In An Emergency Evacuation LEAVE ALL CARRY-ONS BEHIND

Filed Under: Videos

Here’s something which I’ll never understand. While I don’t claim to always pay perfect attention to safety videos, surely we’ve all heard the line about leaving all carry-on items behind in the event of an emergency.

And if you haven’t heard it and are in the unfortunate situation to have an emergency evacuation, you’ll surely hear it when the flight attendant repeatedly yells at the top of his/her lungs to leave all carry-on items behind.

Yesterday a US Airways flight at Denver International Airport had to be evacuated via the emergency slides due to smoke in the cabin. And there’s a video of the evacuation:

When we get on a plane we put our lives in the hands of the cockpit and cabin crew, and I think it’s reasonable to follow their instructions when given.

So when the captain called an evacuation and the cabin crew tried to evacuate the plane, it absolutely blows my mind that most people are still taking their carry-ons. How selfish do you have to be to value temporarily having your personal belongings with you over the safety of others?

Fortunately nobody was seriously injured, but I think the only person qualified to call an evacuation is the crew, and if they do decide to call one you should comply 100%, regardless of how serious you perceive the situation to be.

  1. Some people actually travel the world and make memories, take pictures, visit places on unique once in a lifetime vacation. It’s hard to part ways with a laptop or camera after a trip like that. I always pack a portable backup drive which I can grab in an emergency and it won’t get in anyone’s way…along with camera and small laptop.

  2. @atxtravel, that’s a very poor excuse. Try to explain to someone that their relative is dead or seriously injured because you just had to have your photos and your laptop. Agreed with Ben. Can’t think of any better word than selfish.

  3. Whenever I hear the safety briefing on the plane, my mind somehow goes to my laptop in the overhead bin. I’m a researcher, and losing my laptop could mean the loss of YEARS of hard work and data. Yes, it’s all backed up. But so many analysis ideas come to me on-the-fly (I crunch numbers in airport lounges, airplanes, hotels, etc. – so that I don’t forget the cool idea I just had). If I was in an emergency evacuation situation, I don’t know what I would do – I would be torn! Chances are, I would get my computer.

    All of this to say – please don’t judge someone so easily…try living in someone else’s shoes for a moment.

  4. How’s someone going to die because I have an 8×11 think laptop with me, or an external hard drive the size of a wallet? If it causes someone else to die, I’ll be dead first, and I’ll make damn sure I don’t kill myself 🙂

  5. What about those that are grabbing a purse? I certainly wouldn’t go into the overhead bin to grab a carry on but a purse, I probably would. What about things like car keys and a license? If you’re stuck in a different state not having any ID or money on your would make it impossible to get back on a plane or do anything and you would not be able to replace it without getting back to your place of origin, which would now be impossible. And if you don’t have keys, you could potentially be stranded at the airport without a means to drive or get into your home. In a situation like that one where I was waiting to get out of my row and danger was not imminent, yes, I probably would grab my purse from under the seat.

  6. Taking your carry on with you as you evacuate an airplane is *utterly indefensible*. It does not matter what it is or what’s on it. It’s a thing. It’s replaceable. The lives of everyone else going down the slide behind you are not. Suffice to say, if I ever have to evac an airplane and I see you milling about on the runway apron with your roll-aboard…your chances of surviving the incident just went down.

  7. I can see it now……

    “Our plane hit a bird and we had to make an emergency landing and evacuate the plane”

    “but first, let me take a selfie!”

  8. We have to see how many took Lucky’s Advice above in LGA on the DL flight
    A more useful advice I can give is that KEEP YOUR SHOES ON at take off and landing (YES EVEN IN LH F CLASS) and KEEP YOUR JACKET HANDY in winter weather, until well after take off and before landing
    I know it is easier for me as I get more overhead space up front, but trying to evacuate in LGA today would have been really bad for those who put away all their clothes in anticipation of a nice touchdown. Those guys reaching overhead would have really slowed things down for the ones in the window seats in economy

  9. I agree that if you are not able to take out your luggage without stopping on your way out, you should not even think about it. I think I am tall and strong enough that I can rip out my backpack from the overhead while exiting the plane and walking at the same speed as the person in front of me. If it’s gets stuck, I’ll leave it in there, if it’s not toward the exit, I’ll leave it there as well.

    The reason why I’d do this is mainly because I have no trust whatsoever in the Airline getting my stuff back within the next month or two.

  10. What about those who were grabbing their purses? I certainly wouldn’t grab my carry on from the overhead bin but I would probably grab my purse from under the seat. In my purse is my license and keys. Without a license it would be impossible to get back on another flight once you leave the airport, and most states won’t replace them unless you are in the state in person. Also, I would want to have my keys so I could get into my car and place of residence. In a situation like above where danger is not imminent I would most likely grab my purse while waiting for my turn to leave the row.

  11. I know this seems pretty self explanatory, but assuming nothing major happens, like a huge fire or an awful class, is it safe to assume that you will be reunited with you carryon? I realize if it gets destroyed then there is nothing you can do, and I respect that. I just was wondering if the airline would be proactive or if it is something we (the passengers) would have to do

  12. Ok, I agree, but I never thought about this before. Assuming nothing really bad happened, how long should it take to have your belongings back? As Lucky travels with all your personal belongings, what would you do if you didn’t get your luggage for a few days?

  13. In addition to the over-all ghastly images of the Asiana SFO crash, I found the film clips of pax milling about outside the plane, rollaboards in tow, were particularly horrifying.

  14. @atxtravel and @Hitesh, so other’s lives are insignificant compared to your laptops?

    Then again your lives must be pretty insignificant if your laptops and their contents are that important to you…

    Jus’ sayin’.

