It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback when it comes to emergency evacuations on planes. After all, when you’re making a split second decision that you think might be life or death, and when you don’t have access to full/accurate information, it’s easy to act irrationally.
Which brings me to the story of Friday night’s evacuation on Allegiant, whereby passengers decided it made sense to evacuate onto the wing, once the plane was already at the gate. Via ABC News:
Allegiant Air flight 330 had arrived in Boise from Los Angeles about 7 p.m. local time when a fuel spilled occurred while the plane was at the gate, said Boise Airport spokesman Sean Briggs. The passengers saw vapor coming from the spill, which they thought was smoke, he said.
Passenger Niki Hughes told ABC News in an email that vapor was filling the plane and was so strong that people were covering their noses with their clothes.
“They did not make any announcements to the rest of the plane until they noticed that someone had opened the emergency exit,” she said. “The flight attendant made it clear that she was frustrated at the fact that someone opened the door because they would not be able to leave on time now for their next flight. People were visibly scared and confused and the staff on the plane just seemed annoyed.”
Which brings us to the picture of a couple of dozen people standing on the wing… with their carry-ons!
— Brian Sumers (@BrianSumers) June 14, 2015
My initial thoughts are:
- It’s understandable passengers were scared and wanted a way out.
- It sure seems like the crew wasn’t doing a very good job communicating the situation if this all happened. Was the crew really expressing frustration over the next flight possibly not being on-time, rather than reassuring passengers everything was okay?
- If passengers were concerned about a fuel spill, a wing (potentially filled with fuel) might not be the smartest place to congregate.
- It strikes me as incredibly selfish when passengers take carry-ons with them in the event of an emergency evacuation. When I recently wrote about this, I was surprised how many people disagreed with me, explaining how important their possessions are. But taking carry-ons onto a wing without any sort of an evacuation slide strikes me as especially odd, since I’m not sure how exactly they see that playing out.
Anyway, fortunately everyone was okay, though this remains one of the stranger evacuations I’ve seen. Especially since it seems like it was completely avoidable.