False Alarm

December 11, 2009

in Airplane Stories

On a recent flight from KWI to Dubai, I was lucky enough to be assigned a window, emergency exit row. This seemed great as I am over 6 feet, and was looking forward to being able to stretch out my legs and sleep for the 1 1/2 hour flight as I had just spent the previous 36 hours trying to get out of Iraq. As the aircraft (a “new” A320) started to climb on takeoff, the alarm on the emergency door next to me started to sound. The other passengers and I started pressing our call buttons; as the flight attendants came, they started hearing the alarm as well. The lead purser ended up in the aisle asking me what the problem was. All I did was point at the door – he then went to the flight deck and came back with the excuse “That is normal, but you can move if you are not comfortable.”

I moved to the back of the aircraft (as close to the black box as possible) and spent the remainder of the flight on edge. Thankfully, I was able to catch a different airline back to KWI on my next trip. To put the icing on the cake, the state-run newspaper had an article regarding that airline the next day, proclaiming it had the worst safety record in the Middle Least…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kad December 16, 2009 at 1:52 am

I believe the EU maintains a list of airlines that are NOT allowed to fly into European airspace for this very reason. Nothing like a little airplane equivalent of the automobile 'door is ajar' to keep you on the edge of your seat, so to speak, eh? There are even specific planes owned/operated by some carriers that aren't allowed to fly into EU space.

Why would you care about being close to the black box? Were you hoping to latch on to it at it was torn from the plane at 300 miles per hour so they could find your body? Just wondering. The black box is (fairly well) protected by itself. Touching it isn't like touching Arthur's Sword though. It confers no added protection beyond it's stoically designed confines.

Luckily, you didn't have to experience free-fall. Try a reputable airline next time, if you can find one in that region.


Abdul August 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Will, Kad, I guess the best airlines now are Emirates, Qatar and Etihad… More way better than any US airline, KLM, Luftantha, Airfrance…


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