Toronto collision: passengers insist on taking carryons

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casanovawa

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Half these arguments revolve around is every situation the same...

Does a bump on the tail have everyone in the same mad panic/fight or flight reaction to the plane careering off the runway with flames licking the windows and so need the righteous indignation... Yes in bad situations they obviously shouldn't hang around to grab bags and most likely wouldn't except for an absolute tiny minority and I imagine plenty of other passengers in that situation seeing someone faffing around over their bag would well and truly kick them out of the way in the mad panic to get to the doors... In other more regulation cases i could be up and have my bag grabbed before most people had their brain out of neutral...

I MAY tend to grab my camera and phone/wallet etc and usually have like a little tablet with me and if time permitted i might grab the memory cards out of them as the rest of it can easily be replaced...

But Casa i hear people say, how do you know that a bit of a bump on the tail isn't going to turn into the Tenerife disaster as you don't have any expertise to base that on... Well i do have a bit of common sense and some level of judgement to not get worked up into thinking that every minor incident is going to turn into total disaster......
 
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Skyring

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It is commonplace for a few items of safety equipment to be stored in overhead lockers. Usually those closest to the crew positions. Exempt those bins from any auto-lock system.

The big danger is the delay caused by pax in an emergency retrieving their baggage, with a secondary consideration being the obstructions caused by these bags, especially if abandoned. If you only have a few seconds to get out, then tiny details become important. jb747's example of the Airtours 737 crash is instructive. The plane developed a fire in one engine during takeoff, pulled off the runway, evacuation ordered, and from the time the plane stopped until there was smoke and fire in the cabin was less than a minute. Both of the rear exits were unusable, and congestion at the sole usable - and partially obstructed - overwing exit prevented passengers from using it efficiently.

Think about it. You've got only a narrow corridor to safety and less than a minute to make it. Any delay or obstruction is going to block your progress, and once toxic smoke enters the cabin, your first breath will render you incapable of further progress, even if you are doing nothing more than waiting patiently for your turn. Most of the 53 deaths were caused by smoke inhalation. Passengers collapsed, blocking the egress of those further back, who were trapped and succumbed in their turn.

The death toll would have been higher if not for the actions of the cabin crew, who were able to clear a jam in the front of the cabin. Passengers had tried to push their way along the single aisle and wedged others ahead of them into a solid mass.

The crucial overwing exit had no crew in attendance and was thus entirely in the control of the passengers. It took 45 seconds to open the hatch, and there was smoke in the cabin in less than a minute. 100 passengers had to pass through this exit in ten seconds. Unsurprisingly, most didn't make it.

This wasn't a crash. This was an airliner which aborted take-off, steered to a safe place, and evacuation ordered when the plane had stopped. Firefighters were on the scene almost immediately. But still, 53 people died.

So yeah. I'm all in favour of locking the overhead bins. The passengers should be focussed on one thing only: getting out of the cabin alive.

Modern safety standards being what they are, there's probably a bigger chance of a device catching fire in an overhead locker than of a crash or similar incident. This should be no big deal. Press the button to unlock them. If by some remote chance the fire has caused the lock to fail shut, there is a master key stored beside the fire extinguisher. It's called a crash axe.
 

MEL_Traveller

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The issue is that passengers need to get off the aircraft as quickly as possible. There are a dozen factors that will aid or hinder that. Some of those are down to design (cabin layout, fire-retardant furnishings, the physical ability for passengers to be able to hear, see, and respond to the emergency situation). Some are down to operational procedures and training. Others are behavioural and are more difficult to analyse and control. The latter affects crew and passengers.

The Airtours incident is an example of many things, but I don't recall there being a finding that the retrieval of cabin baggage was an issue. It goes more towards cabin layout, the provision of some sort of breathing device (recommended in the accident report), and perhaps to support cassanovawa's suggestion that passengers will respond differently depending on how they perceive the severity of the situation.

The entire end-to-end chain needs to be examined. Only focusing on the end of the chain (passenger behaviour) is not necessarily the answer. The evacuation will be faster and safer without bags, but the passengers may have more time to evacuate if an order is given in a more timely manner. Ideally you want both, but one may be easier to control through the setting of procedures and training.

