On Friday, October 28th 2016, American flight #383 (Boeing 767) departing Chicago O’Hare international Airport had aborted take-off, as an “uncontained” failure was reported in the right engine; according to the ongoing investigation. Passengers saw a large ball of flame erupt on the right side as they were headed down the runway. It wasn’t until the plane came to an abrupt stop that passengers realized that this was an emergency situation, and smoke began pouring about the cabin. From all of the reports I’ve read, the crew stepped up and did their job, however…as I watched video, all I could think about was the chaos among passengers. Some of those passengers spoke about the others, the ones in the aisles screaming among each other (or shall I say ‘at’ each other) in order to grab personal bags in the overhead bins. “Really people…Did you not follow along while the announcements were being made?” The flight crew ‘always’ tells you to look in the back of your seat pocket located in front of you (as it describes the aircraft you are flying on), and to be aware of your nearest exit in the event of an emergency landing. During this particular emergency (#383), people scrambled to get off, but first wanted their bags from the overhead bins…”I think NOT!” You jeopardize the lives of those trying to get off, because that should be first and foremost, not reaching for bags. Secondly, you have those who are trying to reach for their phones; not for the right reasons…or… not to call loved ones, but in order to share their video of the fire! Do you find something wrong with this picture? I sure do, and I find it to be disgraceful. Passengers like this are not needed on any type of aircraft, as they are not thinking of anyone but themselves and in fact are putting others in harms’ way; Shame on you.
The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) reviews evacuation procedures on commercial airplanes, as their growing concerns for incidents continue. Flight crews are trained for all types of emergencies and procedures, but it makes their job ten times harder when the passengers fail to pay attention. Under life-threatening situations aboard an aircraft, the NTSB found passengers competing to evacuate.
If you intend to fly anytime soon, please pay attention to the preflight safety briefing, as well as the emergency exits and know that you will be leaving ‘all’ personal items behind in the event of an evacuation. Also, know that if you choose to sit in an exit row, you will be helping others evacuate ‘before’ yourself. This is not just a seat for additional legroom. I must add, seconds…yes seconds can be a matter of lives saved in an emergency situation. Most people are aware of the cushions being a flotation device, but do you really know which part of the cushion is designed to come off? Thought I’d ask, and hopefully those that fly actually know the answer.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the expression “Shit Happens”…well, it does; every day in the transportation world, accidents happen, whether it’s by automobile, train, ships and aircraft…weather and human error are part of life. The important thing here is safety for everyone, and it begins with better judgement. But if you’re a selfless person, I and many others ‘Thank you.’ Unfortunately there will always be those who are only out for themselves, just like on board flight 383, this last Friday. For what it’s worth, pay attention to each and every aircraft you fly, because they are ‘not’ alike, and the more crowded the flight, the more likely for chaos in the event of an emergency evacuation. My advice here, (and yes I have airline experience), is always be vigilant, but kind…and be a ‘willing’ participant. Human kindness goes a long way…not to mention, most likely will save more lives.
Make your week count.