Emirates exit door opens mid-flight in explosion… only it doesn’t

In what has to be one of the most bizarre stories I’ve read in a while, a man flying Emirates business class between Bangkok and Hong Kong claimed the emergency exit door opened mid-flight in an explosion, per news.com.au:

Briton David Reid and his son Lewis feared a bomb had gone off after hearing a “massive explosion” two hours into their flight on the brand new $376 million Emirates Airbus A380.

Freezing air blasted in and the cabin pressure plunged after the door in business class came nearly four centimetres ajar, leaving a gaping hole, Mr Reid told the Daily Mail.

As passengers wept in terror, he said, a petrified stewardess ran down the aisle and screamed “the door’s going to go” before cowering behind her seat.

Only instead of making an emergency landing they kept flying, and they stuffed the hole with tape, pillows, and blankets. Perfectly logical fix at 30,000 feet at 550 miles per hour. Oh, and of course the guy suffered a chest infection as a result of the situation.

Emirates and Airbus simply said:

“We can confirm there was a whistling noise emanating from one of the doors on the A380 upper deck on flight EK384 between Bangkok and Hong Kong on Monday, February 11. At no point was the safety of the flight in jeopardy,” an Emirates spokesman said: .’

An Airbus spokesman said: “It is not possible for a cabin door to open on an A380 or on any aircraft whilst in flight, as doors open inwards and have locking mechanisms.”

Truly bizarre on so many levels. Did this guy totally make the situation up, or…?

Filed Under: Emirates, Media
  1. If the “cabin pressure plunged,” oxygen masks would have deployed throughout the aircraft. There would have been more than one report of such an event happening.

    I have been on many aircraft where a whistling noise was heard at the door. ATR’s are notorious for this. It’s a normal and acceptable occurrence.

  2. You should see how the local Chinese media in HK is reporting this. Oversensationalization is an understatement. Made it sound like someone bombed the plane..

  3. And here I thought this was a similar repeat to the 1970s DC-10 cargo door incidents.

    Kept going? Uh, no- not unless you were already landing or were going to the nearest airport for an emergency landing.

  4. The spokespeople are correct. It’s impossible to open a cabin door in flight above fl10 or so. Nor would it ever open spontaneously, because of the plug design which makes the outward force the equivalent of trying to pull a bus. If there was to be depressurization, it would ruminate from stress fractures on the skin of the fuselage, not the cabin door.

    The dude is nuts.

  5. For better or for worse, this story is getting huge coverage around the world, most of it very unfavourable to Emirates. A friend in India has just been instructed by his employer to cancel an upcoming business trip on Emirates due to safety concerns as a result of this. Never underestimate how much damage paranoia can cause among the ignorant.

  6. I think this is irresponsible journalism at its worse. The story is so factually incorrect that the initial UK newspaper should rescind the whole thing.

  7. The Daily Mail (uk) is only marginally a real “news” paper. All of the stories are sensationalized non-events. If you wanted to keep track of what was happening in the world, the daily mail would not help. I always find it strange when papers like the nytimes or WSJ quote from the daily mail (like in the runup to the London Olympics on how preparations were supposedly not on track).
    I lived in England for 3 years and my mother in law subscribed to the mail. Just peruse it in the newsstand next time you’re in the uk and you’ll understand what I mean.

  8. @Rob – usually(!) the stories are things that actually happened, but just do not matter… Like a woman’s snowman being vandalized. Except they present it like it is the most important story in the world.

  9. Sean is correct.

    Even if you tried to open a door at altitude, you would not be able to. You can pull the emergency handle all you want. Unless you can pull the door with tens of thousands pounds of force, you can’t overcome the pressure differential. Keep in mind that the door opens inwards first before moving outward. You’ll have to pull it so hard as to increase the cabin pressure 😛

  10. Does this surprise anyone who has read the Daily Mail? In this day and age of reckless lawsuits – usually by people with questionable motives and all the non-science prevalent today and plethora of psychic ghost and fairy stories on TV, is it any wonder that people are so stupid to actually believe such nonsense? let’s face it, the majority of people are clueless about their world and how things work!

  11. Oh dear, the Daily Mail. Renowned for explaining why something will give you cancer and then mere months later explaining why the same thing will prevent cancer. If you want bullshit, you have come to the right place.

    1. Door lock is green! Oh god no!
    Green is good on an Airbus door lock, oh and that isn’t a door lock anyway.
    2. It’s a bit chilly and I got a chest infection.
    At 27,000ft you’d generally expect it to be about -50C so if you escaped with a slight chest infection, well done!
    3. Air gushing in!
    Pressurised cabin means air gushes out.
    4. I could see out in the atmosphere!
    Take a look at how this door opens, now tell me even if there was a hole you could even begin to see out a hole?!
    5. I’m bored now, utter garbage.

  12. The real reason was just a worn seal between the door. The seal stops the whistling sound and on this occasion, the seal was broken, the door wouldn’t have moved and O2 masks would have deployed or ‘appeared’ form above. The seal needs replacing sometimes and the only problem is that it would make a whistling noise, it would not have dipped to -50C or everyone would have frozen. You don’t know what happened, the seal could have been worn on the flight from DXB to BKK and the seal is rubber and would not have caused an alarm in the system. The door is also on the right and passengers do not enter through the right doors. The catering enters through the back right so that door wouldn’t have been opened very often. EK is one of the safest airlines and they would not have let a broken seal bring a plane down with their experienced crew. In the top right of all the photos, the green ‘ARMED’ sign is illuminated, meaning that the door is securely closed.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *