Stop the Plane, I wanna get off

I knew I don’t like flying Air Asia for a reason. On Saturday 11th August, One of their flights from Miri in Sarawak state, Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital was delayed for an hour when a man opened the emergency doors and leapt out of the plane just before take off. Other flights were also delayed.

Fight passenger Siva Nathiran. said “The raft automatically opened. Other passengers started screaming. The plane was brought to a halt,”  Flight attendants advised the captain who halted the flight (do the pilots know when a door is opened?).

The passenger was arrested and taken to Miri hospital. He was not injured and flight AK 5187 continued on its way. The passenger was identified as Chong and is believed to be a 24-year-old off-duty crew member. He had boarded the flight with his girlfriend. Did they have a fight? At this stage, his motives are unclear but he is expected to face legal action

How to freak your fellow passengers! American Airlines says “It’s not possible to open an aircraft door in-flight, and cockpit doors have been reinforced,”  Boeing says the doors “cannot be opened once an airplane is airborne and pressurized.

I was wondering how often these incidents happen. Here is a list. Considering how many people fly and how many planes are in the air, it is not really a lot. Check out my personal favourite!

  • Aug, 2009: Qantas 2 flight from London to Sydney via Bangkok was making its descent into Sydney airport when an “agitated” man lunged for the handle. He was arrested and passengers were detained for 20 minutes
  • January 2010: United 223 from Washington DC to Las Vegas: mid flight attempt – plane was  diverted to Denver
  • April 2010: Delta 2148  from Los Angeles to Tampa: 46 year old man sprayed first-class cabin with a water bottle, tried to open cabin door and threatened to blow up plane. Flight was diverted to Albuquerque   to Tampa.
  • In May of this year, an off-duty cop had to subdue a Delta passenger who tried to open a door on a Boston-bound Delta flight. Later that same month, a Continental passenger had to be subdued by fellow fliers after he tried to open a cabin door in an attempt to commit suicide.
  • May, 2o11: Delta 1102 from Orlando -Boston:  Passenger tried to open a door mid flight. He was drunk and upset plane was delayed.
  • May 2011: Continental Houston to Chicago:  34 year old man pinned a flight attendant against a wall shortly after take off and tried to open an emergency door repeatedly.  Flight was diverted to St. Louis, where “police found the  passenger on the floor at the front of the plane, being help by a flight attendant and two passengers. He was allegedly trying to kill himself. He was sentenced to ten months prison, fined $7000 and cannot fly for three years.
  • July, 2011: Vietnam, Passenger was curious to see what would happen if he opened the door!!
  • September, 2011: Thomson Airlines flight from Majorca to Newcastle: 22 year old man tried to open plane doors mid flight claiming they were only on a flight simulator. He was tied up with eight seatbelts and plane landed at London Gatwick
  • November, 2011:  Vietnam Airlines: Hanoi, Vietnam: first time flyer claimed he wanted to open a window!!!  He pulled the handle of the emergency exit door. Passenger was fined. This is my favourite! You wanted to open a window on a pressurised plane mid flight?
  • December, 2011: American Airlines:  Chicago to San Francisco: 28 year old male Passenger screamed and pounded on cockpit door . Was he trying to find the bathroom (which is what the attendants thought) or yelling God is great which is what the US authorities said?
  • February, 2012: Hanoi, Vietnam after landing, a 29 year old man opened an emergency exit so a Mum  with a crying child could get off the plane quickly. The man was fined and the slide (see below) cost $10,000 to refit.
  • March, 2012: JetBlue 191 – New York to Las Vegas: the pilot began screaming, was locked out of the cabin. He tried to re enter the cabin and then tried to open the emergency door before being  subdued by flight attendants and passengers
  • May, 2012: Air Wisconsin (USairways) Flight 3801 Portland, Maine, to Philadelphia: 40 year old “appeared disoriented” as he tried to open door. Plane was diverted to Boston. Passenger taken into custody

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  1. I would laugh if I saw someone trying to open those emergency doors during the flight, they’d have to be Hulk to be able to make it move.

  2. Very true – as Boeing note! It still won’t stop people trying, as I note in my list! How many movies, though have you seen where they manage to open the door mid flight? The average person probably sees this as a real possible danger? If we see it happening, I guess we reassure people.

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