Have you ever done something embarrassing at the airport before? Something so bad that you wanted to crawl under a rock and hide? Maybe you forgot your passport, ID, boarding pass, or which terminal to go to. These are all slightly embarrassing things to do and can definitely make your stomach tie into a knot. However, these things pale in comparison to a passenger opening the emergency exit during takeoff.
Passenger Opens Emergency Exit
In 2019, an unnamed Xiamen Airlines passenger decided that the cabin was getting a little too stuffy. As the plane was about ready to take off toward the end of the boarding process, the woman was getting hot. Traveling from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to the city of Lanzhou, the unnamed woman had a bright idea. Rather than paging the flight attendant for a cup of water or something to cool her down, this passenger decided to open the emergency exit to the plane for a ‘breath of fresh air’. (1)
Despite the flight attendants telling her multiple times to refrain from opening the emergency exit, the woman doesn’t listen. In addition, because the woman had opened the emergency exit, the plane was forced to wait another hour before taking off. A viral video shows the woman opening the emergency exit as other passengers are very confused by her actions. During the time, bystanders called the police. As a result, the woman was arrested at the airport for the act. The unnamed passenger is to be fined for disturbing the public as reported by the South China Morning Post. The airline did not comment further on the matter. (1)
Some may think that arresting the unnamed passenger might be a harsh punishment. However, there is a reason as to why airports have such strict rules and regulations. The bigger reason is so that passengers and flight workers can remain safe during transit. If you’ve ever flown before then you might already know of the safety drills. Flight attendants conduct these safety drills so that all passengers are aware of what to do in an emergency. Paying special attention to the passenger who sits right by the emergency exit.
For this woman, however, her comfortability was more important than everyone else’s. If this woman had opened the emergency exit during their flight, she would’ve been ejected into the sky immediately. The fine is a small price for her to pay, but at least flight MF 8215 was able to get to it’s destination safely. However, this isn’t the first time an airline has had this problem.
There have been reports of other passengers opening the emergency exit during their flight. In 2015, a passenger on a Hainan Airlines flight to Mongolia tried opening the emergency exit. This time the plane was about ready to land at its destination but had to turn around due to the incident. (2)
Another, more recent case, involving the well-known holidaymaker, Chloe Haines, shows her trying to open the emergency exit. Two flight attendants tried to restrain the woman from opening the emergency exit as she was clearly belligerent. Additionally, attacking the two attendants saying “I want to die, I’ll kill you all,” before she was finally restrained. Haines claimed it was due to mixing alcohol with her medication that made her blackout. However, she pleaded guilty and accepted the charges pressed against her. (3)
Being Prepared On The Plane
This is why it is important that passengers listen carefully to the safety protocols of their planes. The flight attendants are there to make sure that everyone is safe and has their needs met. Especially if you’re feeling a little ‘too hot’ they will happily provide you with a cup of water and ice.
These scenario’s are very unpredictable and can happen at any given moment. There’s really no other way to plan for something like this until it actually happens. Two of the best things that any person could do is try to remain calm and listen very carefully to instructions. If you plan on taking medication during your flight, be sure not to mix with any alcohol. In addition, please drink responsibly when you travel by airplane. The flight attendants are certainly there to make you comfortable but would rather not restrain you from opening the emergency exit.
- ‘Plane passenger opens emergency exit for ‘a breath of fresh air’ Fox 13 News. Published September 27, 2019
- ‘Physics Explains Why You Can’t Open a Plane Door in the Air’ Wired Will Bedingfield. December 6, 2019
- ‘Chloe Haines jailed for trying to open Stansted plane door mid-flight’ BBC Published February 12, 2020