Transparency in Aviation (thanks to passenger cellphones!)

Aviation has a long marketing history, in which negative events are concealed and stories are spun. But, with the widespread use of camera cellphones, it is becoming much more difficult to keep ‘incidents’ away from the general public. A recent JetBlue flight is an example.

JetBlue Flight #1266, on an Embraer 190, departed Fort Meyers in southwest Florida, at 2:53PM on November 20, 2013. Roughly 25-minutes into the flight to Boston, while climbing through 32,000′, an evacuation chute deployed inside the front of the plane, pinning a flight attendant near the cockpit door. Minutes later, a diversion to Orlando [KMCO] was underway. The flight landed and then took off again for Boston four hours later. The flight attendant was slightly injured.

Images and details captured by passengers, and quickly shared online, are an outstanding example of how transparent aviation can (and should) be. Just this year, we have all seen the informational power presented by images of the burnt Boeing 787 batteries, as well as the nosegear collapse of Southwest Flight 345 at LaGuardia.