Instinctively I am against the locking of something which could result in a greater harm than the problem it is trying to solve. For example a battery fire. Or giving access to infant life-jackets or water cots. If a passenger has somehow got it in to their head that they are going to retrieve their bag, a locked bin could potentially delay the evacuation more than one that is unlocked and allows them to take it. On balance, the factors for locking bins doesn't seem to outweigh the factors against.
 

Sprucegoose

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Not everyone reacts with an emergency in a text book manner. It's unlikely the desire to retrieve bags is conscious action on behalf of passengers to slow the evacuation. The answer is to design safety with the assumption some people, for whatever reason, will try and retrieve their possessions.

Locking of luggage bins has a number of potential problems. People may spend more time trying to open the locked bin than they would retrieving the bag. A manual locking system may be problematic in terms of crew time (and presumably able to be manually unlocked by pax). An electronic system could hamper access to overhead bins for a phone fire in-flight if the system malfunctioned.

I suspect there might be some correlation between the percentage of passengers taking bags and the intensity of the emergency. It would be interesting to see the statistics. There were a number of aircraft and cabin design issues with the 737 at the time of the Airtours incident. My initial re-reading of the accident report doesn't seem to talk about cabin baggage?

What we still don't have are smoke hoods.

Never been in an evacuation from an aircraft but IMHO it would be the effectiveness of the crew in managing the scenario to prevent an uncontrolled cabin and the cultures you are dealing with. The Emirates flight from India that hurriedly deplaned in DXB, as filmed, is a good example of how this could have been improved.

 

MEL_Traveller

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Never been in an evacuation from an aircraft but IMHO it would be the effectiveness of the crew in managing the scenario to prevent an uncontrolled cabin and the cultures you are dealing with. The Emirates flight from India that hurriedly deplaned in DXB, as filmed, is a good example of how this could have been improved.

In an ideal world yes. But there would seem to be a whole range of variables, and perhaps a very small window for the crew to establish or maintain control? There's shock, panic, the 'fight-or-flight' response, all of which are difficult to control. And those more than likely affect the flight deck crew as well.

You can't really crash a plane (Asiana at SFO) and then tell passengers to sit calmly and wait for further instructions even though fire has broken out. You can't really land a plane with the wing engulfed in fire (SQ at Changi) and then expect passengers to wait calmly while you take your time figuring out what to do. Passengers don't want to feel helpless and have their chances of escape hindered by apparent inaction. Whether or not those were the right decisions is a different matter, it's how the passengers perceive the danger and react to that that's important (to the ability to maintain control).

There are plenty of examples where there has been a disconnect between the flight deck - closed off from the rest of the plane, and unable to see what's happening in the rest of the plane - and the passenger cabin. If the flight deck crew don't act, passengers will start to take it in to their own hands and the cabin crew potentially lose whatever control they might have had. Carefully worded accident reports often side-step the issue and don't provide concrete directions for the future.

There are options worth exploring... take away evacuation control from the flight deck and give it to the cabin crew. Ensure operating procedures make it clear that if there is any doubt, the first action is to get people off the plane rather than ask them to sit calmly (appreciate the risks of an evacuation, but what do you do? Accept a few minor injuries and the potential for a couple of broken bones compared to 400 passengers off safely?)

Lots of different theories that could be tested, but accidents are so rare that building up comprehensive and reliable data to compare different scenarios - in real life conditions - is never going to happen.
 

docjames

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Never been in an evacuation from an aircraft but IMHO it would be the effectiveness of the crew in managing the scenario to prevent an uncontrolled cabin and the cultures you are dealing with. The Emirates flight from India that hurriedly deplaned in DXB, as filmed, is a good example of how this could have been improved.


Not withstanding the fact the personally i'd be assessing my evacuation options rather than videoing, that's certainly an enlightening video, and in my mind shows why "locking" of the overhead bins is required.
 
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docjames

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I'm not sure the two situations are the same.

Also, it would be (presumably) announced that luggage bins are locked and not accessible until seat belt sign off (for example).
 

