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Dear Anonymous Passenger: You Don’t Deserve that Exit Row Seat

Nik Loukas at InFlight Feed shared this image of an irresponsible fool onboard an Iberia flight. Whoever you are: You don’t deserve that seat.

This image highlights how little some passengers understand about the responsibilities that go along with the coveted extra legroom in the exit row.

We’ve all seen passengers treat the cabin badly, sit in ways they’d never sit at home, do damage to interiors which cost a fortune to develop and install. That’s really bad. But this is worse:

The cases next to the exit row in this picture, which this nameless nincompoop has confused for ottomans, contain items required for an emergency evacuation. The black and yellow tape means: CAUTION. Don’t mess with this. Don’t tamper with it in any way.

Don’t put your feet up on it!

It could be an emergency kit with supplies for slide rafts that would help you survive while you wait for rescue in the water. It could be spare life rafts–packed under pressure. It’s not a convenient footrest. It’s not something you mess with.

Don’t think it could ever happen to you? Great. It probably won’t, but that doesn’t matter.

Flying is only the safest form of transport because everyone along a very long and complex chain of stakeholders makes it so. That chain includes passengers. That means you.

Here’s the thing to remember when you choose to sit in the exit row: it’s neither a perk nor a privilege. It’s a responsibility.

When you sit in that seat, you agree to assist flight crew in the evacuation of the aircraft, should such an evacuation be required. Regardless of the circumstances. Whether you’re ready for it or not.

Can you handle that responsibility? Great. Prove it by sitting up and treating that seat with the seriousness and respect it deserves.

Do your part. Fly responsibly. Or don’t fly at all.

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