‘American Airlines To Phase Out Complimentary Cabin Pressurization’, Landing Gear is Just Satire

February 25, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

An article from The Onion–the preeminent satire news organization in the U.S.–says that American Airlines won’t “offer free cabin pressurization to passengers starting March 15” and will discontinue “complimentary landing gear on flights under four hours,” but people apparently believed it.

The Onion is satire, and it has been publishing fake news since 1988.

“Unfortunately, to stay competitive as a legacy carrier in today’s air travel market, it no longer makes economic sense for us to provide breathable air at altitude,” reads a fake quote from American Airlines CEO Doug Parker in the Onion article, which adds that “air pressurization would still be available to first- and business-class travelers as well as those willing to pay an additional fee.”

The Onion has a disclaimer on its website saying it’s satire.

“The Onion is a satirical weekly publication published 52 times a year on Thursdays,” it reads, adding that it “uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.”

The American Airlines article appears to be poking fun at cost-cutting measures enacted recently by airliners.

If there was no cabin pressurization–used to create a comfortable and safe environment for passengers–in planes, the people on board, including the pilots and crew, would experience a variety of physiological problems such as altitude sickness, hypoxia, as well as barotrauma when the plane descends. It would be nearly impossible to operate a plane safely if no pressurization existed, especially above certain altitudes.

But on social media websites, some users apparently believed the story.

“What.. No complimentary landing gear either.. that’s lame,” one person said on The Onion’s Facebook page.

Added another, “Are they [expletive] kidding me?”

Another wrote, “Ridiculous!! Now in order to saved you have to sit in first class? Now I’m amazed at how cheap the airline industry has become!”

However, another asked: “How do people still not know the onion is satire?”

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