  15. I always make a point of keeping my wallet, passport, keys and flash drive in my pants pockets during travel. That way in an emergency I have what I need to get by until they are either recovered or replaced. Thankfully, this hasn’t occurred (yet) *knock on wood*. It feels reassuring to me when I’m flying if not a little uncomfortable in the pants.

  16. when travelling international I always keep my passport in my pocket. That I believe is the snglemost essential piece of ID needed for me to have on my body when I get out of the plane – whether I end up surviving the emergency or getting dead(in which case I hopefully get ID’ed faster).

  17. @atxtravel how about an 8×12 laptop? Or is a 9×14 ok? How large is too large? Or are cameras and laptops ok, but no jackets and shoes? Or is it ok to take a carry on if it looks safe outside, but not ok if there’s fire or smoke? Cabin crew issues instructions and they’re not subject to interpretations, and yes, that’s how people die. If you’re not ok with following instructions, don’t fly. No one cares about your laptop or your pictures. Would you be ok with letting the person in front of you do the same if you’re sitting in the back of the plane?

  18. I always keep my mobile phone and camera ON my person when flying, that is, attached to my belt so should an emergency evacuation be necessary I would not have to “carry” those items.

  19. Who was the idiot filming all this and thereby slowing down his / her own and others evacuation???? These passengers had no idea if the plane was about to blow up or erupt in flames, as did with the British Airtours Boeing 737 Flight 28M in 1985.

  20. There’s no evidence that taking your carryon necessarily compromises the safety of others. If it’s a get-out-quickly situation, the FAs will say so and yell at you. If it is an orderly no-rush evacuation, as this one was, no reason not to take your stuff.

    In the same way, there is no evidence that not putting your seatback in the “full-upright position” will make any difference to anything. It’s just faith, not fact.

  21. To those of you self-important twits who intend to carry your carry-on bags with you in the event of an emergency evacuation, I hope for your sake that I’m not on your flight if it happens.

    I’ve thought about this more than once over the years, and I long ago decided that I will be pushing out of my way anyone who slows down the evacuation because of a bag. You’ll wind up on the floor or bent over a row of seats if you slow me down getting out of the plane. If I happen to be traveling with my children, I will physically lift you up and throw you out of my/my children’s way.

    It’s not just the time it takes to get the bag out of the bin/from under the seat. It’s also the delay in getting the bag down the aisle, plus the potential risk that the bag poses when you’re going down the slide at high-speed. Pilots don’t generally order evacuations unless there is a life-threatening emergency, and if it’s not, as a passenger you’re not qualified to make that determination.

    I don’t care how important you think your data is, the lives of the passengers around you are more important.

    I can’t believe that people are actually so selfish that we are seriously having this discussion.


  22. >There’s no evidence that taking your carryon necessarily compromises the safety of others.

    @Chuck Lesker – Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    See, e.g.:

    >If it’s a get-out-quickly situation, the FAs will say so and yell at you.

    What video were you watching?!?! The FA was yelling “LEAVE YOUR BELONGINGS!” over and over again.

    Every evacuation of an aircraft where you’re going down the slides is *BY DEFINITION* a get-out-quickly. They are inherently dangerous, so pilots don’t command them unless/until they believe there is a threat to the safety of those on-board.


  23. Greg has a point. How can anyone technically slide down a piece of luggage without tearing the rubber(?) slide? My mother used to warn me not to take off contact lenses even in transpacific business seat, as glasses should be ordered to be removed in case of emergency.

    Not strong as Greg, my only choice is to sit in exit row..

  24. While it endangers others to grab luggage, this particular one looked pretty sedate. Some people “have their life” in what they’ve packed…others who have…”more means” would leave it behind w/o a 2nd thought. Perhaps getting their bag in b.s. de-plaining which perhaps have their cell-phone in order to assuage the fears to their family members, seems more understandable…now, I’m pretty sure (or at least have confidence in my fellow humans) in the event of crash or plane fire, nobody is grabbing bags and also nobody is pulling out a cell phone to record the happenings either.

    There isn’t one solution for all cases…so some people need to get off of their high horses just a little bit.

  25. If the plane crashes, I would take my carry ons – especially if the plane went down in a remote place. I wouldn’t want my snacks and clothes to burn in the plane!

  26. @MOI Even worse it’s filmed in portrait!

    +1 for David. One can certainly keep everything truly critical on one’s person for 15 minutes at takeoff or landing. If it’s a laptop it should be backed up somewhere else anyway it is likely to fail at some point anyway. Make sure you are wearing natural fibers too. Don’t want your clothes melted to your body.

  27. Don’t take the luggage and don’t start taking selfies in the middle of an evacuation. People were doing both when we had an emergency landing and evacuation in San Antonio.

  28. >There isn’t one solution for all cases…so some people need to get off of their high horses just a little bit.

    Sorry, Brian, but you’re just flat out wrong.

    There is one and only one solution. It’s the same solution that the FAA, the NTSB (and all of their regulatory counterparts around the world), the airline pre-flight briefing, the safety card sitting in front of you, and the instructions SHOUTED at the passengers during an evacuation (failure to comply with which is is a federal offense).

    That solution is to leave your carry-on luggage behind. Any other conduct, aside from being stupid, dangerous and selfish, is against the law. I get to ride my high horse here because I’m right – the law says I’m right, and common sense should tell you that I’m right.

    If you think this is gray, how do you feel about DUI?

    Lots of different cases there, too. Maybe just driving around the corner, maybe only one beer too many? If you happened to be pulled over, maybe you only blow a 0.09? I’m sure nobody has ever been hurt or killed in that situation, either.



