Most fliers know it is not a good idea to open the emergency exit door because they have to go to the bathroom.
But as Bloomberg News recently pointed out in a story about flying in the developing world, not all passengers are familiar with in-flight etiquette. The Bloomberg story started with an anecdote about a man flying VietJet from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
Nguyen Thanh Chuong, a farmer from a village on the outskirts of Hanoi, activated the Airbus A321’s evacuation slide, causing a three-hour delay and costing the airline tens of thousands of dollars. He’s not alone. The sudden creation of a middle class and the rise of discount carriers is causing headaches for flight crews and ground staff across Asia as the world’s fastest-growing region for aviation welcomes 100 million new fliers every year.
It is amazing how often this happens. In December, there was a man in China who opened the exit on the ground because he wanted fresh air. In March, there was the man in China who mistakenly opened the exit because "I thought it was just like the handrail on the bus, which I can hold on to by myself if I find myself sitting unsteadily.”
There was also my favorite story in January. That's when 25 passengers on a China Eastern flight were questioned after passengers opened three emergency exits during a lengthy delay. "After requesting that they be allowed off the plane for health reasons, some passengers "opened three emergency doors in an attempt to stop the flight" and forced the plane to return to the terminal, a passenger was cited saying," a news report said.
What's the problem? Here's one expert, as quoted by Bloomberg:
“People are now more mobile than they have been in the history of mankind,” said Graham Hunt, head of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Asia in Singapore. “The fact that you have people who have never before seen an airplane getting on airplanes is a real challenge.”
I am sure these first-time fliers will figure out flying very soon. But for now, these are interesting stories.
Have you been on a flight where something unusual happened?