|A screenshot of Chinese Central Television’s report|
Highlights from this year included ‘announcements’ about WestJet allowing passengers to travel with pets in the cabin, Southwest Airlines introducing hot air balloons into their fleet, and Delta equipping their aircraft with double-decker armrests so passengers don’t bump elbows!
While those are great examples, the airline that really captured the world’s attention (and received a heap of media coverage in return) was Virgin Atlantic.
“Virgin Atlantic Launches World’s First-Ever Glass-Bottomed Plane” screamed a headline on the airline’s blog. We were supposed to believe that after nearly 30 years of long-haul flying, Virgin Atlantic was launching the world’s first glass-bottomed plane, created to “ensure passengers can enjoy both an unparalleled flying experience, as well as a selection of stunning landscapes from the comfort of their seats.”
|Virgin Atlantic's so-called glass-bottomed plane|
I love the creativity here, although most people would have guessed straight away that this was a joke, right? However, not everybody was in on the joke. In fact, wasting no time at all, Chinese Central Television’s news channel aired a report on the breakthrough development.
An embarrassing mistake for the broadcaster, the clip has since been pulled from its website (after The Associated Press let them know, it seems). However, screenshots of the unfortunate report on CCTV’s World Express programme have been attracting a huge number of views on Sina Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging website, one of which I have included on this page.
"Maybe to spice up its programming for ratings, CCTV sometimes fails to check the source of the information," Beijing journalism professor Zhan Jiang told The Telegraph. After this incident, I guess they might be more inclined to fact check next time!