The following post has nothing to do with aviation policy; it’s just a rant. This story came across my reader today. What’s wrong with the screen cap below?
If that jet in the picture looks like it’s in Continental’s livery, you’re right. The editors chose the do a screen grab of a Continental aircraft on a story about United. Why? Beats me, but it seems to go along with a general illiteracy about commercial aviation in the mainstream media.
I was once interviewed last fall for a segment on the Essential Air Service. The segment focused on flights at Washington Dulles Airport; all of the “b-roll” — the background footage that airs as people talk — came from Reagan National. But at least they shot the right airline.
TV shows and movies get it wrong a lot, too, confusing airline liveries and aircraft types. A sitcom episode I saw not long ago, set in 2007, showed an establishing shot of the Delta terminal at New York’s JFK airport. The aircraft were L1011s and Boeing 727s — decked out in Delta’s mid-’90s livery — types Delta has not operated since 2001 and 2003, respectively. The worst offender in this category is the terrible short-lived sitcom The Loop, which focused on a young executive at a major airline. This show had every reason to be accurate; after all, it was about the airline industry. Instead, its understanding of the industry was juvenile, as if the writers merely skimmed a few newspaper articles. But its visual cues were much worse. It used footage of LaGuardia and Newark airports as establishing shots of Chicago-O’Hare. It would show a narrowbody plane in an establishing shot, then reveal a widebody interior — and vice versa. And no wonder the fictional airline was hemorrhaging money — they were, according to the show, operating 747s on domestic routes like Chicago-Denver!
This is, of course, a trivial tip of the iceberg. Patrick Smith nearly has a full-time job pointing out errors in the mainstream media’s reporting of much more serious aviation issues.
Rant over. Now back to your regularly scheduled wonkishness.