Leave your baggage behind
Carry-on baggage might well be one of the greatest examples there is of human greed and selfishness in action. And no, not just for the way your fellow airline passengers bend or break every rule to stuff as many things as they can in the overhead bins as they avoid airline fees for checked baggage.
There’s a far more serious side to it, especially when an aircraft emergency takes place.
Maybe it’s human nature to want to hang onto your property, but it’s a potentially fatal choice –for you, and for those around you.
After an air crash in Halifax in 2015 and an aircraft collision and fire in Toronto in 2018, the Transportation Safety Board warned that passengers insisting on taking their carry-on baggage with them in emergencies slowed escape and threatened lives.
This is from the report on the January 2018 collision in Toronto: “During the evacuation, the (flight attendants) issued instructions with and without the assistance of a handheld megaphone, telling the passengers to leave all their carry-on baggage behind. Despite these instructions, numerous passengers brought carry-on baggage with them, which slowed down the evacuation process.”
As the Transportation Safety Board wrote in a report on its investigation of the Halifax crash, “If passengers retrieve or attempt to retrieve their carry-on baggage during an evacuation, they are putting themselves and other passengers at a greater risk of injury or death.”
That happened despite the fact that it was a violent crash; parts of the aircraft were torn off, and metal support beams were pushed up through the floor of the aircraft into the passenger compartment.
The TSB sounds like a bit of a broken record on the issue. “In 2007, following its investigation into the August 2005 overrun occurrence at Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario, the TSB found that, during the emergency evacuation of the aircraft, many passengers took their carry-on baggage with them, despite specific instructions to the contrary being repeatedly shouted to them by the flight attendants.”
Anyone sensing a theme here?
Turns out, the regulator was far too accurate. Almost prescient, in fact.
Because carry-on baggage apparently played a role in 41 deaths, including two children, in a fiery Moscow crash.
On Sunday, a Russian passenger jet headed from Moscow to Murmansk turned back after declaring an in-flight emergency.
The aircraft burst into flames upon landing, a horrifying scene caught on camera. In different videos, you can actually see passengers fleeing with their carry-on bags in hand.
As Reuters news agency reported, “The Interfax news agency cited an unnamed ‘ informed source’ as saying the evacuation of the plane had been delayed by some passengers insisting on collecting their hand luggage first.”
Imagine. Someone’s need to rescue their rollersuitcase could mean that other people die.
Human greed and selfishness, indeed.