Passenger Mistakes Emergency Exit for Bathroom, Delays Flight for 8 Hours
A passenger severely delayed a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Manchester, England, last week after mistaking the emergency exit door for a bathroom.
The plane was on the runway at Manchester International Airport, bound for Islamabad, when “a passenger erroneously opened the emergency exit causing the emergency chute to activate,” an airline spokesperson told Gulf News. The flight was delayed for seven hours.
All passengers and their luggage had to be offloaded from the plane, according to standard safety procedure.
During an investigation following the incident, the passenger told police that she thought the emergency exit was the entrance to the bathroom. The doors were armed which meant that as soon as the woman opened the door, the emergency exit slide inflated.
The plane was supposed to take off at 9:20 p.m. on the evening of June 7, but it was unable to take off until approximately 5 a.m. the following morning. The plane took off the following morning with 38 fewer passengers, all of whom volunteered to go on a later flight. The reduced passenger load was because the aircraft has reduced evacuation capacity without one emergency slide.
Several other flights at Manchester Airport were also delayed due to the incident, according to The Evening Standard.
Each time an emergency slide is inflated, it costs an airline thousands of dollars. It can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $30,000 to repack and repair an emergency slide once it’s been activated.
Luckily, it is physically impossible for an emergency exit to be opened while a flight is in the air. That doesn’t mean that people don’t try. In April, an EasyJet passenger attempted to open the emergency exit in the middle of his flight from London to Pisa. It did not end well.