“Out of Body” experience for JetBlue passengers

JetBlue landing

This is the “trouble” with news at the speed of NOW. Yesterday, just above Los Angeles, JetBlue flight 292 circled Southern California for three hours with its front wheels turned sideways, unable to be retracted into the plane. Satellite TV sets aboard the plane were tuned to news broadcasts as 140 passengers watched their own life-and-death drama unfolding on live television. Some passengers cried while others tried to telephone relatives. One woman sent a text message to her mother in Florida attempting to comfort her in the event she died. You can watch the actual news footage here.

I can’t imagine how surreal it is for the JetBlue passengers to watch their own troubled flight being televised on the news. In a Strange Days kind of way, if you were a passenger, you would be looking at yourself through the television camera’s merciless eye, wondering if you should experience calm or fear. Now when we watch TV, we see all kinds of crimes, diasaters and other bad stuff on screen everday, which builds some kind of indifference towards anything we see on screen. But when we see ourselves on TV, especially in a critical moment of life and death, what are we to feel? I’m saying that experiencing something and watching yourself experiencing it creates multiple feedback loops, which may cause hysteria, or create more calm as you may feel seperated from your real body since you would be looking at yourself from the outside.

UPDATE: Maybe I should write for the New York Times… Gawker just showed how NYT took a similar “out of body experience” angle on the JetBlue incident.

UPDATE 2: Peter watched the landing live on TV and commented how the pilot was not just good, he was amazing… apparently the pilot tried to keep the landing on the rear two wheels and held back on the front wheel maing contact with the tarmac, putting that wheel down only after 30 seconds. I was thinking he was doing a wheelie, but hell, that’s one awesome pilot!

UPDATE 3: MacCannta provides his Post-PostModern Moment on Jet Blue #292. Emphasizes on what I said and suggests that this event makes for good PR for JetBlue.

  • http://ramblinglibrarian.blogspot.com Ivan Chew

    I don’t know what would be worse for a passenger — knowing what’s happening to the plane, or not knowing.

  • http://theory.isthereason.com Kevin

    The issue is it’s so easy to “know” now… you almost can’t avoid being informed. With that in mind, it could be helpful if we find out how we could turn this “omniscience” knowledge into something useful for us. E.g. perhaps the co-pilot could better see how the front wheel if doing by monitoring the live news feed and instruct the pilot accordingly. For the passengers, it’s a different story: It’s like getting an injection… if you hate getting jabs, you might not want to look. But then again, you might want to make sure the jab came out right so you might look at how it’s done. Where do you fit in? Do you look or not?