Do you remember the Aloha Airlines flight in 1988 where the roof blew off and the flight attendant was sucked out and killed? It all happened because of a tiny crack in the fuselage, which passengers noticed before the plane took off. Hopefully a similar scenario won't be happening any time soon with one of American's planes, but with the condition of some of them these days, one can't help but wonder. If you've been reading the Wall Street Journal recently, you're familiar with the FAA's investigation into suspected structural problems on some of American's aging MD-80 jets. According to the FAA, the problems appear to be the result of substandard repairs to areas surrounding the rear bulkhead. Well, today I flew back to Dallas from a conference in Arkansas, and where was I lucky enough to be sat? In front of the rear bulkhead on an American Airlines MD-80. Take a look at the picture below that I snapped with my iPhone. Looks like they sealed a crack shut with toothpaste, doesn't it?
In all honesty, I hate to bad-mouth American Airlines. They generally treat me quite well as a gold status member and they have a better track record with regard to LGBT-friendly policies than any other US carrier. But come on... would you feel safe sitting on a plane with this right next to you? When I worked in restaurants when I was younger, it was always important that the front of the restaurant and the restrooms be sparkling clean. The logic was that this was a reflection of the part of the restaurant you couldn't see (the kitchen). Wouldn't this same psychology apply to fliers? Maybe there's still a little more fear of flying in me than the average Joe, but seeing things like this inside the passenger cabin make me wonder about the condition of the parts of the plane I can't see.
Read the Wall Street Journal article here