Carry-on bags and evacuations don’t mix

On October 23, 2015, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the United Kingdom issued a safety notice to operators regarding passenger evacuation with carry-on baggage.

The safety notice say:

“Evidence from evacuations of aeroplanes since 2013 has shown that significant numbers of passengers attempt to take hand baggage with them when evacuating an aircraft. Such passenger behaviour can present a significant hindrance to egress, injury to other passengers
and damage to evacuation slides.”

After many high profile aircraft accidents, where the passengers and crew evacuated, there are reoccuring images of carry-on baggage being brought from aircraft. After the fire and evacuation of a British Airway aircraft in Las Vegas, many industry insiders and experts have been stressing how unsafe the retrieval of carry-on baggage is. They can slow the evacuation and damage slides when seconds can matter between life and death.

The CAA is reminding operators of the dangers and encouraging them to develop ways of preventing passengers from retrieving their carry-on baggage in an evacuation. This could range from better pre-flight safety briefings, changing shouted commands, or physically taking carry-on baggage away from an evacuating passengers.