Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: Don't muck around during an emergency landing

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It's time for the industry to introduce a locking mechanism so overhead bins are shut down in the event of an emergency. Photo / Getty Images
It's time for the industry to introduce a locking mechanism so overhead bins are shut down in the event of an emergency. Photo / Getty Images

It's always a bit awkward, isn't it, that moment when the plane has landed and we all stand up at once to retrieve our bags from the overhead luggage. Suddenly, we're shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers reaching up and putting their armpits in our faces. The etiquette of who reaches where first is all a bit confusing.

One situation in which all confusion should be cleared up is when the plane has bellyflopped on to the ground and is on fire.

In the moments immediately after the recent crash landing in Dubai, many passengers paused to get their luggage from the overhead lockers before heading to the exit.

If I'm on a burning plane and you're between me and the exit - and you are trying to get your wheelie luggage down - I will go over you like Lomu over Catt. You won't be killed by fire, you'll be killed by me. Every. Second. Counts.

That Emirates plane exploded moments after the passengers and crew got clear - the only casualty was one brave firefighter, Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi, who was killed in the explosion. His sad demise notwithstanding, you could make an argument that the whole thing proves how survivable these incidents have become.

Top tip, travellers: If the crew are telling you to get off the plane and leave the luggage behind, it's because you could be about to die. Move fast. Every. Second. Counts.

It's time for the industry to introduce a locking mechanism so overhead bins are shut down in the event of an emergency.

- NZ Herald

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Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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