But is it really possible to force open a plane door mid-flight? <small> Cover image via CNN Air Canada </small>
On Wednesday, 12 February, a 26-year-old British woman was sentenced to jail for two years for trying to open the door of a plane mid-flight
According to CNN, the woman identified as Chloe Haines was on a Jet2 flight with 206 passengers onboard. The flight was heading to Dalaman in Turkey from London Stansted Airport when crew members and fellow passengers had to stop the woman from opening the door mid-flight.
British low-cost leisure airline Jet2 chief executive officer Steve Heapy welcomed the sentence.
“Haines’ behaviour was one of the most serious cases of disruptive passenger behaviour that we have experienced,” he was quoted as saying by CNN yesterday.
He said Haines was now banned for life from the airline.
She was also fined USD110,000 (RM455,000) after her “extremely disruptive behaviour” prompted two Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets to be scrambled to escort the flight back to London Stansted Airport
She was fined by the airline company after it calculated that the incident cost them USD111,409 (RM461,233).
The CEO said the woman had “caused distress for customers as well as our crew” and added, “We simply will not tolerate this on our flights”, reported BBC.
Prior to the incident that happened in June last year, the woman mixed alcohol and medication and claimed to have “blacked out”.
According to her, she “didn’t really remember what happened”.
She had scratched a crew member as she lunged at the door shouting "I'm going to kill you all".
According to BBC, a passenger later told police he “really feared she would open the door”.
The 26-year-old admitted to two charges of endangering the safety of an aircraft and assaulting a crew member, adding that “she’s ashamed” and “deeply embarrassed by what she did”.
While sentencing, Judge Charles Gratwicke said, “Those that are trapped in the confined space of the aircraft will inevitably be distressed, frightened, and petrified by the actions of those who in a drunken state endanger their lives. For some, it will be their worst nightmare come true.”
Is it really possible to force open a plane door mid-flight?
Every now and then we hear how a passenger tried but failed to open an emergency exit while the plane was cruising in the sky. Just imagine what would happen if someone did manage to open the door?
To quote Oliver Smith of The Telegraph, “It’s one of the nervous flier’s (numerous) nightmare scenarios. A potty fellow passenger makes a beeline for the emergency exit and yanks the door open, sending themselves, and any unsecured trolley dollies and holidaymakers, spinning into the stratosphere.”
In fact, the above British woman is not the first person to try. A few years back, a man tried to force open a Lufthansa flight’s door at 38,000 feet because he wanted to smoke.
However, it is simply impossible to open a plane door mid-flight!
To quote pilot and blogger Patrick Smith, “You cannot – repeat, cannot – open the doors or emergency hatches of a plane in flight. You can’t open them for the simple reason that cabin pressure won’t allow it.”
Basically, not even superstar Rajinikanth would be able to do it
Regardless of what you have seen in the movies, opening the door of a plane at normal cruising altitudes, despite how much you fuss with its opening mechanism, your every attempt is going to fail.
“Even at low altitudes, where cabin pressure levels are much less — even after six cups of coffee and the aggravation that comes with sitting behind a shrieking baby. The doors are further held secure by a series of electrical and/or mechanical latches,” Patrick explains.
A couple of years back, a flight passenger kept complaining about having a ‘window seat’ that showed nothing but a blank wall.
So a witty air stewardess came up with a brilliant solution:
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