I accept the rarity of such events, but still, does this event counter or negate the negative feedback aimed at How can passengers help in the cockpit in an aviational emergency? I'd also be interested to understand the subsequent acclaim, Can a passenger realistically replace suddenly incapacitated pilots?, which seems a similar question.
There was another opportunity for the crew to identify their mistake: passengers, who sensed the error.
35.08, Actor who portrayed Captain Hunt, pilot: [CAVEAT: I don't know if this announcement matched the real one, but I would guess so since the Cockpit Voice Recorder was found.]
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem with the right engine. We've shut it down and ...
35:17, Passenger Nigel Baldwin:
There's a problem with the left-hand side. Can you not see that? And you're [the captain] saying it's the right-hand side. ...[Unintelligible; I can't discern what Nigel Baldwin is vocalising here]... Don't interfere. They know what they're doing.
36:20: Guy Hirst, Aviation Consultant [the identity of whom is recorded on screen at 4:13]:
I think for the traveling public, if you see something odd, on the wings or whatever when you're sitting as a passenger, mention it to somebody and that passenger will now get to the pilot.