Thai Airways staff covered the logo of one of their planes with black paint following a crash landing that injured 14 people, in a bid to protect the airline's reputation.
The Airbus A330-300 that departed from Guangzhou, China suffered a landing-gear failure upon landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport, causing the jet to skid off the runway late on Sunday.
Thai Airways staff were quick to get a jump-start on damage control and by morning had spray painted over the aircraft's logos and registration number.
But, in a classic example of the "Streisand effect", the cover-up attempt quickly proved ineffective and led to even more attention. Onlookers at Bangkok's main airport were quick to snap up photos of the poorly disguised airliner and spread them through social media.
The Streisand effect refers to an internet phenomenon where an attempt to remove or censor a piece of information comes back to bite the censoring party in the ass by causing the information to be far more widely publicized than it would've otherwise been. It takes its name from singing legend Barbra Streisand's ill-fated attempts to suppress the publication of photos of her Malibu home.
Surprisingly enough, though, the mishap appears to be a common industry practice. Alitalia covered one of their planes entirely in white paint, after it got into a similar accident this past February.
"Historically, some airlines have had a policy of masking the airline logo following an accident rather than have the beleaguered aircraft advertise their corporate misfortune so graphically. However, in the modern era of social media and instantaneous sharing of images, this obviously is of limited effectiveness," Andrew Herdman, director general of Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, told the Wall Street Journal.
And as just Herdman suggests, it seems like airline executives are beginning to wise up and might have learned a thing or two from the Thai Airways blunder.
"It is now not considered best practice in the airline community to do this," said industry expert John Bailey, according to the Wall Street Journal report.
The plane was carrying 288 passengers and 14 crew members. At least 14 passengers are believed to have been injured and were sent to hospitals.
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