Should It Become Criminal To Take Carry On’s During Flight Emergencies?

This week a British Airways flight made the news after the plane filled with smoke on approach to Valencia, Spain. In the end, all passengers disembarked safely without any sustained injuries and life went on. But, thanks to a few passengers, that potentially could not have been the case, had the situation on board been more dire. These passengers prioritised their bags over others lives.

If things had been more dire, every second would have mattered, and people could have literally died because of selfish other passengers who prioritise their personal belongings over other passengers lives.

This flight was just one of 1000’s of instances where passengers have ignored the rules, ignored the warnings and taken time to bring their bags with them. It’s lead to a new petition making the rounds in the UK, which if enough signatures are gained would bring a vote on whether this should become a criminal offence. In my opinion, it absolutely should be.

A petition launched today on the House of Parliament website and already has 4,000 signatures. With hope, it will soon have many more. The new petition focuses on one simple and important concept: criminalising people who put others at risk from an aircraft evacuation by taking carry on items with them. The petition is quite literally titled…

Make it an offence to take hand luggage in an aircraft emergency evacuation.

A wise pilot once told me that his best flight tip is to always leave your shoes on until 15 minutes after a successful take off, and to always have them on 15 minutes prior to landing. This is for the obvious reason that if the plane must be evacuated during these crucial periods of flight, you need to be able to move, fast, and you don’t want to be barefoot in case there’s anything sharp.

Sunset aerial view through airplane window over wings. Flying at sunset and looking out of the window and enjoying the panoramic view. Travel and transportation conceptsIn an emergency, cabin crews always repeatedly tell people to leave their belongings, because some of the worst aviation incidents outcomes are about a matter of seconds. If a plane is on fire, there are crucial seconds before many people could die. If someone reaches up into the overhead bin to grab their things so that they can look great on TV, it could be the difference in time of me, you, or anyone you love making it off the plane in time or not. In the “miracle on the Hudson”, there were precious seconds before the plane would begin to sink.

Can you imagine if someone, perhaps you, or your most beloved friend had died because someone on that plane chose to get their bags out?

If you value your life, or the lives of anyone flying, I think that this bill has real merit. If someone chooses their Netflix or their favourite dress shirt over someones life, and carry it out of the aircraft via the emergency slides, they should be prosecuted. You can sign the petition here

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