Lots of travelers know the pre-flight safety demonstration pretty much by heart, but we all hope to never have to actually use that information in real life.
Securing the overhead oxygen mask, using a seat cushion as a flotation device, or deploying the emergency slide are thankfully things most travelers have not had to experience.
So one thing you might not know is how incredibly designed and easy it is to use an airplane's inflatable slide actually is.
Demonstrations of the slide posted to YouTube and Reddit show what it’s like to deploy the inflatable plane slide in an emergency. By a simple pull of a lever, the slide is activated and instantly inflated in order to evacuate hundreds of people in a matter of minutes — which is pretty mind-blowing if you think about it.
However, deploying a slide isn’t a small task. The cost of repacking or possibly repairing an emergency slide could be between $6,000 and $30,000, according to a Business Insider report.
And while the volunteers in the demonstration videos look cheerful — probably because they’re going down a slide — having to use the device in an emergency isn’t a happy situation. On Medium, writer Susannah Fox detailed her experience after her flight’s engine blew out and the plane’s emergency slide had to be deployed.
“A line from the safety demonstration popped into my head like a snippet of an old song: 'the closest exit may be behind you.' That was true in my case, but there was a bottleneck. People were refusing to go down the slide,” Fox wrote.
“A bunch of us moved quickly down the aisle. Without hesitating I jumped out the door and onto the slide. Whoosh! Down I went. It was fast and, I have to admit, pretty fun. The slide is made of a somewhat slick material and you definitely pick up speed as you go.”
Fox described how some passengers managed to take items with them, such as backpacks or purses — though that is very much the wrong thing to do. One person even grabbed a salad they weren't finished eating, Fox wrote, which unsurprisingly ended up all over the slide. So, take note: Don’t bring food on the slide. In fact, don't bring anything or you are putting yourself and others at risk. Also, take off your shoes and keep them with you.
Here's to hoping the only slide you ever get to use is in a playground, not an airplane.