Melia Pro

Published on Monday, October 26, 2015

Passengers must be forced to leave bags in emergency evacuation


Air passengers are to banned from taking their hand luggage off aircraft during emergency evacuations due to concerns that an increasing number are grabbing bags before jumping down exit chutes, endangering the lives of others.

The Civil Aviation Authority has instructed cabin crew to issue verbal warning to passengers and even to forcibly remove their bags at the exit in order to speed up evacuations.

The CAA has also told carriers to update pre-flight safety briefings to give passengers clear instructions about the need to leave bags behind in an emergency.

The move comes after an emergency evacuation of a British Airways flight on the tarmac at Las Vegas airport last month, where passengers were seen fleeing from the burning Boeing 777 carrying their luggage.

Some reports claimed passengers stopped to gather their bags from overhead lockers before jumping down emergency chutes, even though there was a fire in one of the engines.

The CAA safety notice issued to airlines on Friday said: "Evidence from evacuations of aeroplanes since 2013 has shown that significant numbers of passengers attempt to take hand baggage with them when evacuating an aircraft.

"Such passenger behaviour can present a significant hindrance to egress, injury to other passengers and damage to evacuation slides."

The CAA said the safety notice had been issued to draw airlines' attention to the need to manage passenger behaviour so they don't attempt to take hand luggage with them during evacuations.

It said many UK airlines already included instructions to passengers to leave bags behind, but it said some passengers appear not to heed the information or don't appreciate its importance.

"Operators should review their procedures and the manner by which passengers are informed of pre-flight safety information," it said.

"This should include the contents of briefings and safety cards in order to ensure that clear instructions to leave hand baggage behind in the event of an evacuation, and the potential consequences of not doing so, are included and embedded in passenger awareness.

"Consideration should also be given to the content and method of delivery, taking into account passenger behaviour and distraction during pre-flight safety briefings.

"Operators should also review their procedures and training for passenger management during an evacuation; including verbal instructions to leave hand baggage behind and actions to be taken by cabin crew should passengers attempt to remove hand baggage.

"This should include management of passengers with hand baggage at exits in order to maintain expediency of egress, ensuring cabin crew intervention does not hinder evacuation."

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