Strategic Aviation

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Put That Bag Down: Flyers Ignoring Safety Pleas to Grab Luggage - Bloomberg

At a meeting Tuesday on the Chicago fire and its chaotic evacuation, the NTSB concluded that U.S. regulators’ actions to “mitigate this potential safety hazard have not been effective.” Nearly two decades after an NTSB study identified passengers carrying bags as the biggest impediment during emergency evacuations, the safety board called on the Federal Aviation Administration to identify better ways to prevent the problem.

Several airlines and labor unions representing flight crews also are calling for actions to stem the practice. American believes the issue “warrants additional industry attention, given the risks that non-compliant passengers pose to themselves and others by slowing the evacuation and, potentially, puncturing and deflating critical escape slides,” the company said in a submission to the NTSB. Some airlines, including carriers from outside the U.S., already have begun discussing the problem, Delta Air Lines Inc. said.

A safety study the NTSB compiled in 2000 found that 36 flight attendants interviewed after evacuations reported that passengers carrying bags were the biggest impediment. Almost half of passengers involved in evacuations who had carry-on bags, 208 out of 419 interviewed, admitted to trying to take items with them, the study said.

The union, the largest representing flight attendants in the world, is calling for an industrywide effort with airlines, the labor force, airports and the FAA to seek solutions, she said. The AFA supports more consistent enforcement of size and weight of carry-on bags, limiting the number of bags allowed on board and increased passenger education, she said.

Rather than relying on the uncertainty of trying to change human behavior, airlines and regulators should look at a technical solution, Richard Healing, a former NTSB member who now leads Air Safety Engineering LLC, said.

“The FAA should consider a requirement that during an emergency evacuation, overhead bins be locked as the first step in the process, instantly locked so people can’t jump up and get their stuff,” Healing said. He acknowledged the industry would likely oppose the costs of such technology.
 

BAM1748

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Emergency exits and plane design need a re think as well as smaller overhead space to reduce the size of wheelie bags coming on planes!

I always try for a seat close to an exit so I'm at the front of the line if it's needed.
 

jb747

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I’ve always liked the idea of individual ejection seats, controlled from the coughpit. Won’t need toilets, ‘cos you can’t get out of them in flight. Loading might take a bit longer, but no potential issues with slides. Play up...boom.

Same sort of system for the luggage. Each bag is loaded to bin related to the seat number. Fail to board, and bags would be gone in a jiffy. Need to get rid of a bit of weight....jettison the lot.
 

jb747

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There are options worth exploring... take away evacuation control from the flight deck and give it to the cabin crew. Ensure operating procedures make it clear that if there is any doubt, the first action is to get people off the plane rather than ask them to sit calmly (appreciate the risks of an evacuation, but what do you do? Accept a few minor injuries and the potential for a couple of broken bones compared to 400 passengers off safely?)

There is already a protocol in place to allow cabin crew to make the call in some circumstances. The problem is that you might have up to 20 cabin crew, and you’re now allowing the decision to be made by any one of them. Decisions are now made by one person, who generally has a pretty good idea of what is happening. New aircraft have cameras, so you will normally know what is happening outside. The cabin crew have no idea if the engines are still running, and as they’ve recently shown, will evacuate into engines that are still running. Also, just because there’s fire outside, it doesn’t mean that the aircraft won’t be moved. If the smoke/fire is blowing on to the fuselage, it will almost certainly be worth trying to turn it.

Basically, if it devolves to the cabin crew as a matter of course, then you’ll actually end up with many more evacuations than you have now...most of which will not be necessary.

The issue though, is not anything to do with who controls the evacuation. The problem is the carriage, and then likely abandonment of unnecessary luggage. Ensuring that the luggage cannot be obtained solves the problem for the most part. Banning of most cabin luggage would be totally effective. A ban on wheelie bags would mean that the problem luggage would most likely be checked.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Agree. And this highlights the balancing act. Ten people with sprained ankles and maybe a broken bone here and there versus ten people dead because the pilot is in shock or doesn’t have sufficient information to properly order an evacuation.

And if a pilot has caused the crash, should they still then get to decide the fate of the passengers? Of course it’s an impossible question as the cause will never be known that quickly, but it feels inherently wrong. This is perhaps a more relevant issue as less experienced pilots take to the air.
 

jb747

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Agree. And this highlights the balancing act. Ten people with sprained ankles and maybe a broken bone here and there versus ten people dead because the pilot is in shock or doesn’t have sufficient information to properly order an evacuation.

