When CNN’s Airport Network debuted in 1992, it carried a lot of CNN programming, with additional travel segments, business reports, and weather forecasts included, geared towards the captive audience of people waiting at the gates. But there was one category of stories that the Airport Network never carried — plane crashes. Whether it was a commercial jet going down or a private prop-plane that ran into trouble, the Airport Network gatekeepers decided these were the sorts of incidents people waiting to board a plane just didn’t want to see.

They were probably right.

That’s why I was surprised two weeks ago, while waiting to change planes at the Southwest terminal at BWI, to see the Airport Network carrying the story of 103 people dying when Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashed and disintegrated while attempting to land in Tripoli, Libya. It was a regular CNN story, the kind that used to be purposely edited out of the Airport Network feed.

I’m curious, so if you know the answers to any of these questions, please e-mail me via the link on the right side of this page:

  • Has the Airport Network changed its policy in this regard?
  • Has Time Warner made so many staff cutbacks that there’s no one exercising that editorial judgment for the niche network anymore?
  • If you’re a frequent flier, have you seen similar stories on the Airport Network?
  • Is it possible that the airports have decided to dump the Airport Network entirely and simply carry the regular CNN feed instead?