Lost: Malaysia Airlines—Flight MH-370

Naughty_Felid

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If the cheapskates who owned the planes would pay for a better 'black box' with a far longer battery life we might not have had to search for quite so long for nothing.
yeah what is it with this "30 days"??

Surely in this day and age we could get it to last a little longer?
 

skinny

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When asked Where were you when Flight 370 disappeared? we'll all be able to instantly respond, "I was on Fortean Times discussion board keeping my finger right on the pulse". What a repository.

Could I suggest we all give our current theories in a short conclusion statement? Then the possibilities could be collated for a poll. I'm interested to find out what the consensus is on the board.

Here I'm sticking to the what, as the why of it is impossible to guess.

I think the pilot had a mental episode, or planned the whole event for reasons unknown. He depressurized the passenger cabin, flew it deliberately off course, ran out of fuel and put the whole thing into the drink somewhere south-west of Perth.
 

EnolaGaia

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If the cheapskates who flew the planes would pay for a better 'black box' with a far longer battery life we might not have had to search for quite so long for nothing.
If the Malaysian Airlines cheapskates had opted to pay for the 'premium' Rolls Royce ACARS telemetry services, we'd probably have obtained a lot more data about what happened in a matter of days. By settling for the 'basic' service, they ensured we'd have nothing more to go on than the network connection pings.
 

EnolaGaia

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... Could I suggest we all give our current theories in a short conclusion statement? Then the possibilities could be collated for a poll. I'm interested to find out what the consensus is on the board. ...
I can't claim to have settled on a preferred theory, there are too many variables / unknowns, and some of the factors that keep bugging me require speculation to accept ...

Having said that ... Here, at least, are some of the loose ends that still bother me or which I seem to intuitively suspect need further consideration ...

* I'm having a difficult time with the pilot suicide scenario, because he(?) ended up doing a lot of flying just to cause a crash he could have performed a lot sooner. He wouldn't be the first suicidal pilot, but he would definitely be the most patient one by a huge margin.

* I can't stop wondering about what strikes me as a two-stage scenario being played out that night. The first stage (going silent at the exact time they were being handed off to Vietnamese ATC; the path neatly threading westward on just the right course to evade radars) insinuates deliberate control, and hence planning. The second stage (the final southward flight to fuel exhaustion and oblivion ... ) provides no evidence for 'being touched by human hands'. I can't shake the suspicion there were two causative events occurring in series rather than one that explains everything from start to finish.

* Another issue bugging me has to do with a factoid I don't seem to have posted here on FTMB. Back in late 2014 or 2015 I read (don't remember where ... ) that MH370 was hauling a sizable load of (lithium ion?) batteries, which were palletized and placed in the forward portion of the cargo / luggage hold. Long story short - this meant there was a large pile of potentially flammable and toxic-gas-generating items not far from the plane's avionics bay (in the forward end of the hold; more or less underneath the cockpit). I can't help suspecting toxic smoke is a better explanation for something disabling everyone aboard than simple depressurization. Furthermore, fire damage extending to the avionics bay (or just the wiring around it) might have disabled the plane's comms and controls to the point not even the pilot(s) could intervene. For more on this angle, see (e.g.):

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articl...-exploding-batteries-explain-the-mystery.html

To the extent I have any confidence at all on this matter, I'm most confident:

(a) The most far-out theories concerning the plane's route and eventual destination (e.g., hijacking to central Asia, etc.) have been ruled out.

(b) We will probably never be able to piece together everything that happened inside that aircraft that night - even if we recover the recorders and a substantial amount of data.

(c) Until / unless the flight recorders are found and substantial data recovered from them indicates other possibilities, the prevailing explanation will be the pilot suicide theory.

(d) There are multiple parties in Malaysia who don't want attention given to the possibility of a battery fire, and I suspect nobody's going to press on a hijacking theory until and unless additional data can be found to support it.
 

Anonymous-50446

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I think the pilot had a mental episode, or planned the whole event for reasons unknown. He depressurized the passenger cabin, flew it deliberately off course, ran out of fuel and put the whole thing into the drink somewhere south-west of Perth.
^this for my money^
 

XBergMann

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I can't claim to have settled on a preferred theory, there are too many variables / unknowns, and some of the factors that keep bugging me require speculation to accept ...

Having said that ... Here, at least, are some of the loose ends that still bother me or which I seem to intuitively suspect need further consideration ...

