Female passenger opens plane emergency exit mistaking it for the toilet, delays flight by seven hours
The doors of the plane were reportedly "armed," the mode in which the emergency evacuation slide is deployed as soon as a door is opened, which meant that the passenger's mistake saw the airbag chute on the flight deployed.
A flight from Manchester Airport was delayed by almost seven hours after one of the passengers allegedly opened the emergency exit after mistaking it for the toilet door.
According to the Independent, Pakistan International Airlines' flight PK702 was originally set to depart from Manchester for Islamabad at 9:20 pm on Friday, June 7, only for a freak mishap to see it take off close more than 7 hours later at 5 am.
The delay stemmed from a mistake by a female passenger who, despite the seatbelt signs flashing, decided to use the toilet and mistakenly opened door L5, at the rear of the Boeing 737-340 aircraft on the left-hand side, rather than the adjacent toilet door.
Furthermore, the doors of the plane were reportedly "armed," the mode in which the emergency evacuation slide is deployed as soon as a door is opened, which meant that the passenger's mistake saw the airbag chute on the flight deployed.
The cabin crew is usually seated at the emergency exit to prevent such an incident, and it is currently unclear why the passenger was able to open the emergency door even though they were likely nearby.
The PIA confirmed in a statement that a "passenger erroneously opened the emergency door causing the emergency slide to activate." Engineers had to be called to the scene to fix the airbag chute.
All passengers on board off-loaded as the repairs were being made. However, the incident meant the aircraft's evacuation capacity was cut and flight PK702 could take off only after 38 passengers volunteered to travel on a later flight.
A spokesman for the airline confirmed the changes in a statement and apologized for the inconvenience caused. "All passengers were provided dinner," they said. "The offloaded passengers were provided with transportation and hotel accommodation and will be adjusted on the next available flight."
The Independent reported that the flight arrived in Islamabad at 4:10 pm on Saturday, June 8, seven hours late, but that was not the end of the problems for the airliner.
One of the offloaded passengers took to Twitter to complain that their baggage had been left behind in Manchester.
"Pathetic service from PIA," one wrote after arriving in Pakistan's capital city. "I am one of the 38 passengers who voluntarily offloaded from PK702 so it can fly to Islamabad only on the condition that all 38 of us will get our luggage."
"First you did not give it to us in Manchester," they continued. "Then when we reached here today we were told half of our luggage is still at Manchester airport. A lot of us don’t even have clothes to wear here."
The mishap also saw several further departures delayed and PIA's chief executive, air marshal Arshad Malik, has ordered an inquiry into the incident.