  29. Amen greg99, amen. Grabbing a suitcase or laptop is the last thing I’d be looking to do in an emergency evacuation.

    I keep my passport, wallet, cellphone and anything else important in a small purse with a long strap that goes across my body and I wear it for the whole flight. If I’m in a flat-bed seat, I just move the purse around so that I’m not sleeping on it.

  30. @Mike — “Would you be ok with letting the person in front of you do the same if you’re sitting in the back of the plane?”

    Yes, absolutely. If they could grab a small item like camera or backup hard drive without interfering with the flow of people, and without causing a safety hazard, let them do it. Is searching for your jacket during a winter landing considered risky too, or should I just run out undressed and catch pneumonia?

    Stop the stupid questioning. I’ll do what’s safe and common sense, regardless if it technically violates the instructions, as long as I don’t endanger anyone else.

    This is a dumb discussion. Nobody is justifying getting a carryon or large backpack, we’re talking about small personal items.

  31. I just hope to god that I’m never in an aircraft evacuation situation (for whatever reason), and I if was, I pray to god that I’m never stuck with the people commenting here who can somehow rationalize why it would make sense for them to take their belongings because they know better than the crew and years and years of safety investigations/expertise that says to do otherwise. It amazes and enrages me how these people are able to even think they can put others lives at risk based on their ridiculous selfish “thinking”. Its completely astounding.

  32. There is no reason for you to grab your computer or anything like that during an emergency. If you have something personal and important on it, you should have a backup – also online. So many companies offer free online storage nowadays, that using that as an excuse is just wrong. And even if you do not have a backup – that extra time you use, could possibly delay someone so much that they get hurt, or even worse. If you do not preceive the situation as dangerous, it still might be.

    Airplanes are not evacuated for fun, and there is a reason why you are to leave your belongings behind.

  33. Idiots!! All selfish simple minded foolish idiots!! When has an item (laptop, purse, backpack, ect) have more importance than human life? LEAVE YOUR BELONGINGS you will get them later once it’s safe to do so.. The 2nd issue I noticed was::::::let’s evacuate a plane, go down the slides, AND STAND RIGHT NEXT TO THIS AIRCRAFT THAT WE JUST WERE TOLD TO EVACUATE FROM!! Seriously people it’s an emergency situation!!!

    Look at the funny side – found the first to perish in the apocalypse – the ones who couldn’t follow simple directions and just had to take their carryons….

  34. I think it has a lot to do with common sense. Sadly most people don’t have it. If I am in the middle of two exits waiting for people to exit for 1-2 min or more sure I’m taking my backpack. I would never stop to take something from the bin like a roll aboard no matter how long I wait but a backpack or purse yea if I am grabbing and securing it when I would otherwise be standing watching.

  35. The goal in an evacuation is to get the passengers out as quickly as possible. So if you say it will only take you an additional 15 seconds to get your carry-on or personal items multiply that 15 second delay by the hundreds of passengers on the plane. This plane was evacuated due to smoke, if there is smoke in the cabin there is a a possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning and other respiratory issues. Any additional time spent in the plane is dangerous. As other people have said planes are not evacuated for fun and only when something is actually wrong. The crew is trained to get everyone off as quickly as possible in a safe and orderly way. What happens when the person 5 people in front of you demands that they must have their laptop and it won’t come out from under the seat in front of them which is stuck in the reclined position and a fight breaks out causing the people in the back to not be able to evacuate the plane? What happens when there is a fire on board and every additional second is putting strain on the fuselage and could lead to more significant problems? What happens when while trying to get a bag out of the overhead bin you hit someone behind you and they faint?

    There are so many potential nightmare situations that there aren’t any good explanations or justification for trying to get your items. If your excuse is that it didn’t look like too serious of a situation on board and that’s why you can take some additional time in evacuating, then wouldn’t this situation be not so serious that all the items from the plane would still be safe after rescuing the other passengers and the airline could get you the items from the plane? Yes, the safety information videos may be boring (unless you are Air New Zealand which is actually the only safety video I ever pay attention to) but when the crew is shouting at you to evacuate and leave everything it makes sense that you should do so. They are trained to handle aircraft emergencies, and we are not. Or do any of us work for NTSB?

  36. @Ole — good luck backing up several thousand RAW image files at 30M each online, while traveling through countries with slow internet speeds.

    It takes me 5 seconds to reach into my backpack under the seat and pull out my portable hard drive. Another 5 seconds to grab my netbook. Both are stuffed in my jacket and off I go. I can’t understand these dense morons who can’t comprehend how not every personal belonging is necessarily a big suitcase.

  37. It astounds me the number of people who think that they would have no issues reaching below their seat or in the overhead lockers to grab a bag, regardless of the size. Or those who believe they could ‘quickly’ pull out a hard drive or something “small” from their bag.
    In an emergency situation, which an EMERGENCY EVACUATION is, could you really unzip or open a bag effectively while trying to hurry in order to leave the aircraft within 90 seconds? Unless you’re completely emotionless, I doubt it.
    I do a lot of work on the aircraft as well, which is why I save everything on a USB or SD card which is easy to put in my walled before landing. My photos are always backed up on my cloud BEFORE I depart if I’m on holidays. It’s one of the joys of having Digital cameras nowadays. My passport is also in my pocket, as others have said for identification purposes. And my credit cards (which are in my wallet) and travel insurance will get me through the couple of days it may take to get my bag back. Although between the air accident investigators and the airline, I don’t think it would take that long unless there have been fatalities. If that has happened, then I wouldn’t be thinking about material things anyway.

  38. “It does not matter what it is or what’s on it. It’s a thing. It’s replaceable.”

    How about pills or an inhaler? There are plenty of less common medications whose prescriptions might not be easily–if at all–refilled in some countries.

