Malaysia Airlines's near-empty planes ply the world's skies, losing $2M/day


do not appear to be related to negligence

Some might argue negligence…


Weird. How did American rebound from the loss of multiple plans in 2001?

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It didn’t.

Airlines went bankrupt. 100s of thousands of people lost their jobs at airlines and manufacturers.

Edit: sorry, didn’t realise you were specifically talking AA.

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I wonder if the name of the airline was simply lost in all of the details and there was a very real external target for anger and blame. I honestly couldn’t have told you which airline(s?).

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So, for giggles I started looking up flights from the US to anywhere in that region of the world they service, since my wife and I are looking at vacation in mid-October and I thought that a flight to somewhere exotic to actually exercise a passport for a change would be more interesting than what we had planned (but haven’t booked yet).

I guess my budget is lower than “dirt cheap,” or they only charge full fare on their own website.


Makes me wish even more that I could go backpacking again anytime soon. But I’ve chosen education and I’ll have to live with it…


Travel related industries also suffered. I worked for a company that helped people get passports & visas & after 9/11, the bottom dropped out of the market. It got so bad that the owner of the business fired our office manager on trumped up charges just to get out of paying him $60K a year.
But things got better.

For American Airlines, it took 10 years to go bankrupt (this took place in 2011). Plenty of people still flew American after the loss of planes during 9/11 and a couple months later in New York.

(I know, because I had to take a couple flights with them that Dec. 2001–they were packed still.)

The claims that Malaysian was acting unusually by flying through that airspace, or that better-run airlines wouldn’t have done so, don’t add up. Several other planes flew very close to where MH17 was shot down that day, including some from Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa- all of which are unequivocally world-class airlines.


There was a large government bailout bill passed in 2002 as well as emergency aid and government loans in 2001.

Many other airlines had stopped flying over the area and warnings had been issued. Just because other airlines were also potentially negligent doesn’t excuse Malaysian. But you’re right that it wasn’t a purely black and white issue.

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As much as I love John Oliver, he gets some things wrong and this is one of them. Honestly it’s a bit frustrating as he’s clearly going for the punchline more than accuracy. Fact check everything from that show.

A ton of air routes go over regions with local tensions. It’s industry standard, and has nothing to do with Malaysia Airlines. Airline routes take a very long time to set up.

Wikipedia has a map will all high tension and ongoing conflict regions.

Here’s an airline route map from 2009:

Also, airliners fly at 35,000 feet, which is outside the range of most air defenses and is difficult to mistake for an incoming strafing run. It’s just Malaysian Airlines’s bad luck that the Russians gave their proxies unusually good air defense equipment, and didn’t give them enough training in when to use it. Also, the Russian-backed Ukrainian rebels had been shooting down military transports, big planes that fly at high altitude and can be mistaken for civilian flights, not just fighter/bombers or helicopters


Thanks I got lazy :slight_smile:

That airline route map is meaningless, as it doesn’t indicate the actual flight path, but only the origin and destination, connected by a straight line (which, if you’ve ever gone from Europe to North America, is nothing like what’s shown on that map).


Sure? Looks like great circle routes to me.

The routes show the shortest path (or, more accurately, one of the two shortest paths) between the origin and destination: straight lines are difficult since you can’t fly through the earth’s crust.

It looks like we’ve found a perfect airline for all the Knee Defender assholes and others who think they’re in charge of my seat’s engineered right to recline.

Great circle routes are exactly what everyone is talking about, and the routes in the map do indeed look like great circles.