Today, we at AirlineReporter share two different opinions on passenger evacuations of an airliner during an emergency. In recent incidents, we have seen passengers taking their bags and people reacting. This story shares the opinion that it is not that big of a deal to take your bag and is written by an anonymous writer (that has been verified), who is a frequent flier, no stranger to the airline business, and is a writer. Be sure to read the opposite opinion and share your thoughts in the comments.
First off, I agree that probably it is best to leave your bag on a crashed/burning airliner. However, the attention that I have seen given to passengers who end up taking their bags with them during an emergency sickens me.
These people just went through a major incident, where many likely felt that they were going to die. Could you imagine going through something like that and then instead of having people asking you if you are okay, they harass you? I wouldn’t want that either. It now seems to be the popular thing to do.
If some of you will take the time to get off your high horse and read this, maybe you won’t be so quick to judge. I argue that people shouldn’t automatically be ostracized for grabbing their bag in the middle of a potentially deadly evacuation.
With the increased use of social media, images of airline-related incidents and accidents make their way around the world quickly. Just as quickly, people seem to make conclusions, without always thinking things through. A person does something (often stupid, but not evil), someone on social media decides to shame them, others find that to be a good idea and all of a sudden, we have a nice little social-justice-mob that ebbs and flows their hatred.
Can I use the word "jackass" to describe a person who doesn't leave their luggage behind during an evacuation? Or is that rude? #amwriting
— Heather Poole (@Heather_Poole) September 13, 2015
Although I partly write this argument tongue-in-cheek, I understand the reality that a passenger’s decision to take the time to haul out their bags in an emergency could be deadly. Do not get me wrong, I am NOT suggesting that passengers all grab their bags and slowly make their way out of the plane. Nor am I saying that a bag is worth more than a person’s life — that’s ridiculous. What I am trying to argue is that the person you see with a panicked look on their face, a wrecked plane in the background and a bag in hand, might not be evil and probably doesn’t deserve all the negative attention that they seem to keep getting.
Let’s get to some of my thoughts on why people might be bringing their bags:
It’s chaos: I will admit that I have not been in a real airline evacuation, but I have been in other panic-ridden situations where I wasn’t sure if I would make it out alive. The shit’s crazy. You can sit at your keyboard and think (or “know”) how you might react, but until you are thrown into it, you do not know what you will do. Sure, commands can be yelled, the safety video could have clearly given me instructions, but just check out the video above to see how all that can easily be lost in the confusion (and that wasn’t even real). Remember – when people are in crisis mode, they react irrationally at times.
Muscle memory: One of the reasons why this incident ended up with a happy ending is due to the training of the flight crew. They are continually trained so that if something like this happens, they just react and do what is needed to make sure the passengers are safe.
I fly a lot — dozens of flights per year. Guess what I do each and every flight? I grab my stuff and get off the plane. I am actually trained to do so, not only by the flight crew, but also by other impatient passengers – quickly gather my belongings and deplane. When a passenger is put into a panic situation, they are going to react to their “training,” of quickly gathering their stuff and get off the plane.
— Steve Jones (@kilfrew) September 9, 2015
Death from leaving a bag behind: I am not going into details here, but I have important medication near me at all times. If I do not have it, when I need it, I can very easily die. Carrying it on me does not work and I am not going to take the time to dig it out of my carry-on. Who knows where I am going or what will happen to me when I get off that plane. If I am injured and end up in the hospital, or it was a terrorist action and I am questioned for hours, I can’t be without my medication. I am getting off a plane and my bag is going with me. Period.
Cabin crew trained to forcefully yell scripted commands, usually including words like "leave everything." Pax are consciously disobeying.
— Cynthia Drescher (@JetSetCD) September 9, 2015
Language barrier: This might shock some of you, but the entire world doesn’t speak English. The airline is not able to go through 20 different languages during an evacuation, nor can they do so during the safety demonstration. Don’t assume that a person even knows that they are not supposed to be taking their bag with them.