  39. @atxtravel
    How are you going to get your netbook down the slide? Throw it? Because I can tell you, that it is not a gentle descent on the emergency slides. I’ve ended up rolling a couple of times during training.

    Plus the slides aren’t as strong as people think, there is a reason why the videos say to remove high heels before jumping down

  40. Anyone who stops to get their carry-ons during an emergency evacuation is a selfish, inconsiderate idiot (and some stronger words I’ll omit). If, God forbid, I’m ever on a flight that has to have an emergency evacuation, and the person in front of me stops to get their carry-on, I WILL run them over. Period.

  41. Exactly – drugs and inhalers fit in pockets of my carry-on. Along with snacks and other essentials for living on an island.

  42. it depends on how much of an emergency it is. In this case, the plane wasn’t going to blow up.
    I carry with a musical instrument, and will not leave that behind. I’d rather wait for everyone else to get off the plane first.

  43. I forgot to add – people found exiting an aircraft with items should be arrested on the tarmac by police. Hopefully the message would then be understood.

  44. I do think it’s an selfish act for people to take carry ons in an emergency situation (could puncture the emergency inflatable). No matter how you perceive the emergency, it could be a life and death situation if people aren’t evacuated from a potentially situation quickly enough (sudden explosion or whatever the case may be). I would not take my carry on luggage even if it’s got valuables and camera data (memories!), etc. I may consider taking my tiny purse, though I’m pretty I will most likely to abandon it in an emergency though I would sorely miss all the photos (I’m visualizing the hudson situation where you only got so little space). Whatever is ON me comes with me (usually a wallet and my phone, which are in my pockets, yes, even when I fly). Won’t be taking selfie for sure, though it’s possible I may take some pictures or videos that could help in investigation (that is, only assuming that no one else needs help first). People are more important whatever valuables or things, data that can eventually be replaced.

  45. There is no such thing as a non emergency evacuation. If you are evacuating via slides then you can bet theres a good reason! What if everybody was as moronic to mess around grabbing laptops, or worse baggage, imagine how long that would take! Just because you can’t see flames doesn’t mean there isn’t danger, how do you know that theres not a fuel leak that is ready to go off within seconds?! If its not on your person ie in a pocket or on a belt bag then it doesn’t come with you. Bottom line is you are a selfish imbecile if you value a peice of electronics before the people behind you trying to get off. The cabin crew have IDs, phones, keys in their bags too but you don’t see them hauling their belongings off with them do you.

  46. or should I just run out undressed and catch pneumonia?

    You do know that pneumonia is caused by viruses and bacteria and not by being cold, right?

  47. I completely understand where you are coming from, especially when folks are being evacuated from one of the emergency slides where they shouldn’t even be wearing shoes how trying to grab your carry on and personal baggage seems pointless and causes unnecessary delays.

    I would have to hope that in the moment, folks just don’t realize the totality of the situation and act like it’s business as usually when it’s really not.

    My BIL is actually friends with one of the stewards who was on the Air Transat Flight 236 which had to make an emergency landing. When my BIL told me his friend’s account of what happened he said that between his friend originally being told about the first warning which they thought was an error and the second warning where he was told that they thought there was something seriously wrong and there was a likelihood they would have to make an emergency landing in the water, he actually felt his testicles assent inside him. ( I am sharing this only to show the level of fear that some folks face when they have reason to think they might be in the final moments of their life)

    The way the story was told to me, when the told the passengers to prepare for an emergency landing , everyone of course flipped out. The pilot decided to make large dives down…then coast from that momentum, then dive again and coast until he could reach the Island. Apparently puke was flying everywhere, I guess from nerves and the aggressive maneuvers, nor were the lights working (other than emergency) . Crew and passengers where crying, praying to God, trying to find God, trying to reconcile with God, blaming God, (whatever God they pray to) and the usual “Tell my wife I love her” type of thing.

    But when they landed and deployed the slide, they were also met with the same thing, folks trying to get their luggage and collect their which they responded with curtness and alleged profanity and basically had to toss folks off the plane bouncer style because they wanted to hold on to their luggage.

    Some of these same passengers later complained to the airline . not because of the fact they almost died but because of the lack of ‘courtesy’ some of the employees showed in the mists of an emergency evacuation from the plane.

    So, after hearing that…some of the behavior I am seeing in this video doesn’t surprise me.

  48. I remember those who preached-.even bragged-about not turning their devices off during takeoff and landing when it was against the rules to leave then on. So now they are surprised people decide which rules and announcements they will follow?

    I am just shocked!!!

  49. Anyone, ANYONE, who attempt to take carry-on with them in an evacuation situation is bringing all passengers’ life in greater danger that it already is – If identified they should be prosecuted and put on the no-fly list for life.

  50. Let’s just say it like this, in an emergency, you get up from your seat, and run towards the nearest exit. There is no “5 seconds” for this or “2 seconds” for that. You stop at nothing and you take nothing with you. Nothing, nada.

  51. Indefensible. If others see one person opening overhead bins to get “just one small hard drive” or a coat, they immediately follow and begin trying to grab everything else. I have a small cross-body bag with passport, cash, cellphone, keys and keep it on throughout the flight. I don’t have to get anything from anywhere. I wish US Airways had identified the people with belongings on the tarmac and banned them from future flights for “passenger endangerment”.

  52. I pity any moron in front of me (during an evac) that attempts to take something from the overhead. I’ll deal with the assault charge once outside of the aircraft.

  53. purses, small backpacks, and anything else with a strap can potentially get snagged on something, delaying or causing more confusion to the evac process. Dropped laptops and cameras also make great obstacles for other people, and carrying a laptop, you’re essentially down to one hand/arm. Just leave it behind.

