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Why Did Eastern Airlines Keep Flight 401?  
User currently offlineAA787823 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 10061 times:

After the crash of Eastern Airlines flight 401, they kept operating the flight (same route JFKMIA) right up until they shut down. Usually after a major accident airlines tend to retire flight numbers.?

I was reading a long article about the crash last night. It includes the only known picture of N310EA, and some photos of the FAs hours before the crash, and a discussion board of survivors.

Interesting read.

http://eastern401.googlepages.com/

[Edited 2007-08-19 15:59:00]

26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4328 posts, RR: 35
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 10028 times:

Not a rule of thumb, only when the flight number is being used so much in press and reports that it scares passengers and staff away from flying it. Apperently in the 1970s they were less bothered and the number '401' didn't put off alarm bells like it would nowadays.


nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineAA787823 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 10018 times:

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 1):
Apperently in the 1970s they were less bothered and the number '401' didn't put off alarm bells like it would nowadays.

Only for us "Airline Geeks" I guess....


User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 9913 times:

Quoting MEA-707" class=quote target=_blank>MEA-707 (Reply 1):
Not a rule of thumb, only when the flight number is being used so much in press and reports that it scares passengers and staff away from flying it. Apperently in the 1970s they were less bothered and the number '401' didn't put off alarm bells like it would nowadays.

This was very well put by MEA-707!

Nowadays when a plane has crashed the media usually refers to the airline and flight number. Pan Am 103 (which was also known as the Lockerbie bombing, but still the flight number was big in the media, especially in the US on CNN), TWA 800, Swissair 111 being some good examples of flight numbers done away with after a crash.

Back in the 60´s and 70´s the media referred mostly to the aircraft type involved in the accident. The flight number almost wasn´t of any importance.

Remember that in the 60´s jets were pretty new and in the 70´s the widebodies were introduced and came online.

The crash of Eastern flight 401 was the first crash ever of one of the new "Jumbo" widebody planes hence it was referred to in the media as "The first Jumbo airliner crash". Other headlines included: "Giant jetliner crash in the Florida Everglades" etc. The flight number was never really mentioned in the media or in newspaper headlines, maybe not even in every newspaper report.

TWA flight 800 was involved in another disaster in 1964 but only after the 747 crash in 1996 the flight number was retired. In 1964 a 707 that had flown from New York to Paris, then to Rome, and was to continue to Athens. 49 people were killed in the take-off accident and by odd coincidence, this flight was also TWA 800. The media never referred to the flight number but instead reported a TWA Boeing 707 accident in Rome.

Best regards

L1011Lover


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 9774 times:

I agree with all the above statements, but just to clarify, Eastern 401 was the first crash to be specifically referred to by its flight number. Prior to this, there really are no crashes equated with their flight number (except to those in the community associated with the accident). But because 401 was the first wide-body accident (something speculated on by newspapers as being horrific), this incident was talked up more than average.

The next major accident to be identified in this manner was PSA 182, even though there were other accidents in between (TWA 727 at IAD in 1974, the KLM/Pan Am 747 collisions, and a Southern DC-9 in Georgia), the graphic images of the 727 as well as AA 191 at Chicago being photographed (and subsequent DC-10 hysteria) cemented the tradition of referring to a crashed flight by its flight number.

Oddly, even with a couple of movies made with the flight number in the title, no one at Eastern seemed to realize how infamous the number 401 was becoming - I mean, who doesn't associate Ernest Borgnine with Don Repo?



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineSocalfive From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 9743 times:

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
I mean, who doesn't associate Ernest Borgnine with Don Repo?

Yes, there was the book and later the movie both entitled "The Ghost of Flight 401"


User currently offlineTAN FLYR From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1909 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 9504 times:

And the fate of ever using number 191 was sealed forever with both AA and DL having accidents with that number, and both widebodies.

User currently offlineOB1504 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 3356 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 9468 times:

Quoting TAN FLYR (Reply 6):
And the fate of ever using number 191 was sealed forever with both AA and DL having accidents with that number, and both widebodies.

And even more so with the crash of Comair 191 a year ago.


User currently offlineEFCar98 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6896 times:

TWA 800 and then KAL 801...I wouldn't fly on a flight 802

User currently offlineAwthompson From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 475 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 6249 times:

I would like to make an obvious point that numbers in themselves mean absolutely nothing and just because you are travelling on a flight under a flight number previously involved in an accident, there is no increased chance of something going wrong.

However one reason to drop a number after an accident, at least for a few years, would be to avoid needlessly bring back unpleasant memories to relatives and airport / airline employees who had close involvement.

Of course there is also the sales side where the public might avoid certain flight numbers for reasons of superstition. I would certainly not be one of those people  Wink


User currently offlineMilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2000 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5473 times:

Eastern just didn' change the number. AA changed 191 to 195 after the ORD accident in 1979. DL dropped 191 as well. The Comair Flight was operated as DL 5191, not OH 191 which was only an internal designation. I had just graduated from college and was watching TV the night EA 401 crashed in the Everglades. The crash was referred to as Eastern 4-0-1. And of course the book came out a couple of years later, and then a made for TV movie called Crash, was a docudrama about the accident. Eastern Flight 401 was infamous. And I flew on it a few times after the accident in 1973 and 1974. 900 pm departure JFK-MIA. It later operated with A-300 equipment as well as L-1011.

User currently offlineJettaKnight From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5310 times:

Quoting OB1504 (Reply 7):
And even more so with the crash of Comair 191 a year ago.

I believe you're thinking of Comair 5191.


User currently offlineOB1504 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 3356 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5252 times:

Quoting JettaKnight (Reply 11):
I believe you're thinking of Comair 5191.

