A couple of readers have emailed me to ask why I haven’t written anything about the Malaysia Airlines MH370 Boeing 777-200ER flight that disappeared enroute between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
There are two reasons, and I think both are straightforward.
- I really do not have much to add to the discussion, that others better qualified to speak aren’t already saying.
- It’s really hard and I don’t do emotion well, let alone in public on the internet.
I am not an expert on the mechanics of aviation, on the engineering details of how planes fly or don’t.
I don’t have better sources that give me insight into what’s going on before the rest of the media gets their information (although there are of course plenty of ill-informed commenters on television talking about this).
I think Scott Mayerowitz had a nice piece describing many of the things that could have happened (some, obviously, far less likely than others).
Here’s how I described that experience at the time:
All of a sudden the kinds of things I was going to be talking about seemed so utterly mundane.How to save a few dollars on airfare? How to get your rental car for less? At some level, on that day, who cares?
Very few people in the audience were aware of the Asiana crash at the time, they had been holed away in talks and events. People generally put their phones down, they weren’t getting news alerts.
But I felt like it was important to lead off my talk with the news of the crash, acknowledging how so much of what I was planning to talk about seemed small, and then spending a few minutes talking about why I travel, what I get out of it, how saving money or having greater comfort when I travel made it possible and likely that I would travel more, and that the time I spent flying Asiana, the time in South Korea, rather than feeling small because of the subject matter it actually made me feel more connected to the tragedy. There are plenty of terrible things that happen in the world, each and every day, yet this one really affected me.
When Asiana crashed.. I’ve flown Asiana, many times. I’ve booked awards for clients and for friends on Asiana — many, many times.
And so too with Malaysia Airlines. I have an upcoming booking with them myself. I have confidence in them, please don’t misunderstand. But it hits close to home and not just because there were real people – travelers – aboard the flight. But I’m neither a eulogist nor a philosopher.
Hopefully that’s a window into my thinking. When I first heard about the incident, I was shaken by it and felt like I wanted to acknowledge it in some way. The truth is, I did not know how in a way that didn’t seem trite and derivative.
All I’ll say then for now is that my thoughts are with the families and friends of the passengers and crew of the flight.
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