    Also, if the plane “isn’t going to blow up,” then you have even LESS of a reason to drag your crap along with you since it should all be recovered intact.

  54. The airlines and regulatory bodies are partly at fault. People don’t respond well to commands that they don’t understand. We are simply told, “Leave all carry-ons behind,” but that is easy to ignore if you don’t understand that taking your carry-on could cost you your life, and your fellow passengers’ lives too. The message would be much more effective if it included a reason: “Leave all carry-ons behind because in an emergency, taking your belongings with you will slow you down. If even a small number of passengers takes an extra few seconds to grab their bags, many passengers could lose their lives. Evacuating the aircraft quickly is the most effective way to save lives in an emergency.”

    Why doesn’t the standard safety announcement include information like this? Because it would scare people, and the last thing airlines want is to scare people. The FAA should insist that something like this – maybe even including graphics in video versions of the announcement – should be included.

  55. That is why I ALWAYS carry my wallet, passport and cell phone WITH ME!!! Never in the backpack, carry on luggage and never in the overhead bin. Thus, in case of an emergency, the most important things I would need are already in my pockets so I would not care about my other stuff. I 100% agree that in an emergency safety comes first but good luck in getting your belongings after leaving the plane. The plane may go through inspection, etc.. and if you get your stuff back it can take days and not having your documents would make your life very difficult in case you need to fly back home.

  56. In the case of an emergency, I’ll leave my suitcase in the overhead, but there’s not a chance in hell I’m leaving my backpack under the seat in front of me; that thing stays with me.

  57. One thing that could be done is if passengers *knew* that they could get their belongings fairly quickly. I would bet some of the passengers grabbing their carry-ons do so because they are legitimately screwed if they leave it behind.

    I’ve read that for the US Airways flight that ditched in the Hudson and for the Asiana crash at SFO, it took months for all of the belongings to be returned. If people could be reassured that their belongings *would* be returned very quickly to them, we wouldn’t see as much of this.

    Let me put it this way: say you’re a tourist coming to America, you’re suddenly in the middle of an evacuation, BUT you don’t see anything *immediately* wrong (no fire, smoke, etc.) You know that your carry-on has very important stuff (medicine, money, travel documents, etcetera). If you leave it, you don’t know when you’ll get it back. Guess what – you’re grabbing your bag.

    I’m not SAYING this is right, mind. I’m just saying that that is what goes through the minds of people who grab their bags. All the people saying “leave your bags!” won’t matter if you can’t crack the motivations of the people who would do that.

  58. When I was in an airplane emergency evacuation, we were told we were REQUIRED to bring our bags out with us. It was a bomb threat. So maybe that’s different, although I don’t know why, since I don’t think it’s like the movies where you know how much time you have left before the bomb goes off. And certainly it makes no sense to abandon your ID, cash, medicine, etc. that you would need immediately in an emergency. So I think you’d have to be a little bit panicked to even think of just walking away from a small bag of your most needed supplies. You’re probably never seeing the cash again, and you could need certain items like an asthma inhaler or nitroglycerine almost immediately during a stressful event. Women’s clothes doesn’t have pockets so that’s why we have bags in the first place, I get the idea that some of you guys are extremely poor observers. And I don’t know what planes the rest of you have been flying but on the planes I’ve flown, there is always a significant wait to deplane unless you’re in first. Plenty of time to grab the wallet, medicines, etc. without holding anybody up. Hysteria is a bigger problem in an emergency, and from skimming the responses up ahead of me, I’m a little worried about some of you.

  59. Common sense suggests that if it doesn’t fit in your pocket, or at most be held easily in one hand, it has to stay. If you have a jacket handy, I think that’d be okay too. NO opening of overhead compartments or fiddling around with getting a bag out from under the seat.

    Here’s my take: everything you absolutely need should be in a pocket or a money belt that goes under your clothes, around your ankle (like joggers use), or otherwise doesn’t require you to open an overhead compartment or be pawing around under the seat, and especially not anything that would make you take up more space in the aisle – a small travel wallet like the one I have from the days of physical tickets that can be easily held in one hand, or something similar, would be OK, as long as doesn’t have any sharp edges that would rip the slide. If I need to carry any electronic documents with me, they go on a memory stick which either goes in my pocket or (if I’m using one) the travel wallet.

    And @augias – unless you play a flute or something else really small and it fits under the seat in front of you or in a jacket pocket, either buy a properly engineered case and check it, buy a seat for it (like some cello players do), or FedEx it ahead to your destination, and in an evacuation, leave it. I have really reached the end of my patience with twits (acoustical guitar players, I’m particularly looking at you) who think their instrument is the centre of the universe and take up an entire overhead bin on a crowded flight. You’re entitled to no more overhead bin space than I am (unless, of course, you buy two tickets or are also using part of a traveling companion’s space as well, that’s fine), and in an emergency it’s just like any other inanimate object – expendable.

  60. Ha, so many people here thinking they can judge the severity of a situation, within a few seconds, after impact, by looking out of their window with limited vision.

    And it just amaze me how people try to signify the importance of their belongings, and to de-signify the threat of their behavior to others’ life. This is plain selfish.

  61. @peachfront – in a security-threat situation, sometimes you are directed to take your carry-on with you. That’s usually a case where either the threat isn’t an explosive, or the authorities are working with intelligence that suggest any explosive will take several minutes to detonate and be obvious to anyone around you that that’s what you’re doing.

    But everyone else here is talking about situations where you’re using the slides, over-wing exits, and/or tail cone exit, and have to operate under the presumption that the plane is either on fire or could be at any moment. If you’re leaving the plane on stairs, you’ll be advised if you have to leave your carry-on bag on the plane.