* I'm having a difficult time with the pilot suicide scenario, because he(?) ended up doing a lot of flying just to cause a crash he could have performed a lot sooner. He wouldn't be the first suicidal pilot, but he would definitely be the most patient one by a huge margin.

* I can't stop wondering about what strikes me as a two-stage scenario being played out that night. The first stage (going silent at the exact time they were being handed off to Vietnamese ATC; the path neatly threading westward on just the right course to evade radars) insinuates deliberate control, and hence planning. The second stage (the final southward flight to fuel exhaustion and oblivion ... ) provides no evidence for 'being touched by human hands'. I can't shake the suspicion there were two causative events occurring in series rather than one that explains everything from start to finish.

* Another issue bugging me has to do with a factoid I don't seem to have posted here on FTMB. Back in late 2014 or 2015 I read (don't remember where ... ) that MH370 was hauling a sizable load of (lithium ion?) batteries, which were palletized and placed in the forward portion of the cargo / luggage hold. Long story short - this meant there was a large pile of potentially flammable and toxic-gas-generating items not far from the plane's avionics bay (in the forward end of the hold; more or less underneath the cockpit). I can't help suspecting toxic smoke is a better explanation for something disabling everyone aboard than simple depressurization. Furthermore, fire damage extending to the avionics bay (or just the wiring around it) might have disabled the plane's comms and controls to the point not even the pilot(s) could intervene. For more on this angle, see (e.g.):

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articl...-exploding-batteries-explain-the-mystery.html

To the extent I have any confidence at all on this matter, I'm most confident:

(a) The most far-out theories concerning the plane's route and eventual destination (e.g., hijacking to central Asia, etc.) have been ruled out.

(b) We will probably never be able to piece together everything that happened inside that aircraft that night - even if we recover the recorders and a substantial amount of data.

(c) Until / unless the flight recorders are found and substantial data recovered from them indicates other possibilities, the prevailing explanation will be the pilot suicide theory.

(d) There are multiple parties in Malaysia who don't want attention given to the possibility of a battery fire, and I suspect nobody's going to press on a hijacking theory until and unless additional data can be found to support it.
Here is a mention of the Li batteries ...

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world...bile-phone-batteries-missing-Boeing-777-crash
 

Cochise

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* I can't stop wondering about what strikes me as a two-stage scenario being played out that night. The first stage (going silent at the exact time they were being handed off to Vietnamese ATC; the path neatly threading westward on just the right course to evade radars) insinuates deliberate control, and hence planning. The second stage (the final southward flight to fuel exhaustion and oblivion ... ) provides no evidence for 'being touched by human hands'. I can't shake the suspicion there were two causative events occurring in series rather than one that explains everything from start to finish.
I thought a de-pressurisation event might account for that? Why don't you think that likely? I'm thinking of the death of Payne Stewart and entourage. The oxygen system would have had to fail, I suppose.
 

rynner2

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MH370: Should Malaysia fund new MH370 search?
By Jonathan Head South East Asia correspondent

The announcement on 17 January that the search for MH370 was being suspended should have surprised no-one.
At the tripartite meeting last July of the three countries involved in the search, Malaysia, Australia and China, they agreed that it would not be continued beyond the current 120,000sq km area (46,332 sq miles) of the southern Indian Ocean, unless there was credible new information showing a specific location for the crashed airliner.
Nonetheless the families of the victims have condemned this requirement for a "precise location", calling it "at best an erroneous expectation, and at worst a clever formulation to bury the search".

They have pointed to a statement in December by the Australian Transport Safety Board, which is leading the search operation, that in view of the drift modelling carried out by the Australian scientific organisation CSIRO for debris from MH370 found along the East African coast, there was "strong evidence that the aircraft is most likely to be located to the north of the current indicative underwater search area".
And with no trace of the airliner found after an exhaustive two-and-a-half-year search, all the experts agree they have been looking in the wrong area.

The CSIRO drift models suggest the search should be shifted to a 25,000sq km area immediately north of the existing zone, along the arc that satellite data shows the plane must have travelled. It might require an additional $40-50m to extend the search operation into the new area, on top of the $160m already spent.
But the three governments appear unmoved, sticking rigidly to the formula they agreed last July, although the Australian and Malaysian governments insist cost is not a factor in their decision to stop searching.
However in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester made the point that any decision to resume the search was "primarily Malaysia's call".

That underlines a problem which has troubled the search operation from the start: who is really responsible?
Back in February 2015 Australia submitted a request to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which regulates international air travel, for clearer guidelines on which country should be responsible for both organising and funding an extended search operation.
Under existing guidelines Australia is responsible for initial search-and-rescue efforts in the vast areas of ocean off its western coast. But once it was clear there would be no survivors, it became a search-and-recovery operation, for which responsibility is not clear.

