30 November 2011

PBS's Frontline program on the crash of Flight 3407 re-broadcast

"Flying Cheap" aired on PBS stations in February 2010, a year after the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, in which Beverly Eckert and 50 others perished. The program illustrated why changes were needed in the way the pilots and crew of regional airlines were trained, paid and scheduled for work to ensure proper rest. Members of Congress and family members of those lost, including Karen Eckert and Susan Bourque, two of Beverly Eckert's sisters, pushed hard to pass legislation that would make flying safer, but opposition from the airlines, based on their bottom lines, has stalled some reforms.

The program aired again yesterday, and provides an opportunity to reflect with sadness on this failure of businesses and government to do the right thing. Too often, the ways of commerce and politics in the United States prevent this. Corporations with deep pockets and well-connected lobbyists in this case thwarted the will of the people and treated their safety, their very lives, as just a line on their ledger sheets.

The story of Beverly's last flight home will be a thread running through No Truer Hearts. It was a flight that had a tragic end, and should have taught those in positions of power that changes were needed to make flying on regional airlines safer. Let's hope it does not take another year to learn those costly lessons.