Friday, on a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Sacramento, California a 4-6 foot section of flight 812's fuselage ripped open, causing a rapid depressurization of the aircraft and forcing flight 812 to land at a military base in Yuma, Arizona.
Now for many folks this would be enough, but today, more of Southwest Airlines' Boeing 737-300s have been grounded and found to be experiencing a similar issue with structural integrity. Certainly, Boeing's craftsmanship should be in question in this situation, however, I believe that more than anything Southwest needs to take the lion's share of the blame for having planes in the sky that are flying with standardized integrity tests (D-check).
It is truly scary to me that mechanics or other flight crews would be so busy with a standardized checklist to go over, that when inspecting an aircraft, they wouldn't consider examining all stress points, including the skin of the aircraft which does typically expand and contract throughout the course of a flight due to air pressure changes within the cabin of the aircraft and in this situation is where the weakness that lead to this accident and subsequent groundings occurred.
I guess bottom line is, we all end up getting what we pay for.. Cheap flights=cheap planes=cheap pay=standardized testing that leads to people who aren't even interested in thinking outside the box, let alone how seriously they are likely taking the tests that they are administering?!
*Images used with special thanks to AP and epicfail.com