Passenger Causes 7-Hour Delay by Mistaking Emergency Exit for a Bathroom

Jun 10, 2019

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A Pakistan International Airlines flight was severely delayed leaving Manchester, England, on June 8, but not because of poor weather or aircraft maintenance. Instead, PIA has stated that a passenger opened an emergency exit while the flight was on the tarmac. According to the airline, the passenger mistook the exit for a restroom, causing the emergency slide to deploy automatically and leading to a seven-hour wait.

Image from the Times of Islamabad
When a passenger opened the emergency exit, the slide automatically deployed. Image from the Times of Islamabad

Nearly forty passengers stepped off the plane — they didn’t take the slide — and waited for flight to be reset. No passengers were injured, although some complained about the wait on social media, reports USA Today.

While possible on the ground, opening an emergency door during flight would require near superhuman strength because they are under extreme pressurization. Because of their design, opening one would require three to four tons of force.

The mistake caused delays for many other flights departing from Manchester that evening. In a statement on Twitter, PIA requested travelers try to be more mindful in the future, saying “We strongly urge passengers to follow security instructions as such mishaps result in inconvenience of hundreds of other passengers.”

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