After BA2276 Close Call, it’s Past Time for Passengers to Take Safety Seriously

Flames and dark black smoke emanated from a British Airways 777, operating flight BA2276, at McCarran International Airport prompting a rush evacuation of the aircraft and swift emergency response. The event, documented on social media, highlights a frightening trend by passengers to completely disregard clear safety instructions, even common sense or a natural response of self-preservation, by taking time to bring their luggage along.

The irresponsibility of those passengers cannot be over emphasised. They put themselves and others at risk.

This fire was severe. But for the quick response by crew to ask for help and by the airport to deploy fire rescue immediately, we could be reviewing the breakdown of a terrible tragedy.

During aircraft evacuations, every second counts. Taking even a moment to worry about anything other than getting out alive is madness. Holding up passengers behind you by stopping to collect items from the overhead bin is irresponsible beyond belief.

Escape slides were designed to hold people jumping to safety, not people and their possessions. They can puncture. They can tear. They are no more than specially treated fabric inflated under high pressure to create a firm surface for a limited time.

The reality is that aviation can only do its best to establish procedures, train staff, and develop infrastructure to keep passengers safe. Aviation does so. The rest of the responsibility to survive a tragedy is up to passengers themselves.

In an aircraft cabin crew are in command, responsible for the safety and security of those onboard. Their orders must be obeyed. Failure to do so could result in death for you, your loved ones, and other passengers.

We can only commend the BA crew and the emergency response team at McCarran Airport for their excellent handling of this situation. Passengers, however, did not all respond well. The images of passengers ambling through the tarmac with, in some cases, two pieces of large luggage prove that common sense does not always prevail.

The only priority should be to respect the clear instructions from crew to leave everything behind and get out alive. Things can be replaced. People cannot.

When flying, fly responsibly.

Marisa Garcia

After working for sixteen years in aviation, specializing in aircraft interiors design and aviation safety equipment, and getting hands-on with aircraft cabins in hangars around the world, Marisa Garcia turned her expertise into industry insight. She has been reporting on aviation matters since 2014. Every day, she's putting words to work.

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1 Comment

  1. […] forced to open that exit row door, crawl through a cabin full of smoke, don their lifejacket, jump off a slide, find themselves standing on an aircraft wing wearing lifejackets waiting for rescue, or sit in a […]

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