    As for the “Women’s clothes doesn’t have pockets so that’s why we have bags in the first place” (your words) argument, not buying it. Women’s khakis and pants have pockets just like men’s do, as do many women’s jackets. Or keep your ID/cash/credit cards in a pouch you wear under your clothes (look on a good travel accessories website for lots of examples.) Or keep essentials in a small bag in the seat-back pocket that you can grab without opening the overhead bin or digging around under the seat, and can then carry with one hand without taking up any more time or space in the aisle. Even a small purse could meet that description.

    And yeah, I realize sometimes this can seem a little excessive, but flight – even as safe as it is – is basically an unnatural act. You’re climbing into a long, thin metal tube (or, if it’s an A380, a two long, thin metal tubes stacked together) attached to tanks filled with extremely flammable liquids and flinging yourself into the air, and (thankfully very, VERY rarely) you, and (and this is the salient point here) everyone around and behind you – may have only seconds to get out of said metal tube before succumbing to toxic fumes or drowning. I don’t think it’s that much to ask for my fellow fliers to take a few minutes to think about having those few absolutely essential items you might need without slowing down others, especially since you really only have to do the thinking part once and then implement the same plan every time you fly.

  62. @Craig, since you’re not a woman, why don’t you take a woman’s word for it instead of saying you “don’t buy it”. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about and you sound like a condescending mansplainer. My number one complaint about women’s clothing is that it doesn’t have pockets, has fake “decorative” pockets or has tiny, little, insufficient-to-put-anything-in-them pockets. I try to carry as small a purse as possible because I hate them, but sometimes I have to – because there are no pockets in my clothing! And I’m sure as hell taking it with me in an emergency – it has my wallet, phone, passport and keys. It fits over my shoulder and under my armpit, so I’d still have 2 free hands *and* my most important possessions. Just like what you guys have in your pockets.

  63. @Danny Thank you! pretty ilustrative, Not sure if it was enough for the ignorant that maybe still doesn’t know how his lil’ laptop can ‘hurt somebody’.

  64. A very good reminder to have your wallet and mobile phone on your person when flying. While you can’t take your belongings surely they can’t fault you for taking items in your pockets.

  65. First of all, there is no reason in this teenage did not have a cloud backup of your computer files. I can’t imagine that anything that’s on and was computer can’t be replaced. Also, grabbing a Coke is fine. Stopping to pull out bags and things is probably too much. It’s so funny to see how people think everyone should be prosecuted for taking things with them. You people think laws can solve everything. And yes, I NEVER turned off my phone when it was “against the rules”. Sorry, but I don’t follow foolish “rules”.

  66. @Brian, they’re not “rules”, it’s a law, and you don’t get to decide which ones are foolish and which ones make sense. Yeah I agree with you that cell phones on was probably stupid, but if you can’t follow crew instructions as the law says, either change the law or don’t fly.

  67. If its a life and death situation, i dont think people would bother with their valuables… However the video does not depict a life-and-death situation.

    thus common sense would entail grabbing your bag/carryon/laptop if you have a moment, and not leaving your valuables – that are too precious to check – at the vagaries of the plane. And from the video, they had lots of time waiting in an orderly file to vacate the plane, time enough to get their stuff and leave (safely) as you acknowledge – they cant all push and shove to leave at thesame time!

    I’ve lost too many valuables on planes to leave my stuff there if i can help it. Airline staff wont let you back on the plane afterwards to look for your stuff yourself, they’ll look themselves and sometimes (most times for me) come back with “sorry sir, we didnt see it there”. even though you tell them the exact seat number / bin you left your vaulables. minutes before.

    I think you should post alongside this the article where a a dude left his ipad, the airline staff stonewalled him, he reported to the police, activated the tracing device on his ipod the next day, and traced it straight to an airline employee’s house. The dude denied it of course, till the police showed him the search warrant, and the trace…

  68. @peachfront. yeah, im worried about some of them too… seems to me like it wouldn’t occur to them to get stuff they might need in an emergency during the significant wait to deplane. They’ll just stand there like traumatized zombies waiting till its their turn to deplane… Either that or the ones saying that have never actually flown a plane, and thus never ever experienced the wait to deplane, much less in an emergency situation through the side doors… If i was ahead of BOP and he slammed the bin on me trying to get some of my stuff while we were all standing waiting anxiously to deplane, it would be an REAL emergency exit for him… with a bleeding broken nose.

    I quite agree with Jonathans quote
    “I’ve read that for the US Airways flight that ditched in the Hudson and for the Asiana crash at SFO, it took months for all of the belongings to be returned. If people could be reassured that their belongings *would* be returned very quickly to them, we wouldn’t see as much of this.

    Let me put it this way: say you’re a tourist coming to America, you’re suddenly in the middle of an evacuation, BUT you don’t see anything *immediately* wrong (no fire, smoke, etc.) You know that your carry-on has very important stuff (medicine, money, travel documents, etcetera). If you leave it, you don’t know when you’ll get it back. Guess what – you’re grabbing your bag.”

    guess what, people in the video did just that… AND they all got off safely. THEY were there firsthand to judge the severity of the situation, and everyone made a safe deplaing. Its appalling how people sit at home in the comfort of their homes and judge the deplaing process even though they have no inkling of what actually transpired on the plane, or the severity of the situation.

    really appalling.

  69. @Mike. Like its a rule. scratch that. like its a law to take only one bag onto the plane? Then you see people taking a carryon, an oversized baby-supply bag, an enormous handbag, a bulging laptop bag, and a DSLR bag on…? laws??? Have you ever flown a plane????

