Leave the Luggage Behind, Fly Safe

The images from the Aeroflot jet crash in Moscow are difficult to view.

First, a violent landing captured by a nearby security camera shows the aircraft almost bouncing as it touches the ground.  Then the fireball.  At first glance, it’s stunning to learn anyone survived.

While there are survivors, more than 40 people were killed.

What’s even more stunning, are reports that some passengers grabbed their carry-on luggage as they fled the inferno.  You don’t have to be an expert to know, such a move may have jeopardized their survival and the survival of their fellow passengers.

You can make your own judgements on that. You can also do your part to make your chances of survival are greater, in the unlikely event of an emergency.

When is the last time you paid attention to the safety demonstration?  When is the last time you read the safety information card?  Would you have any clue as to how to open a door if there’s an emergency evacuation?

I’m recalling an assignment that took me to an aircraft simulator.  I participated in an evacuation drill with flight attendants from Frontier Airlines.  A smoke machine billowed a mist into the cabin.  Flight attendants yelled at us to evacuate.   It was just a drill, but the anxiety in this mock disaster was palpable.  This was a controlled situation.  Imagine the chaos if this was the real thing.

The airlines are introducing new aircraft models all the time.  Not to sound like a teacher, but this is the time to pay attention.  As flight attendants say, the nearest exit may be behind you.  Look at the safety card, get an idea how to open a door and know where the exits are located.

Despite the headlines and the horrifying images, aviation remains a very safe way to travel.  But like driving a car, or riding in the front seat, safety is a responsibility we all share. Taking a minute to think about the “what if” could save your life and the lives of others.