No Open Seats Causes Family to Miss Doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight

Not enough seats aboard the Boeing 777-200 aircraft — which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 17 — saved the lives of Barry and Izzy Sim and their young baby. Photograph courtesy of BBC News. Click on the image to access the official Internet web site of BBC News, which includes an article and a video of the family expressing their thoughts.

Sometimes missing your flight can be a good thing.
Just ask Barry and Izzy Sim, whose lives were saved as they were originally supposed to be on the Boeing 777-2H6ER aircraft which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 17 yesterday — only to have been told that there were not enough seats aboard the airplane for them and their young baby; so they switched to a later flight operated by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Despite their good fortune, the couple felt a “sick feeling” upon learning of the news that the airplane on which they were originally supposed to be passengers had been shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine not far from the border with Russia. None of the 298 people aboard the aircraft survived the incident — and it has been confirmed today that at least one American citizen is amongst the dead.
“Wow talk about fate”, posted FlyerTalk member flyerdude88. “This also confirms the earlier reports that the plane was completely full.”
According to an article posted at, the family were not the only fortunate ones. One woman from Adelaide who flew as a passenger back into the city claimed that she twice came close to being a passenger aboard the aircraft on the fatal flight.
A couple — also from Adelaide — had a lucky escape by deciding to leave a day earlier from Amsterdam, according to the Australian Associated Press as reported by BBC News.
Unfortunately, the fates of the family and the people from Adelaide were the opposite of this eerie message — meant to be a joke — which Cor Pan supposedly posted on Facebook only minutes before he boarded the ill-fated aircraft: “If it should disappear, this is what it looks like.”
According to an article posted at the official Internet web site of BBC News, Albert and Maree Rizk were among the victims of the demise of Malaysia Airlines flight 17; but “their deaths come as an extraordinary and almost unbelievable tragedy for their family”: Irene and George Burrows lost their son Rodney and his wife Mary when they were passengers aboard the Boeing 777-200 aircraft which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 370 last March. “Maree Rizk is the daughter of Irene’s son-in-law from his first marriage, so is Irene and George’s step grand-daughter.”
The remains of that aircraft — which disappeared somewhere over the Gulf of Thailand en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early in the morning on Saturday, March 8, 2014 — still have not been found.
I still do not know of any FlyerTalk members who were directly affected by the demise of Malaysia Airlines flight 17; but if I learn of any FlyerTalk members who have stories to tell, I intend to post them here at The Gate. FlyerTalk members are currently discussing this incident here; and I have been keeping a record of the media statements released at the official Internet web site of Malaysia Airlines as a record for the future.
The origin of what exactly caused this incident is still not definitively known. In the meantime, many airlines are ensuring the flight paths of their fleets of aircraft avoid the airspace over Ukraine until further notice.
If you have a story to tell related to the demise of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, please let me know. Thank you in advance…
…but in the meantime, my thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues who lost their loved ones in this senseless tragedy. It is a jarring reminder which puts life into perspective — especially for people like Barry and Izzy Sim, who will have an amazing story to tell their young baby when the child is old enough to understand what happened…

5 thoughts on “No Open Seats Causes Family to Miss Doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight”

  1. Minos says:

    Dunno why you specifically mention that “at least one American citizen is amongst the dead.” Why should he/she be singled out? Why should we care?
    Are American citizens lives worth so much more than the ones of any others that it warrants a special treatment? 298 persons have been shot and this is all that matters.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Normally, I would not single out that person, Minos — but earlier reports suggested that as many as 23 American citizens were amongst the passengers of the aircraft; and the confirmation of that one American came just as I was finishing writing this article.
      The other reason is that — although I attempt to ensure that The Gate is written with a worldwide audience in mind — a significant number of readers are American citizens who would have an interest in an updated specific piece of information such as that.
      Otherwise, I would not have singled out that piece of information. Although I myself am American, I can assure you that I do not believe that American citizens are any more important than the citizens of other countries around the world.
      The latest breakdown of the people by nationality aboard that aircraft is posted here.

  2. cova says:

    With at least one American involved, that means USA has justification to be involved in the probe of the incident. Without any American’s on board – what role would the US have?

  3. Open Jaw says:

    The US would always have a role in this investigation because the aircraft involved was built by Boeing.

  4. Orion says:

    Did they volunteer to give up their seats in exchange for compensation? If there weren’t enough seats, it sounds like an overbooking became an oversold situation at time of departure.

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