Oceanic Airlines

By Deane Barker on June 13, 2005

I’m pretty addicted to the TV show “Lost.” The first season has wrapped up and left some amazing cliffhangers. I finally got all the episodes watched (thanks BitLord), and I started looking around to see what was on the Web to hold me over until fall.

It turns out that the creators of “Lost” are unbelievably abusive to their fan base. They’ve created a site which just takes advantage of the fact that the fans of “Lost” are obssessive to the extreme. As one of this site’s victims, I can attest that unleashing it was a stunning act of cruelty.

In the show, Oceanic Airlines, Flight 815 goes down en route from Sydney to Los Angeles (let me also say that I’m the creator of the Oceanic Airlines page on Wikipedia, which is thriving right now). One day, www.oceanic-air.com popped onto the Net, which is, ostensibly, their corporate site.

The site was never publicized by ABC. Some viewers with a Tivo apparently found it by freeze-framing a scene in the airport containing a poster for Oceanic Airlines. ABC just stuck that poster in the show knowing that someone would stumble on it eventually.

Fake Web sites like this aren’t new, but this one includes a Flash-based “seating chart” on which you can mouse over the seats. Someone figured out that you can make different seats light up by clicking other seats in a certain order and at a certain frequency. Every once in a while, you get an Easter Egg in the form of some supporting documentation about a character — their passport, dairy, or something else.

And off to the races the fans went. See this thread at the online forums for most of the sequences. Some guy finally decompiled the Flash and extracted the pictures, but apparently not all the sequences. Then someone figured out that if you clicked the seat row numbers in a certain order (these numbers and their order are central to the show itself), you got a full-blown promo for Season Two.

“Lost” is taking the fake site concept further than most, as there’s more than one. There’s a site for the band DriveSHAFT, which is supposedly the one-hit wonder band for which character Charlie Pace was the bassist. The site is so perfectly done — just amateur enough to seem real — that it almost fooled me into thinking it was real…until I found this “news article” about the crash of Flight 815 which refers to characters in the show.

So the discovery of this second site leaves me wondering, are there others? Are the creators of this show (J.J. Abrams — the same crack dealer who gave us “Alias”) creating a full-blown backdrop on the Web? Is stuff going on these sites that’s crucial for understanding the episodes on TV? Is any of it canonical?

I hate that I’ve become one of the obssessed.

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Comments

  1. Wow! Just found your site and WHO KNEW all this stuff existed about Lost? I’ll be checking out your Oceanic page and thanks, in advance, for all your hard work. I’m linking this post on my blog…..yes, I’ve become one of the LOST obsessives, but I’d never shell out close to $200 to attend a fanfest in Burbank. Sheesh.

  2. OK, I’m on the site right now and underneath the typed message from “Oceanic” that reads “We regret to annouce” there is typed this message…”I survived a horrific plane crash and am stranded on an island somewhere Northeast of Australia and Southwest of Hawaii. In the event that I am never found, please forward word of my fate to my parents” I had to hightlight it to fully see it. Anyone else see this? What is that all about! I’m official ADDICTED!!

  3. There’s actually two of them. They’re in the HTML source, all the way at the bottom. The one you found was in a DIV with an ID of “robert.” The other one is in a DIV with an ID of “sally” and says:

    If anyone should find this message, please get word I’m alive and stranded on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. Please send help soon. Things are bad. And they’re getting worse…

    They’re set to appear if you mouseover certain text in the “We regret to inform…” message.

  4. If you click on the edge of the “regret” message you can swipe it away and see a page of the script with hand-written notes about not revealing a plot piece too soon……….a scene involving some type of tentacled monster .

  5. If you go to the top menu and click on “Island Insider”, you go to a page which says you can get email from the writers. Click on the text itself that says this and it will take you to a mini quiz. Not sure if they actually email you but its worth a try.

    Also, if you go to “Track Flight”, then go to “Track” on option 1 and read the info for flight 572…it says “Giveus the boy”, from the season finale.

  6. Just some others I have come across while reading various Lost sites:

    One the seating schedule, if you click on the row numbers at the bottom in the order of Hurley’s lottery numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 you get……you will have to check this out to find out!! But I will say its one not to be missed!!!

    Make sure 4-8-15-16-23-42 are written in the “travellers” section at the bottom of the main page. Then, click on “find” at the bottom. This will bring you to the seating chart. There is now a new button that wasn’t there before (“pre-board check-in”). Click on it. You will see “Ethan Rom” spelled and then empty boxes. Drag the letters in the boxes to write other man. Enjoy the clip!

    Hidden pictures: Go to the main page of Oceanic Airlines. Right click and select all. Then copy and paste in to Word. You’ll find hidden pictures. It seems that if you do it a few times, you get different pictures… It seems the three images (Walt’s letter, drawings, Claire’s ticket) are circling and appear on the main page at different times.

    On the main page, check the top banner. You can now see the raft and black smoke. There is also a tree that seems to be thrown (just like when the “thing” moves around).

    On the “Track Flight” page, say “ok” to track flight 815. Then check what’s written for flight 572…

  7. Am I becoming so Lost obsessed that I’m seeing things? Or does anyone else see a creature staring at you in the sky to the right of the smoke column in the photo banner on the home page of the oceanic air website? Also, I am sure people must be coming across the new promos related to the rear of the plane by now. What a fun thing this is!

  8. I’m surprised no-one on a geek site has remarked that…

    1) You can look at the hidden images on the oceanic-air front page by using the page info feature in Firefox, and

    2) There’s a punchcard in the middle of the hidden picture showing Michael’s drawings. Unfortunately, much of it is obscured, so there’s little chance of decyphering any information on it.

  9. Anyone noticed in the seating plan that when Jack’s seat turns green and you click on it the screen “shakes” then the Oceanic 777 beside the model of the aircraft changes to Oceanic 815 then the web address http://flight815.com briefly appears. I cannot get into this website but it does exist.

  10. As someone said earlier, if you click on any seat in rows 4 8 15 16 23 42 in the seating plan the characters seats are highlighted. When you click on the marshalls seat and you see his id card move quickly if you print screen at the right time you see him in red sitting dead in his suit.

    Another thing to try is page source each page and see what it says.

  11. What is the deal with the bottle that is shown on the screen. I can’t remember what I pushed on, maybe it was Kate’s seat, but this bottle with Russian (maybe) on it flashing all around the screen…?

  12. It certainly appears to be from the show. It was up the day after last week’s episode. Also, check out the Terms link on the bottom. It goes to a page on Disney’s site.

  13. That one is cute! You click on the logo and it runs a Quicktime movie of the Orientation film that Jack & Locke watched.

    You know, the title screen of that film says “Orientation. 3 of 6” or something like that. I guess it’s only a matter of time before they track down the other films.

  14. Went on the oceanic airlines site… punched in the numbers in order… double clicked on Shannon’s name – A map appears on the right side… you can click and drag it and view the entire thing.

  15. I watched Executive Decision again and saw that the plane was Oceanic (I’m also a big fan of Lost). So I wondered if there was such an airline. So I Googled Oceanic then WOW! At first I thought it was real.

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