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Way back in September 2015, I wrote something where I declared: Sorry, I’m TAKING my bag in an airplane emergency. This topic first came up after a British Airways jet caught fire at Las Vegas McCarran airport. My theory at the time was that my laptop bag was kept right under my seat, and it would take virtually no time for me to grab that, put it on, and quickly evacuate the plane.
I agree with those who say that you should not be taking large roller suitcases during an airplane evacuation, and you shouldn’t be stopping to open up the overhead bins. I summed my opinion up by saying: If you can wear it, you can take it.
This led to some…. strong opinions in the comments, most of them negative. There actually were some people who made some good points that I had not thought about, as well as some rants and flames. I wanted to take a minute to revisit some of those airplane evacuation comments
Flames about taking my bags in an airplane evacuation
Let’s start with the reasoned debates…. oh just kidding we know everyone just wants to read the flames! As always, these are real comments on the previous post.
Sorry – it’s just that this irks me. At a time when the focus should be on survival, there are selfish people who think their actions will not affect others. Ridic [sic]. I hope, for the sake of OTHERS traveling with you, you never have to evacuate.
I hope one day someone insisting on taking their backpack causes real injuries or death. Then there would be actual enforcement of rules. I hope everybody like you will be prosecuted for the endangerment of others.
Anyone taking their bags off a plane in a emergency belong in prison for reckless endangerment
If I’m sitting next to you during an evacuation and you go for your bag under your seat I will smack you upside the head. Hard. You have fair warning
Sorry for this harsh comment, but you should be banned from commercial aircraft for life as you pose a significant risk to flight safety and willingly endanger the life of other passengers and your own
“Rules don’t apply to me, because I know better” And as you said…. encouraging others or at least suggesting others do what they want in a safety scenario….. Idiot.
Show some intelligence and some altruism and STOP being so SELFISH!
Reasonable comments about taking my bags in an airplane evacuation
Then there were some folks that made some reasonable arguments, including ones that I hadn’t thought about
I believe one of the reasons is that luggage might increase the chances of the slides ripping and being rendered unusable. That’s why they ask women to remove stilettos should they be wearing them
Ever see some one get a backpack strap caught on the arm rest while boarding? Imagine 3, 4, 5 people getting straps caught during the evacuation panic, slowing the evacuation. You only have 90 seconds to get out. Put your absolute must haves, phone, passport, wallet, in your pocket before take off and leave the bags behind. My family will thank you when I can get out.
A few other reasons why taking the backpack is a bad idea: it would make it harder to stop/drop/roll if your clothing or hair caught fire; it is likely made out of fabric that would melt into your skin in a fire; it is likely much more flammable than your clothing.
Okay… okay… you got me
So, for probably the first time ever on the Internet, people’s comments and discussions on an Internet post have actually contributed to someone changing their mind!!!! 🙂
It was also after the 2019 Moscow crash, where 41 people died, quite possibly / likely died due to people stopping to get out luggage from the overhead bins, where I decided to change my mind. I was reminded of this secnario once again by this Facebook post
Remember everything can be replaced and you are NOT the only one on the plane.
So, after thinking through the situation and armed with additional information from some of the more reasonable commenters, I decided to change my mindset and (potential) behavior during an airplane evacuation. I had definitely already understood that people are more important than possessions, and that all “stuff” can be replaced, including my laptop. I think what I was most worried about was some of the things on my computer that would be difficult to replace, like pictures and other documents. But that just speaks more to my own poor backup strategy, so before we went to Europe, I backed all that stuff up, and made the decision that, in an emergency, I would leave my laptop and other bags and just go!
Cell phones, wallet and passports in my pockets, and I am ready if I ever have to participate in an airplane evacuation!
What about you? What are your plans if you need to evacuate the airplane?
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#1, I have NO problem with you or any other passenger taking anything that they are certain does not slow them down. If we are talking about a 5 lb. laptop in a case with a shoulder strap, I have no complaint if you take it, as long as you remember the caveat that you may need to drop it to navigate the slide. It’s less bulky than a baby, and NO one would leave a baby behind.
#2, do you want to know why polls show Americans feel America is on the wrong track, well, that flame you reprinted pretty much sums up what is wrong inside the heads of some Americans these days. —> “I hope one day someone insisting on taking their backpack causes real injuries or death. Then there would be actual enforcement of rules.”
IOW, I am so preoccupied with running other people’s lives that I hope people die so I can get my way. That is real human vomit writing that comment. Sad.
Or do what I do…I put my wallet in my pocket, passport & global entry card in a zippered, side pocket, along with my phone. That’s basically all I need if I have to evacuate. As for laptop – backup all the time. If someone stops to grab a bag on an evacuation – you can bet I’ll be pushing them down the aisle and out the door !
I thought the same thing upon reading that inflammatory post.
What on earth does this comment have to do with the consent of the governed?
