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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

a plane seat diagram with red yellow and green seats

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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