Flight: Here’s what not to watch when you have a plane to catch the next day

Who the eff watches this movie (and THIS SCENE) a few days before their flight? You’re right, I do!

The said scene is from the movie Flight, a 2012 drama starring Denzel Washington and directed by Robert Zumeckis, the same guy behind Forrest Gump. Flight’s story is straight forward, a passenger plane takes a steep nose dive from 30,000 feet and the pilot, William “Whip” Whitaker managed to save 96 out of 102 lives on board by doing a complicated maneuver where he commandeers the plane right-side up before crashing in a field. While Whip should be considered a hero, investigation revealed that his toxicology report came back positive for alcohol. For on the day of the flight and subsequent accident, Whip took the helm following a night of bingeing on alcohol, cocaine and sex. Obviously, Flight’s visual effects guys did one hell of job to make that scene so believable you’d be tempted to swear off air travel altogether.

The plane crash scene above literally took me on the edge of my seat. As in literally, cos after watching that scene, I almost cancelled our tickets bound for Taipei since I was that scared. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but this has been a common scenario every time I travel.

Here’s my routine: I flip the channel to National Geographic and wait for an episode of “Air Crash Investigation, then I’ll buy my choice of soda and chips and watch with utter fascination. A bit morbid, I know…but it has become a ritual since 2007. It’s like the time when my sister traveled on her first inter-island ferry trip, traveling from Manila to Visayas. Guess what’s playing on the ship’s television sets through out the old ship? It’s Titanic. Of all the movies set in steam liners and ships, the company had the gall to show a movie where the so-called indestructible ship of the early 20th century was brought down by an ice berg. As my sister puts it, “Titanic is not something high above the public’s choice of movie when they are on board an aging ship and in the middle of the Philippines’ choppy waters.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not after the entertainment value of the show or the film (because there is nothing entertaining or joyful about plane crashes where many lives are lost), I am after the lessons learned following a tragic accident. How do airlines pick up the pieces? How do government agencies work to ensure that a crash will not be a possibility again? What are the steps taken to ensure the safety of a passenger and their love ones? Years after these accidents, what has the government and the airline company done to make air travel safer and more accessible? These are the things that I am very concerned about.

I guess I always believed that plane travel is still the safest means of transportation. Yes, that’s a direct quote from Superman (Brandon Routh era). And I really love airplanes — I am one of the weird ones who always point to the sky and stare really hard (until my neck hurts) until the plane is out of sight.

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