The risk, in large aircraft especially, actually goes to quite major injuries. Broken bones, hips, etc are pretty serious in older people...are they not (Doctor input required!).

And if a pilot has caused the crash, should they still then get to decide the fate of the passengers? Of course it’s an impossible question as the cause will never be known that quickly, but it feels inherently wrong. This is perhaps a more relevant issue as less experienced pilots take to the air.

Yes, but you're proposing giving the decision to an even more inexperienced person. Cabin crew could have as little as a few weeks exposure to aircraft, and, in my experience, are much more twitchy with regard the machinery around them.

Whilst the pilots may have caused the accident, whilst they are still able, they should remain in control. There's a well established chain of command if they aren't able to so function.
 

BAM1748

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If the crash, fire, calamity was that bad and we're sitting on the ground I'd be checking for the fire outside my nearest exit and departing.

I witnessed 6 people killed in a rail accident as they stood there waiting to find out what was happening next, that information never arrived.

Who is say what's still working or if the coughpit is still attached to the plane, if you're not hearing either pilots or crew............even then they can't see what's happening out your window.
 

turnip666

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.....and what about the assorted wildlife that may be aboard as support animals?

Try getting past a stampeding flock of Peacocks, or a stroppy pig.
 

MEL_Traveller

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The risk, in large aircraft especially, actually goes to quite major injuries. Broken bones, hips, etc are pretty serious in older people...are they not (Doctor input required!).



Yes, but you're proposing giving the decision to an even more inexperienced person. Cabin crew could have as little as a few weeks exposure to aircraft, and, in my experience, are much more twitchy with regard the machinery around them.

Whilst the pilots may have caused the accident, whilst they are still able, they should remain in control. There's a well established chain of command if they aren't able to so function.

Anecdotal data from a range of recent evacuations seems to suggest the extent of injury may not be as high as people assume. This is where some recent data would be helpful. Yes, there may be an occasional major injury, but that’s the trade off needing to be considered. Should the health of a single passenger type, who may not even no on board, factor as a consideration of an evacuation?

The concept of a pilot, having caused a crash, still having the ability to affect passengers leaving the aircraft is a difficult one to deal with. Whether it’s because the pilot is in denial, or in shock, who knows, but i’m not convinced they retain the right, legally or morally, to further endanger their passengers.

In other cases it may be pilot inexperience, or that they’re cut off from the cabin, that leads to their inaction potentially endangering passengers. I’m not sure they have the right to do that?
 

mannej

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Anecdotal data from a range of recent evacuations seems to suggest the extent of injury may not be as high as people assume. This is where some recent data would be helpful. Yes, there may be an occasional major injury, but that’s the trade off needing to be considered. Should the health of a single passenger type, who may not even no on board, factor as a consideration of an evacuation?

The concept of a pilot, having caused a crash, still having the ability to affect passengers leaving the aircraft is a difficult one to deal with. Whether it’s because the pilot is in denial, or in shock, who knows, but i’m not convinced they retain the right, legally or morally, to further endanger their passengers.

In other cases it may be pilot inexperience, or that they’re cut off from the cabin, that leads to their inaction potentially endangering passengers. I’m not sure they have the right to do that?

Out of curiosity, are the comments regarding the legal rights being made from a lay perspective, or from a legal background?
 

jb747

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Anecdotal data from a range of recent evacuations seems to suggest the extent of injury may not be as high as people assume. This is where some recent data would be helpful. Yes, there may be an occasional major injury, but that’s the trade off needing to be considered. Should the health of a single passenger type, who may not even no on board, factor as a consideration of an evacuation?

The concept of a pilot, having caused a crash, still having the ability to affect passengers leaving the aircraft is a difficult one to deal with. Whether it’s because the pilot is in denial, or in shock, who knows, but i’m not convinced they retain the right, legally or morally, to further endanger their passengers.

The issue is that you as a passenger almost certainly don't have as much information as you think you do.

Most evacuations that fall into this discussion are the result of aborts. The pilot has certainly chosen to do so, but he most certainly isn't at fault. He most definitely still has the legal right to call the shots.
 
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