Safety blanket: Going through an experience like that isn’t easy. Maybe the need to grab your stuff might not be as much muscle memory, but looking for a security blanket. Not literally, but having to navigate through a smoky cabin, having people screaming, jumping off a slide, and possibly dying isn’t fun. I might grab something like my bag, my head pillow, laptop, just to have something of mine to feel safer. Something between me and the dangers. The best thing to do? No. The human thing to do? Sometimes.
— Ed Morris (@ribzlike) September 9, 2015
Take the gamble: Typically in my carry-on, there is quite a few things of value (remember, they always tell you to not check your valuables) and not just things worth money. If I lost my phone, my laptop, my iPad, and any paperwork that I might be carrying, sure that is a few thousands of dollars worth of stuff, but it would be a huge set back for my business.
Some clients would understand either my delay or backing out of a deal due to a plane fire, but I can tell you that others would not. Now, my few thousand dollars worth of items being lost, could turn into a much bigger expense– not to mention the countless hours that I spent on stuff. Is any of this worth my life or that of another person? No. But, I feel I could evaluate the situation and take the gamble of taking the time to grab my small case and still make it out safe. And this relates to my next point.
Enough space & time: If a passenger is flying in a Boeing 747-400, back in economy, with 98% load factor, getting their stuff out of the overhead bin is not a good idea. If they are up in business class, with a load factor of 25%, maybe it is not as bad of an idea. They have the time and the space to get their stuff safely out and get off the plane. Yes, the rules say passengers shouldn’t, but there are lots of rules out there that we might choose to follow or not follow based on our own “street smart judgements.” Have any of you sped or rolled through a stop sign? Sure, when it is safe to do so, even though people will say “doing that will kill,” but statistically, it rarely does.
@British_Airways how the hell are people getting off that flight carrying hand luggage? They should be arrested.
— Clem Fandango (@TH1882FC) September 9, 2015
Assholes: You are going to get the people who just do not care about anything or anyone but themselves. They know they aren’t supposed to bring their stuff, but they don’t care. I am not a fan of these people. Even still, how about waiting a day or two after they just had a bad experience before harassing them. Harassing them on Twitter (or even in court) won’t mean anything to them — they won’t change. And in reality, by harassing them, you might be the one coming off looking like the asshole.
STOP EVACUATING BURNING AIRCRAFT WITH YOUR FUCKING LUGGAGE https://t.co/cAm91xbPta
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) September 9, 2015
As with anything that could possibly go wrong in the airline business, many people are looking to regulate a solution. Locking the overhead bins in an emergency? Really? Who would do that? What if it malfunctions for a “normal” flight. Wouldn’t it just slow passengers down, because that muscle memory is still going to be there and they will be trying to get into the bins and confused on why they don’t open, delaying things even more?
More education? Sure, that is a great thing to just throw around, but how? By shaming them more on the internet? I don’t think there really could be much more education other than having a more positive conversation about all this.
I swear if I see you evacuating with that Toblerone I will take it from you and beat you with it. https://t.co/xrdzeDikDJ
— John Walton (@thatjohn) September 9, 2015
Do I have a better solution? Not really — sorry. Am I hypocritical, yelling at people for being stupid because they are yelling at people for being stupid? I wouldn’t totally disagree with that. However, what I would really like to do here is start a dialog.
You can either take the time and pick apart things I maybe said wrong and tell me that I am a selfish OR you could think critically of some of the things that I said (and review the other story) and come up with some ideas.
— Chris Manno ✈️ (@Chris_Manno) September 9, 2015
Although I am anonymously sharing my thoughts, I will be watching, replying, and hopefully we can have a conversation. Typically I am not afraid of being public with my opinions, but after seeing how much more serious the negative tone has gotten on this topic, AirlineReporter felt it was best this way.
I felt like a few incidents ago, this topic was more open for debate, but now I feel like trying to just think about this in another way leads to people being targeted.
What do you think? Read the other opinion and then share your feelings in the comments!