The ICAO designates to Malaysia, the flag state of the missing plane, the task of leading the accident investigation, but it is not clear whether that includes running the extended search.

This was important because by 2015 Australia had shouldered most of the financial burden, and people were beginning to complain. After all, the specialised ships and detection equipment used in the search had to be rented from a Dutch salvage company; any of the three countries could have covered this cost.

Only six of the MH370 passengers were Australians, whereas 153 came from China, which has so far contributed relatively little, around $16m, although the ICAO imposes no requirement on it do so. The Malaysian government now says it has contributed a total of $112m, but the official Australian figures suggest it has actually spent less than that.

So why does Malaysia not take the initiative to fund an extended search? The Malaysian Transport Ministry responded to this question with the formula from last July, that all three countries had agreed they first needed indications of a specific location for the crash site, despite that fact that such detailed information in a huge expanse of sea is extremely unlikely to be found.

Relatives of the passengers have also criticised the Malaysian authorities for being so slow to request recovered pieces of debris, eight of which are now believed to be almost certainly from the missing airliner.
That debris is important: it has not only helped ascertain a probable alternative location for the plane; it has also helped confirm how the aircraft ended its flight, with Australian investigators concluding that it plunged into the sea, and was not under the control of the pilot.

Malaysia has at times given the impression of being a reluctant lead investigator, happy for Australia to do most of the legwork.
Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas describes Malaysia's approach as "inexcusable and irresponsible. It is their plane, and their responsibility to find out what happened to it. They are walking away from their commitment to international aviation and the flying public".

The Malaysian Ministry of Transport says only that "all decisions with regards to the MH370 search have and will always be in the spirit of tripartite co-operation."
If it is primarily Malaysia's call to restart the search operation, it looks unlikely to make it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38676289
 

Ermintruder

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These are two completely-contradictory statements:

Current report 2017
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38676289
And with no trace of the airliner found after an exhaustive two-and-a-half-year search,
Earlier report, posted 20 Dec 2016
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-37843752
rynner2 said:
Wreckage analysis suggests Flight MH370 did not make a controlled descent into the Indian Ocean, says a new report.....Among more than 20 items of debris, investigators focused their attention on the recovered right outboard wing flap section.
"The purpose of the examination was to inform the end-of-flight scenarios being considered by the search team," the report said
.
Here is the paradox:

Precisely how are analyses carried-out upon items of wreckage from an aircraft of which there stated as being is "no trace"? Were the items found absolutely-confirmed as being from MH370 or not??

Some debris pieces confirmed to be from MH370 have been found along the African coast and islands in the Indian Oceanby private citizens in recent months
If a person is said to have gone missing "without a trace", is that statement factually-consistent with having found eg their clothes and bloodstains? Surely these sloppy news reporters actually mean "without having been found"?

Perhaps I've slipped into a dream-state here.

How do multiple 'traces' (debris/satellite tracks) finally-substantiate into being quoted as "without a trace"?
 

RaM

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Ok maybe it's me but it seem that more time and money has gone into
this than other disappearances, was there something or someone on that
plane that we don't know about? one suggestion was that a stolen drone
controller was in the hold, must admit I would be nice to know were and
why it happened.
 

EnolaGaia

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Ok maybe it's me but it seem that more time and money has gone into this than other disappearances, was there something or someone on that plane that we don't know about? ...
Very few aircraft lost at sea became immediate objects of expensive search efforts, so there are relatively few precedents for the response in this case. Air France 447 comes to mind, but that investigation was relatively 'easy' compared to this one, insofar as real-time comms / data had provided investigators a pretty specific approximate search area from the outset.

IMHO the most significant thing that may derive from locating the wreckage is reaching some sort of conclusion(s) (however tentative; however by-default) about what caused / contributed to the doomed flight's strange behavior and ultimate end that night.

I believe this - rather than anything about who or what was on the plane - is the issue that will decide whether the search is extended. Furthermore, it appears to me that any decision to pursue an extension has been delegated to Malaysia. As a result, I suspect the deciding factor becomes how enthusiastic Malaysia may be about locating the wreckage.

