Inflatable evacuation slide
Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

“People Were Yelling ‘Open the Doors’”: FlyerTalk Member in Smoke Filled Cabin Aboard Airplane

An emergency landing of a Airbus A321-200 airplane — which operated as British Airways flight BA422 from London Heathrow Airport — occurred at its destination of Valencia in Spain on Monday, August 5, 2019 after the cabin reportedly filled with smoke while the aircraft descended during the remaining ten minutes of the flight.

“People Were Yelling ‘Open the Doors’”: FlyerTalk Member in Smoke Filled Cabin Aboard Airplane

Some passengers who were aboard that airplane — such as Lucy Brown and Gayle Fitzpatrick — posted photographs and videos on Twitter.

The registration number of the airplane is G-MEDN; and the airplane itself is 11 years old.

“People were yelling ‘open the doors’,” according to this account posted by FlyerTalk member aikaterine, who was one of the passengers aboard the airplane. “Not sure why they took 10 minutes to open them. When they did people in the back few rows tried to run to the front of the plane, which was absurd.” The smoke aboard the airplane was described as “Kind of a slight rubbery burning smell. Definitely more smoke smell than like fog or water vapor stuff.”

Passengers Once Again Retrieving Belongings During an Emergency?

Reports circulated that some passengers once again took precious seconds to gather their belongings and evacuate with them; but was that probably because three hours later, they were permitted to return to the airplane to retrieve them?

Although that reportedly occurred, aikaterine noted that “I still bristle at the people who were 3 rows away from the back exit pushing towards the front, the ones who jumped onto the slide with luggage, and the people standing on the tarmac right beside the plane after jumping out. That will stay with me.”

What to Do in an Emergency Situation

Articles which I have written pertaining to the safety of passengers in relation to commercial aviation — and contain valuable information which could save your life during the unlikely event of an emergency situation — include:


No injuries have been reported as a result of this incident, thankfully — about which you can read more in this discussion on FlyerTalk, which includes photographs, additional information imparted by aikaterine, and reaction and commentary by fellow FlyerTalk members…

…but what can be done about people who place their belongings as greater importance over the lives of fellow passengers? Why do they not immediately move away from the evacuation slide once they have safely evacuated so that others may also evacuate safely?

Remember to never ever take your belongings whenever evacuating an aircraft in the event of an emergency, as you could very well place your life — as well as the lives of others — in unnecessary jeopardy…

…which begs the question: should passengers who evacuate airplanes with baggage during emergency situations be fined? Please be sure to read the comments of that article, which I wrote on Tuesday, 

Even the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States has tried to alleviate this significant problem — but with little success: “If an emergency evacuation is necessary, leave your carry-on items on the plane. Retrieving personal items may impede the safe evacuation of passengers.”

Articles which have covered actual emergencies involving airplanes in the past at The Gate include:

An evacuation slide was used during a simulation of a cabin filling with smoke at the world headquarters of Delta Air Lines. Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

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