I consider it more of a personal survival issue. If everything I need in case of an evacuation isn’t already on my self, I’m already failed at the first step in self-preservation. This is on assumption that everything you leave behind is replaceable and open to compensation from the airline and travel insurance.
But this is already a corollary to the first rule of airline bags. You only pack items you could afford to be without for a few days (or possibly never again) in the bags you check. Other times are for carry-on. And even with carry-ons, the overhead is for a bag you can leave behind in an emergency.
The other habit for self-preservation is that you only want one universal routine. If it’s going to be a water evacuation with life jackets with no rafts in the middle of the Pacific, you want to be prepared the same way as you’d be evacuating on a pre-takeoff runway.
I think we have learned a valuable lesson here. The rules in case of an evacuation are to keep everyone safe.
We have also been reminded that faceless people on the internet feel civility is no longer an important trait in human discourse. This is sad and so unnecessary. What this world needs is more kindness and less hateful rhetoric.
And please, PLEASE, people, use some thought when you dress for flight. Synthetic fabrics quickly melt against the skin and can cause terrible burns when you would have been fine had you worn natural fibers. Some of the worse injuries for female survivors has been burns from melted pantyhose. Also, as one of my FAA friends once quipped, “Do you know what you call people who wear flip flops on airplanes? Victims.”
Bear in mind that if you feel justified in grabbing your laptop others will feel it is only fair to grab their portable refrigerator or small car from the overhead bin .
Estimates are that you have 90 seconds to get out of the plane to avoid death by fire or toxic smoke . I have read other accounts that the time is even shorter . 3 seconds for each of 300 passengers : you’re out of time ! Absolutely everything you pack or carry or wear is replaceable . A headache probably but , replaceable .
I have no doubt you would throw away everything you own to save one of your family . Keep that foremost in mind .
Well, now people have died (41) because of self-centred Moscovites (Russians) grabbing all sorts of hand-luggage while their plane burned. They are so entrenched in their own reality they even complained that the airline staff were rude and that they had not yet received a refund for their failed flight before they had even left the airport carrying their big bags and knowing full well so many behind them died. Jail time for manslaughter would be appropriate in this case.
I am horrified every time I fly on an Eastern-European flight because people are getting up and grabbing luggage before we have even touched the ground–all while flight attendants scream at them in vain. Eastern-Europeans also over-pack with their carry-on luggage. It is a bloody chicken-bus. If one of my flights to/from Romania ever has a crash landing, I will be punching people in the throat and dragging them off the plane/walking over their bodies the moment they reach for the overhead bins.
Thanks for generalizing not only a whole country but a whole region of the world 🙂
I’ve flown in and out of romania, as well as a whole host of other nations, and haven’t identified any significant differences. If anything, in Romania nobody gets up or reaches for the overhead because they’re too busy clapping after the plane touches down.
Makes no sense. We live in a capitalist society. Very man for themselves. The weak and old should try to be strong and young. If you take care of yourself everyone else does too things will just work out. This is the beauty of your system.
So yeah take your bags without worrying about others.
*If you take care of yourself and everyone else does too, things will just work out. This is the beauty of our system.
Completely true. If everyone focused on taking care of themselves financially, health wise and lifestyle wise and made sure they took care of their spouses and children, there would be no problems. People wouldn’t be having children before they can afford to take care of them and before they can give them good lives. People wouldn’t be focusing their attention on other issues and people when they themselves need to get healthy and get their lifestyle in order. If people focused on theirselves they would not burden anyone else and hold society back. I live life knowing I take care of myself and family, am dependent on myself and family and unprovoked no one has to worry about me; they can worry about themselves.
I used to share the same opinion. Meaning if it was literally in my hands, I was grabbing it on the way out (I’ve done that for hotels where the fire alarm is going off). But…after thinking about this a bit more, I too have revised my opinion. The bag stays even if it’s under my seat.
The whole aeroflot issue is probably moot as most of the people were already unconscious or dead before the plane came to a stop. A survivor seated in row 10, one of the last rows to have survivors said reports of people getting their carryons from the bins were untrue.
People need to be reasonable and understand that a person with a pocketbook or small handbag literally inches in front of their seat is not going to delay evacuation or cause any risk. If you have your passport, important documents and thousands of dollars it is foolish to just leave it to burn to appease extremists.
This video shows people walking away from the wreckage with rather large backpacks and rollaboards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yqhyg-t2iU
I wish you’d reconsider and in the case of an emergency never take your bag. It’s just not worth risking anyone’s life for material things. You are widely res pected and many traveler’s follow you. Photos are not more important than people.
Professional military aviator turned business traveler here. Leave your stuff. Just leave it. The risks to yourself and others (the backpack straps a great example) just too great if lives potentially at stake.
Emergencies requiring rapid evacuation are rare. But if needed it’s for a REASON.
THANK YOU for reconsidering. Your life, and others, COULD depend on it!