The Malaysian authorities haven't exactly displayed a lot of enthusiasm to date. The prospective risks from achieving consensus on cause(s) are highest for the Malaysian government, because:

- the missing plane was their flag carrier;

- the government (via a state fund / entity) was the majority shareholder in the airline at the time;

- the airline has since been re-nationalized (making the government the responsible party for any legal fallout);

- the most popular default theory (Malaysian pilot suicide) tends to place liability at their doorstep;

- proof of terrorist / hijacking involvement would direct attention to their security capabilities and competence;

- the battery cargo fire theory traces back to a major Malaysian industry;

- etc., etc. ...

My suspicion is that the Malaysian government worked hard to get China and Australia to agree on terms that set bounds on search continuation *and* left it to Malaysia to make the call on, and presumably foot the bill for, any justifiable extension.

I'm betting Malaysia stands pat on this agreement, respectfully discontinues further searching at this time, and crosses their fingers that nobody shows up with a precise location or area motivating new efforts (and costs, etc.).
 

Peripart

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yeah what is it with this "30 days"??

Surely in this day and age we could get it to last a little longer?
Regarding battery life in the black box. I don't wish to sound blunt, but 30 days more than enough time to find survivors of a ditching in the sea - by that time, you're just searching for a grave. Of course, it would be great to know what happened to the flight, particularly if lessons can be learned, but in terms of the cheapness of the black box, the budget version is presumably just the life-saving model, without all the bells and whistles.
 

Anonymous-50446

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Regarding battery life in the black box. I don't wish to sound blunt, but 30 days more than enough time to find survivors of a ditching in the sea - by that time, you're just searching for a grave. Of course, it would be great to know what happened to the flight, particularly if lessons can be learned, but in terms of the cheapness of the black box, the budget version is presumably just the life-saving model, without all the bells and whistles.
True, but there's no reason form a technical standpoint, the box couldn't have a 'survivors' mode for a number of days, and then revert to (say) a 'location' mode where it essentially wake itself every (say) 6 hours to emit one ping. Even with tiny 8 bit micros, the power used for this would probably be entirely consistent with the emitted power of the 'ping' with almost negligible amounts required for the electronics themselves. Flight Data could recorded onto non-volatile media, think 2 x 64gB Micro-SD cards, or frankly at the cost and size, why not make it four lots for redundancy.

Why can't you fit planes with a GPS and phone based system to send telemetry automatically every 5 seconds? I bet I can build one with an Arduino and a smart phone. It can be on the outside of the plane and not possible to disable from the inside? OK the whole world doesn't have 3G yet but you see my point.

While the ruggedness requirements of the black box system is essential and should be kept on, there are plenty of augmentations that could be made that use new and virtually disposable technology which would have got us a lot nearer to this plane in particular, a lot sooner.
 

rynner2

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MH370: New analysis reiterates plane's likely location

Fresh evidence suggests that Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is most likely located to the north of a main search zone, Australian scientists say.
MH370 disappeared while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board in 2014.
Australia, Malaysia and China called off their hunt for the jet in January.

Analysing drift modelling of a real Boeing 777 wing part for the first time, scientists backed a December report about MH370's likely location.
That location is an area of approximately 25,000 sq km (9,700 sq miles) lying north of the earlier search zone in the southern Indian Ocean.

"Testing an actual flaperon [wing part] has added an extra level of assurance to the findings from our earlier drift modelling work," said Dr David Griffin, from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Earlier modelling had used replicas of a flaperon recovered from Reunion Island, the report said.

"We've found that an actual flaperon goes about 20 degrees to the left, and faster than the replicas, as we thought it might," Dr Griffin said.
"The arrival of MH370's flaperon at La Reunion in July 2015 now makes perfect sense."

Last year, Australia's Transport Minister Darren Chester said the December report would not be grounds for a new search because it did not give a "specific location" for the aircraft.
Speaking on Friday, he reiterated that position but said the report had been sent to Malaysia for consideration.
"Malaysia is the lead investigator and any future requests in relation to searching for MH370 would be considered by Australia, at that time."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-39663395
 

EnolaGaia

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A newly-completed analysis has identified 3 areas for additional searching, but it's not clear the basis is solid enough to convince authorities to resume ...

SCIENTISTS POTENTIALLY NARROW MH370 SEARCH AREA TO 3 SPOTS

Scientists have potentially narrowed the search area for the missing Malaysian airliner to three specific locations in the southern Indian Ocean through new satellite and drift analysis of the 2014 crash released Wednesday.

