Social network's CEO documents flight nightmare live

David Martin, the CEO of visual update site Kontain, was on the 14-hour nightmare Virgin America flight from LA to NY. He documented the worst parts live using the airline's Wi-Fi.

Flying is increasingly becoming pleasant only for proctologists.

However, one CEO, David Martin, perhaps now considers himself fortunate to have been on Saturday's flying Alcatraz that was the Virgin America flight from LA to New York.

This flight seems to have consisted of a diversion away from JFK due to high winds. It then involved a landing at Stewart International Airport, which does not seem to be an international airport owned by Rod Stewart but some little outpost 90 miles northwest of New York.

Passengers were then kept on the plane for somewhere between four and a half and six hours (depends whom you believe) and given very little to eat or drink, before JetBlue offered buses to get them to their destination, some 14 hours after departure. Yes, JetBlue.

Martin really wanted to give people a sense of how his nerves were being frayed. Fortunately, Virgin America, an entertaining and fine airline, has free Wi-Fi.

Martin's Kontain updates Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

So Martin, in between attempting to keep his hair attached to his scalp, offered some live updates of this claustrophobic hell. Ah, perhaps I didn't mention it, but Martin is the CEO of visual update social network Kontain.

What a lovely ad it made for his network, then, to be able to use the airline's fine Wi-Fi system to send evidence of the ordeal to his Kontain account.

According to Martin and CBSNews.com, things began to get out of control when repeated hopes to depart Stewart International were thwarted.

Passengers became increasingly thirsty and hungry. Then a member of the flight crew seems to have elevated the entertainment, by reportedly responding to one of the passengers: "You are really getting on my freaking nerves! You need to shut the hell up!"

Some might feel she offered restraint with the use of "freaking." Others might suggest that there is something of a disconnect in Virgin America's mental and operational procedures. It all seems to have escalated to passengers not being allowed into the terminal and police being called to the scene of the grime.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

All the while, Martin showcased his skills with Kontain visual updates. He subsequently posted a film (embedded here) to YouTube. Which led to Virgin frantically tweeting him (what? Virgin America doesn't have a Kontain account?) in order to make contact and, one imagines, amends.

Technology's presence in and around the flying tubes has sometimes brought new dimensions to one of the world's most mortifying experiences. Five years ago, JetBlue passengers were able to watch their own plane attempt an emergency landing at LAX on those nice little live TV screens that JetBlue so helpfully pioneered.

Then there was Kim Kardashian. She, too, availed herself of modern in-flight technology recently to tell the world via Twitter that Jim, seated next to her, was an air marshal.

One can barely wait to see what this customer service sinking souffle does for Virgin America's business, as well as for Martin's.

What is sure is that, thanks to this debacle, Martin has certainly entered a new level of fame. While he may have been bemoaning his fate on the flight, his Kontain feed clearly shows that he had the time and positive wherewithal to take a shot with an important fellow passenger: Carrie Ann Inaba.

She is best known in the tech world for going through her own claustrophobic hell. Yes, she was the lone judge trying to be nice to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on "Dancing with the Stars."

 

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