  70. @Danny. Great video. but do you know if you are sitting at the back, you cant leave the plane until the people closer to the exit, and in front of you have left???? unless of course you intend to shove them out of the way, trample the ones who wont be shoved, or float over their heads to get to the exit first then kick them out of the way so you can jump out first….

    So if you figure you have 2 minutes before you are able to leave (due to the position of your seat) and it will take you 20 secs to get some stuff you really dont want to leave on the plane… and getting your stuff wont endanger anyone? say you have the last seat on the plane? If opening an overhead bin when you have plenty of time will kill people, you’d be hearing of fatal casualties on the news every single time a plane lands and people prepare to disembark…… every single time. every single plane.

    Do you still think there’s no common sense involved? of course you could smash your window out with your feet, and jump out the window before everyone else… 🙂

    or wait, you wont touch the stuff you absolutely need, you’ll wait 2 mins then leave the plane, and then face the fact you may never see your valuables/medecine/documents/emergency supplies again? (and if this happened when you flew to say South Africa, Cuba, China etc, you’d be in a strange country with no documents/medecine/supplies because you had 2 mins but decided not to touch that bin – Do you know what happens to aliens without papers??) Just because the airline says so… The same airlines that said in the past that using cellphones in planes/tablets will crash a plane – yet today they offer you internet service for a hefty fee in flight???

  71. wow–what a lot of smugness and hubris.
    But, this discussion reminds me of something that happened in Stockholm last Fall. I was doing the “roof walk” in which you are hooked onto a line with the others, like in rock climbing. They tell you that you are NOT to take pictures with a cell phone unless you are on one of the safe platforms. Regular cameras are fine, but no cell pics. Why? Because studies show, and their experience has confirmed, that people have so much of their lives in their phone, they will instinctively lunge for it if it falls. A camera? No. But a phone–we’re all going over together! I just thought that was really interesting.

  72. I quite understand why some put their carry-on and personal items ahead of their safety and the safety of those around them (fear of needing those items or not being able to replace them) but the simple fact of the matter is that plane emergencies and crash landings are highly unpredictable. No-one, not the pilots, the cabin crew, the emergency responders, nor the passengers, have any ability to forecast what will happen next. Just because you are not on fire one second doesn’t mean you won’t be in an explosive fireball the next (or subject to toxic fumes, unexpected whiplash movement, etc etc).

    The imminent and overriding of all other priorities need to is get everyone off and away from the aircraft IMMEDIATELY – no and’s, if’s, or but’s. Fire and ambulance services will be on route almost immediately (and if it is a remote area crash, you can always go back to the aircraft if it didn’t catch fire or explode after a safe period of time has past). They will sort out keeping you warm, organising any medical needs you have (Hospitals have drugs you know), and with the massive crisis management teams such events create, you will get all phone calls, passports and travel documents, and all, other needs sorted out for you.

    Basically, there isn’t a real justifiable reason that holds water to do anything other than immediately leave the aircraft. If it isn’t on you, leave it. You will either get it back or you’ll likely kill yourself or someone else because there never was any time available to worry about these things.

    I also agree with those who highlight the sensibility to wear/keep flat enclosed shoes and non-melting/non-flammable clothing for take-off and landing (the period of greatest risk for a crash). Likely you’ll never be in a aircraft emergency, but you’ll be thankful you did those two things if you are. I wouldn’t recommend changing into aircraft PJs until after level flight (and taking them off before landing) for similar reasons.

  73. It is troubling that people think that there will be 2 minutes to wait before evacuating the aircraft. As soon as those doors are open, and on a jet aircraft there are usually at least 6, there should be no one left on the aircraft after 90 SECONDS.

    No pilot makes the decision to deploy the slides lightly, if they do then there is a strong possibility for something to put the passengers lives in danger. And that could happen at any time. As MOI stated, the classic example is British Airtours Flight 28M. The pilots didn’t even realise how bad the situation was. A flight that had almost exactly the same circumstances as the US Airways flight above was Air Canada Flight 797. People knew there was smoke on the aircraft before they landed, yes, but I don’t think any of them would have realised that almost as soon as the doors were opened that the cabin would burst into flames.

    The ONLY people who would be anywhere near qualified to make an assessment of whether the emergency situation would be pilots, flight attendants or air accident investigators who are on the flight. But each of those people also know how important it is to get off the aircraft as soon as possible and I can’t imagine any of them taking a bag down the emergency slide. Taking any sort of bag down the slide itself is dangerous because it could tear the slide, and throwing it from the door takes up a few valuable seconds and would likely destroy your precious laptop/netbook/camera anyway.

  74. I keep my keys, my phone, and my wallet on me at all times. In an emergency, that’s all I need.

    I’m glad there are so many FAA-trained passengers commenting on this thread who know so much better than the folks that are paid and trained to keep us alive. While you stay on the plane trying to figure out how many seconds it’ll take to grab what’s important, I’ll be sliding down and away from the plane while your bag or coat got caught on an armrest and blocked everyone else from escaping in time and die in the plane from an issue you could tell was actually happening.

    PS I’m so happy you don’t mind putting the lives of those flight personnel at risk so that you can grab your stuff. Maybe after two minutes, they should jump out and leave those people fumbling with their shit to their own devices.

  75. would love to see evacuation sheriff Greg, or anyone for that matter, try and stop me from grabbing my coat or carry-on.

    One size does not fit all. Laws were made to be broken and interpreted. They are not black and white.


  76. So funny here that so many people blindly trust the FAA and would gladly leave their things behind hoping to get them back.
    I prefer the laws of common sense. Something most people who post here don’t have.

  77. @Brian – “would love to see evacuation sheriff Greg, or anyone for that matter, try and stop me from grabbing my coat or carry-on.”