The flight plan was filed as "COM191" (Comair 191), although it was Delta Connection flight 5191.

www.flightaware.com/live/flight/COM191


User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2595 posts, RR: 30
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5139 times:

I believe another flight number which was kept was BD92 from LHR-BFS, although nowadays the flight operates into BHD.

This flight was involved in the Kegworth disaster in 1989 in which British Midland B737-400 G-OBME crashed short of the runway at EMA just 2 weeks after the aircraft was delivered, killing 47 persons.

http://www.airdisaster.com/photos/bm92/photo.shtml


User currently offlineJettaKnight From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4958 times:

Quoting OB1504 (Reply 12):
The flight plan was filed as "COM191" (Comair 191), although it was Delta Connection flight 5191

I suppose you're correct on a technicality, but I believe the thread has been discussing the public's perception of different flight numbers. I doubt that the average traveller would ever associate Comair 5191 with Eastern or Delta 191.


User currently offlineMasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 5441 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4924 times:

I thought memories may have faded, but NW doesn't (currently anyway) operate a flight 710 - the Tell City Electra flight number.


I love long German words like 'Freundschaftsbezeigungen'.
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4875 times:

Quoting TAN FLYR (Reply 6):
And the fate of ever using number 191 was sealed forever with both AA and DL having accidents with that number, and both widebodies.

As we remember AA-191 was a DC-10-10 crash on departure from ORD, the #1 engine seperated from the left wing.

Then there was DL-191, a L-1011-250 crashed on landing at DFW after flying through a microburst.

Quoting OB1504 (Reply 7):
And even more so with the crash of Comair 191 a year ago.

Filed as ComAir-191, but sold as ComAir-5191 departing LEX, on the wrong runway.

Quoting EFCar98 (Reply 8):
TWA 800 and then KAL 801...I wouldn't fly on a flight 802

Why?


User currently offlineMilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2000 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (7 years 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4664 times:

NW may not be using 710 now, but they have in the past, that is after the March 1960 Tell City crash. Browsing a 6/15/68 OAG shows NW 710, a B3F (707-320B/C) operating MSP-ORD-ATL-MIA. UA continued to operate UA 826, the 800am ORD-IDL DC-8 that collided with the TWA L-1049 through the fall of 1963, some 3 years after the crash.

User currently offlineCodyKDiamond From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 537 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (7 years 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 4539 times:

Also, AAL1 is still used despite the 1962 crash of a 707-123B out of JFK.

User currently offlineSkyyMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (7 years 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 4531 times:

Quoting Awthompson (Reply 9):
I would like to make an obvious point that numbers in themselves mean absolutely nothing and just because you are travelling on a flight under a flight number previously involved in an accident, there is no increased chance of something going wrong.

You are quite correct, but it's surprising the number of people in this world that are superstitious. Look at Brussels Airlines for example. Having to add a 14th dot to their livery after rumors began of the unlucky 13 dots. Silly I know, but it does happen.


User currently offlineIADCA From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1291 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (7 years 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4398 times:

It's also quite notable that most of the ones that get remembered are particularly easy numbers to remember (TW 800, SR 111, AA 191, UA 93, PA 103, KE 007). Things like the recent TAM crash (3054), the AA Long Island A300 crash (587) and the Comair (5191) seem often get other names because of the difficulty of remembering the numbers. Some get easy numbers forgotten because of more famous things about their tragic ends (AA 11, AA 77). Others with reasonably easy ones to remember just seem to fade away in the media, such as Egyptair 990. There's some reason to it, but not entirely that much.

User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6105 posts, RR: 29
Reply 21, posted (7 years 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4396 times:
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Quoting Awthompson (Reply 9):
Of course there is also the sales side where the public might avoid certain flight numbers for reasons of superstition. I would certainly not be one of those people

Kind of like how many hotels and office buildings don't have a "13th" floor. Is that just in North America or do they do that in other parts of the world too?



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineJimbobjoe From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 657 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4302 times:

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 21):
Kind of like how many hotels and office buildings don't have a "13th" floor. Is that just in North America or do they do that in other parts of the world too?

I know that the Chinese are very superstitious about the number 4 (which so happens to be the "numerological sum" of 13 (1+3=4)) though I can't say whether or not they number buildings with a floor 4.

My understanding is that they are far more skittish about 4 than North Americans are of 13.


User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4993 posts, RR: 43
Reply 23, posted (7 years 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 4222 times:

Air Canada used to name their flights from YUL-YYZ-LAX the "California Galaxy", with associated napkins, candy dishes, playing cards, menus, etc.

On July 5, 1970 AC flight 621 a DC-8-63, crashed at YYZ on the first leg of the flight to LAX, with the loss of 109 souls. It received a lot of publicity of course, and the flight's name "California Galaxy" was in the headlines for weeks. While Air Canada kept the flight number the same for years, the name of the flight was very quietly dropped. In fact, the whole concept of naming flights dropped shortly after at Air Canada.

It wasn't until Air Canada changed the practice of numbering flights by aircraft type to destination region, did the flight number change from AC621 to AC791, which stands today.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineXero9 From Canada, joined Feb 2007, 153 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (7 years 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 4055 times:

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 21):
Kind of like how many hotels and office buildings don't have a "13th" floor. Is that just in North America or do they do that in other parts of the world too?

Can't say wether or not it's a North American thing or not, but I stayed at a hotel in the US once that had a 13th floor, but no 12th. I thought that was a bit odd


25 PU752 : Air Kazakhstan Flight 1907 and Gol 1907 are coincidences too, but 191 its even more scary...
26 Viscount724 : North Americans seem much less superstitious than, for example, Europeans. In Europe and many other parts of the world, quite a few airlines don't ha
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