But the Australian Transport Safety Bureau cautioned that the drift analysis by Australian science agency CSIRO is based on French satellite images of "probably man-made" floating objects without evidence that they were from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. ...
FULL STORY:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/storie...ME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-08-16-05-47-40

https://www.yahoo.com/news/scientists-potentially-narrow-mh370-search-area-3-spots-053608001.html
 

Kingsize Wombat

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It's just more "maybe, possibly, perhaps...".

And no one is willing to throw more money at the search.
 

skinny

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Myself and my compatriot taxpayers have had over 200mil of our tax dollars spent on the search so far. I'd like to see a result for the sake of the families, but not at more cost to Oz. We've done our share. The plane's not likely to be found. Ever. Let it go.
 

Kingsize Wombat

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Myself and my compatriot taxpayers have had over 200mil of our tax dollars spent on the search so far.
Hey, I'm an Australian tax payer too. The biggest upshot of finding the plane for me would be that they can find out what actually happened, a la Plane Crash Investigations.

But with the plane likely sitting on the bottom of a very deep ocean, that is unlikely to happen. I agree that there is little point now in spending more money on locating it.
 

RaM

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I would dearly like to know what happened but to me at least it seems that
they are spending more time and money to find this one than others I seem
to remember, is there some reason for this that we don't know about and
likely never will even if they find it or is it just that it's caught peoples attention
and they want to be seen to do the right thing?
 

Ermintruder

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The scale and mechanism for this search has been likened to someone cutting a sequence of lawns (each the size of Wales) with a mower hanging on the end of a half-mile bungee cord, whilst reversing a Ford van at 10 miles an hour in the rain.
 

EnolaGaia

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... is there some reason for this that we don't know about and
likely never will even if they find it ... ?
The one thing that's complicating the MH370 case compared to most others is that no one's sure what the airliner did during its final hours in the air. It was 'way off course, pursuing an entirely unexpected course, and operating without contacts for hours. If it weren't for the indirect clues from the automated reporting system connection attempts, we'd have no evidence at all.
 

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The Mirror has a feature on a theory that the plane was a victim of 'remote skyjacking' via autopilot.


Flight MH370 didn’t just "disappear"

Historian suggests mystery was first case of remote skyjacking and 'was diverted to prevent delivery of secret cargo to China'
...
...the technology on board, designed to stop a repeat of the 9/11 terror attack by allowing it to be controlled on land, could mean the disappearance of MH370 may be due to the first recorded case of a remote skyjacking.

The plane was equipped with Boeing Honeywell Un-interruptible Autopilot, designed to be installed in planes since 9/11, so that they could be remotely controlled to ensure authorities could regain control in the event of an on-board hijacking.

However the existence of this technology makes its abuse and therefore a remote hijacking by a mysterious foe a very real possibility.
 

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I still think de-pressurisation or a failure of the oxygen system is much more likely.
 
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Kingsize Wombat

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My "favourite theory" is something else - and before I elaborate, please note that I have spent a lot of years in the air cargo industry.

I (and a lot of people in this industry, as well as the aviation crowd) suspect Ion Lithium batteries. The plane was carrying a lot of them, and these things have a nasty habit of going up in flames. And - not coincidentally - the carriage of these batteries has since been banned from all passenger flights. As cargo. But planes still carry them, in people's mobile phones and laptops etc.

Of course you have experts saying this and that, but barring intent from one of the pilots, it is the only explanation that makes sense to me.

http://www.news.com.au/travel/trave...r/news-story/bc832d89069a9ae3c04302a3b3060eef

https://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Documents/lithium-battery-guidance-document-2017-en.pdf
 

Kingsize Wombat

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That's my preferred theory as well. I brought up that angle ages ago on this thread, but there wasn't much response.
It's just not as funky as the other theories, is it?

Plus it would make people think twice before firing up their mobiles and laptops on planes.

Here's a link that shows the cargo manifest:
http://www.mot.gov.my/my/Laporan MH 370/MH370 - Cargo Manifest and Airway Bill.pdf

Now, one of them openly declares Lithium Ion Batteries. A couple of these just state "Consolidation" - and we'd need to see the Consolidation manifests of those to know what exactly was in there. And then you'd need to know if the cargo was properly declared.

But there's no chance of verifying the contents without the wreckage.
 
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Anonymous-50446

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Ah - I don't know what you mean? You are allowed to use them once the plane has taken off.
When the nice air hostess at the front is explaining it's time to turn anything off which has a battery and an on/off switch and you think you know better, that can happen. As it happens it did on a flight that was on the tarmac at Philadelphia pre-take-off. The next time she made an announcement the chap next to me (not the previous offender) said very quietly "Yes Ma'am".
 
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