Airline passenger opens emergency exit, gets fined $15,000
A MAN was detained for 15 days and fined $14,700 for opening a plane’s emergency door because the air felt “stuffy”.
The 25-year-old man, identified only as Chen, had just arrived in Sichuan, China, having flown from the province of Hainan, and was preparing to deplane with his fellow passengers when he began feeling uncomfortable, prompting him to reach for the nearest door handle, the South China Morning Post and Fox News reported.
Chen, however, said he wasn’t aware the handle was attached to the emergency exit door, and actually “panicked” when it fell inward. The plane’s emergency exit also deployed automatically as a result.
“Because it was so stuffy, so hot on the plane, I just pushed down on the window handle beside me. When the door fell out, I panicked,” Chen told the ThePaper.cn, as translated by the Post.
Authorities on the ground did not seem convinced by Chen’s explanation.
The airline — which has not been named — stated that passengers were made aware of where the aircraft’s emergency exits were located during the pre-flight safety demonstration.
The airline further said that emergency doors don’t just fall open without passengers applying some sort of force.
As a result, Chen was reportedly detained for 15 days “for the unauthorised removal of aviation facilities” and will be subject to a fine of 70,000 yuan, or around $14,700, according to the South China Morning Post.