wings and soar. Maybe this was dumb of me to assume, but I thought they had extensive inspections conducted before every flight. If those were taken out at the last budget meeting then we all need to be alerted to such news. Are we the inspectors now?
“I’m a good flyer, but my partner was not loving the information I was telling her and starting to panic, and I was trying to put her mind at rest as much as I could,” Hardy told the Kennedy News agency of the moment he spotted the missing fixings.
“I thought it was best to mention it to a flight attendant to be on the safe side.”
Engineers were promptly called out to carry out maintenance checks on the Airbus A330 aircraft before its scheduled takeoff to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens in New York City, a Virgin Atlantic rep said.
I'm a nervous flyer. I'll get bad thoughts racing through my head if the plane experiences a sizable bump or drops in altitude out of nowhere. Admittedly a big pussy with all that. With that being said, if I had a window seat with visuals near the wing there's no chance in hell I'd feel confident enough to actually suspect something was off like this guy did. Telling a flight attendant at the risk of sounding completely insane? No I'll just keep my mouth shut and turn on 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' to distract myself and pray this bird doesn't go down.
Not in a million years are my eyes spotting that and actually believing trouble was afoot. With my dumb brain I'm the wrong one every time. Something would have to be so clearly off for me to muster a word of concern. Come to think of it, the only reason he likely told someone was because his partner was freaking out and not asking questions was going to lead to a fight. Would the plane have gone down because of a few missing bolts? Probably not, but small chance went to zero because he wanted to avoid all sorts of future conflict with his girlfriend.
We need to get our shit together folks. We can't be having bolts missing on the wing, engines engulfing in flames, and entire doors being blown off mid-flight. It's 2024 not 1960. Fix the planes.
P.S. This would NEVER happen with Spirit Airlines though. Alaska, Virgin Atlantic sure, but not Spirit. $Save to the moon.