    And I would love to see you try to stop me from running you over if you are in my my during an emergency evacuation. Hint – You won’t.

  78. “Laws are made to be broken?!” I really hope Brian spend some serious time in jail. Maybe he could use the time to rethink his incredibly selfish philosophy. People like him are a large part of what is wrong with the world.

  79. @Brian L:

    “And I would love to see you try to stop me from running you over if you are in my my during an emergency evacuation. Hint – You won’t”

    Sweetie, I would stop you with one brisk slap to your bitch-ass face…and then make you carry my luggage!

  80. haha!! 🙂 sounds like a lot of shovers and tramplers in this post lol… FYI, we havent invented teleporting lol, until then, even in emergencies, there’s a wait time to deplane lol, unless of course you pay the extra bucks for the emergency escape seat :)))))

  81. and airline workers are underpaid, so it wont hurt to leave all those valuables on the plane for them to find later and decide what to return and what not to return. Relax…. they’ll be going for a good cause!! 🙂

  82. At least in this day and age of selfies and videoing everything, we or our families will have evidence of those who contributed to our or our loved ones deaths so we can sue their arses for wrongful death if the multitude of bags taken delayed evacuation.

  83. There is actually a deeper reason people do this. studies show that in stressful situations people go into a state of shock and auto pilot (no pun intended) where their brain attempts to normalize the situation by doing what one normally does. It is entirely subconscious…there have been reports of plane crashes where people grab their luggage before exiting a plane.

    Not saying it is right but it is what we instinctively do…

  84. Those saying people were standing around anyway so they had time to grab their stuff, a plane is designed to evacuate in 90 seconds or less even with half the exits working. The video takes more than 2 minutes and you see people standing around waiting to deplane because likely those in front of them are also figuring “it takes 5 seconds to grab my stuff”. Let’s agree to disagree. Hopefully none of those who place more importance on their laptop and their medications than their life and I never have to be on the same plane or in this situation. To each his own. I personally couldn’t care less even if my life savings are on my carry-on. I’m thinking of leaving the plane “5 seconds” earlier to make it back home to my 4-month old son. That’s all that matters to me.

  85. okay, if you guys want to make sure your luggage buried with youself, feel free to do it but make sure you f*ck off from my evacuation way, my only essential is my life. I am pretty sure I could get my money my phone and my passport back as long as I could secure myself alive.

    If you are sure these things or a laptop with full of memories could carry forward afterlife.

  86. Wow .. this is the most ridiculous thread and comments I’ve ever seen.

    For those of you saying yoiu’re taking your carryon, I have to tell you, I hope you’re not on my plane. If you are between me/my family and and exit and I see you trying to get your bag out of the overhead, I will physically move you and evacuate myself and those I care about ahead of you and your stupid possessions.

    Absolutely disgusting – I don’t care about your photos and data and research. back it up. Upload it to the cloud. There have been MANY cases where seconds made the difference between life and death evacuating planes. If you’re not evacuating as fast as possible, I will see to it that either you do or you become a non-factor.

  87. I really could not care less about your laptop, research, louboutins, or memories. At all. I care about people’s lives. If I dare see anyone grabbing at things blocking people in I would physically lift and throw them down the damn slide. People are so selfish it’s insane.

  88. there is only one acceptable thing to grab on the way out: the small child that happens to be sitting next to you. And pictures in your wallet don’t come close to counting.

  89. Nothing seems to have improved if the video of the British Airways engine fire at Las Vegas is anything to go by. People who stop to grab laptops, car keys, roll aboards,passports blah blah blah are not only putting their lives in jeopardy but everyone else behind them who has to wait whilst they make sure their precious memories are selfishly preserved. Keep your passport, portable hard drives, car keys in your pocket be a little uncomfortable during takeoff.
    You can replace most things and if you are stranded in a foreign country after your method of transport has been destroyed, well I think that in those circumstances the airline and your embassy would be of just a little useful.

  90. I always have my passport ,phone, local currency and travel documents in my jacket pocket. My shoes never leave my feet on a plane so I’m ready to go in an emergency. I don’t agree with the people saying, oh but I have holiday photos on my laptop. This is your safety you are talking about. You can not possibly know the full extent of the situation, it could be worse than you think, get up and go. Be ready for an evacuation at all times. In a urban environment (i.e. landing at an airport) you will need almost nothing as the emergency services will be there and you will be ushered inside.

    Obviously it is different if you crash land over the ocean or near in a wilderness situation (which is unlikely), in that case grab only essential survival equipment such as water bottles and a jacket. I always have a small survival kit in a waterproof bag and a 1l water bottle ready to go next to me on the plane so if I see something bad is happening and we are not near civilisation, I can grab them and go, that will take me one second and they are small so they will not get in the way.

    If your life is on the line only take what you need to live, which in most cases is nothing at all.

  91. Also, the people saying, yes but If i do have time cause the exit is blocked so i might just grab my stuff… NO! There is a chance that in the rush you drop you stuff and trip people up, or your bag may block the way. If it is not, and be honest with yourself here, 100% necessary for your survival of the situation leave it and get off the plane.

  92. Goodness me. What do the comments on this post tell you? Some people are so selfish, self-centred, and stupid it is unbelievable…

    What difference does it make if I take my bag? It’s only small… It’s valuable to me… You don’t know how long it took to compile that work… Blah! Blah! Blah!

    One person even says not to judge him as we don’t know him. Ummmm, yes we do; you’re a selfish prick.

    Crashed planes could explode. Split seconds could matter. Your split second could translate into minutes and death by fireball to the last people off. You know, like your slight touch on the brakes to look at an accident causes a ten mile tailback.

    So, yes we will judge you, you selfish, self-centred, narcissistic pricks.

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