Sunday, 9 March 2014

When A Plane Goes Missing

I woke up yesterday to non-stop beeping of my phone - it was my SIA Training Batch's Whatsapp group chat, discussing a missing Malaysian Airlines' aircraft. 

For those of you still clueless as to what is going on, yesterday, an MH (the code for Malaysia Airlines) flight from KL to Beijing lost all radio signal 2 hours into the flight. The plane was uncontactable, and it only had enough fuel to fly for about 8 hours. Which means it has definitely landed somewhere. Unless it went into space and is in free orbit. 

If it landed on ground, it should have been found by now. With so many countries sending out airplanes and vessels to look for the plane (Philippines, Vietnam, US, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand), it's almost impossible to not see it somewhere. 

Unless it landed on sea. 

I'm not trying to dampen hopes here, but I hear from my pilot friends that it's not good news if a plane ditches on sea. And if you have travelled on a China flight before, you would have experienced that many Chinese passengers tend to be very anxious when it comes to alighting and boarding. I had to shout at passengers to sit down too many times when they stood up to try to get their stuff while the aircraft was still taxi-ing. Imagine how chaotic it would be if it was a real emergency situation. 

I don't think the aircraft attempted a ditching at sea, because it should have sent out a distress signal, or established some kind of communication about some fault onboard requiring the move. No news. No signal. Nothing. A sudden loss of signal, and the plane was lost. 

I'm hoping the plane went into some kind of vortex like the Bermuda Triangle, or some kind of miracle happened and soon the plane or passengers will reappear somewhere, unharmed. 

A family member of a passenger onboard has somehow managed to call through his mobile phone but apparently no one answered it. How did the phone, uncontactable throughout the flight, suddenly have signal and became contactable? The phone was recently switched on? It went into an area with reception where it didn't before? Why didn't anyone pick up the call? Even if the phone was waterproof, if the plane really went into the sea, how could there be reception?

Also, why did the Vietnam Navy confirm that there was a MH flight that crashed into their seas, only to later say that this is unverified? Did other authorities make them say that? Because they didn't want to kill hopes until they actually find the plane?

So many questions, there must a million things running through everyone's minds now. Unanswered.

No one has answers. There are speculations that no distress signal was sent out because the plane exploded, or the pilot crashed the flight on purpose, or the plane was shot down suddenly. All of which don't sound very good. The fact that 4 passengers using stolen passports bought their air tickets  together doesn't help. Was it planned? What were they planning?

I was a cabin crew once. And I feel a lot each time I hear news about aircrafts and flights. Even bad turbulence has my attention and concern, much less a whole missing aircraft. 

For crew, flying has become so much a part and parcel of their lives that most of us just go to work like a regular day job. Sometimes your flight is in the middle of the afternoon or so early in the morning that you don't get to saw any goodbyes to your loved ones at all. 

I can feel what some of their family members and loved ones could be feeling right now. Together with the loved ones of all the passengers onboard. What were your last words to him/her before the flight? Did you quarrel? Were you looking forward to a holiday together? Did you tell her you love her? What exactly happened?

Malaysia Airlines has been one of my favourite airlines to fly with, amidst SQ and Cathay. In fact I love taking it because they have service comparable to what Singapore Airlines offers, yet at a more affordable price. The food is good, and security as well. I view them as a sister airline, so it's really disturbing to hear the news. 

Your loved ones want you home. Safely. It's the exam period in Malaysia, your kids need you there. So please, MH370, all pax and crew, don't keep us waiting for long. Come home to us, soon.