If your flight has an emergency and you’re told to evacuate, be certain that at least two things will happen. You’ll experience the adrenaline rush of a lifetime, for one. But you’ll also hear the urgent commands of flight attendants telling you to leave your bags behind. Yes, all of them. Laptops and purses, too.
Maybe the adrenaline is causing temporary deafness. Materialism has been winning out over self-preservation as air travelers often ignore the order to drop everything, a fact illustrated in recent years by laden passengers fleeing a burning 777 in San Francisco or a Delta Air Lines Inc. jet that skidded off a snowy New York runway. The latest example came on Wednesday, when an Emirates Airline flight crashed on landing in Dubai, followed by a severe fire that consumed much of the Boeing 777-300. Video showed some travelers collecting luggage before they escaped. All 282 passengers and 18 crew survived, but an airport firefighter died while battling the blaze.
The scramble for luggage makes flight attendants, pilots, and safety experts apoplectic. What many passengers fail to realize is that pausing to pull out a bag endangers not only them, but everyone behind them.