Such is the ability to track almost every flight on the planet these days that when an aircraft "squawks" an emergency maybe hundreds, probably thousands of people tune in to watch.
Commercial aircraft monitoring service FlightRadar24 triggered exactly this earlier today when a Thomson Airways flight from Cardiff in the UK to Egypt's beach resort of Sharm el Sheikh ran into trouble shortly after take-off.
A cabin pressure warning light came on shortly after take-off, although no actual loss of pressure was discovered or cabin masks deployed.
But as the Boeing 737-800 squawked what is known as a 7700 (general emergency), FlightRadar24 immediately tweeted the problem, sending its followers to a minute-by-minute view of what was going on via the tracking service it has embedded on a Google Map.
The first screengrab shows the aircraft as it made its way eastbound, south of London (note the dozens of other flights in the area during a busy period in the morning - around 9am - for both Heathrow and Gatwick airports).
As the flight headed towards the English Channel, crew and air traffic controllers would have been working out the best course of action - in this case, circling close to the port town Dover to presumably dump fuel ahead of an emergency landing.
The aircraft then started heading back towards London, at this point either for Gatwick or Heathrow (both airports having east-to-west landing patterns earlier today).
Roughly 10-15 miles east of Gatwick, flight TOM532 makes a turn to the west and heads straight into Gatwick.
Aviation buffs - and casual observers tuning in - would have seen the aircraft's altitude the entire time via the information module on FlightRadar24, adding yet another tense element to the proceedings.
The aircraft, with 188 people on-board, landed safely and passengers eventually boarded another aircraft to take them to Egypt, says a Thomson official.
While it is interesting to see that technology is allowing monitoring of such real-time events, there is another element worth pointing out, too.
FlightRadar24 also links to a service known as FlightDiary, meaning that at any time, observers of the incident could have seen (if they and other passengers had an account) who might be on the flight.