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What's the Deal with Passengers Grabbing Luggage During Emergency Evacuations?

March 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM | by | ()

"One is an example. Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend."

Something has been troubling us lately. Recent footage and images of emergency aircraft evacuations show passengers consciously disobeying flight crew commands to leave their luggage onboard. Fools are grabbing carry-ons and shopping bags, hopping down the emergency slides with them, and running for their lives.

Granted, emergency landings and evacuations are an extremely rare occurrence and it's likely you'll never have to experience one. Still, should you find yourself queuing up to shimmy out an emergency exit, please remember to put the well-being of fellow passengers before that of your duty-free impulse buys.

Take, for instance, the tragic incidence of the Asiana 214 crash landing at SFO last year. Video footage of the evacuation (as the plane burns!) has passengers running with armloads of bags. Several bags are clearly from duty-free shops. To say this is embarrassing is a gross understatement, especially considering three passengers lost their lives.

This was happening even before Asiana 214. Remember that iPhone video of a Delta emergency evacuation? The filming begins inside the aircraft, and note that nearly every overhead bin is open. Passengers fleeing the plane are wearing backpacks and carrying duffels. Luckily no one was hurt and the evac was only a precaution.

Most recently comes the case of the US Airways A320 sliding off the runway at Philadelphia International Airport last week after a failed takeoff and nose landing gear collapse. Not only did the passengers snap selfies, but some decided it'd be a good idea to flee the plane with their luggage.

The fact of the matter is, retrieving luggage takes time which could otherwise be used to get everyone out faster, you know, like before an explosion or something. There's also the danger of the hardware on bags damaging the inflatable evacuation slides. Say the person in front of you wears a backpack down the slide, and a keychain tears a hole. Talk about a nightmare situation.

Pay attention to the pre-departure emergency briefing, give the emergency card a good glance and, when in doubt, remember the golden rule to treat others as you'd like to be treated. Emergency evacuation? Get the heck out as fast and orderly as possible, and allow the people behind you to have that same opportunity.

[Photo: Passenger Dennis Fee/Facebook]

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