I fly a lot. I guess I take flying for granted. I say a prayer just before take off and assume through the great safety record of American Commercial Aviation, I will arrive at my destination safely, though sometimes late.
However, I never take the exit row safety briefing for granted. Because I am tall, if I don’t have a First Class upgrade, I usually get an exit row seat and I am very aware of what I would need to do during an emergency landing to get me and others off the plane safely.
When you sit in an exit row, you need to speak and understand the language of the airline franchise. As in, if you are on a domestic flight you need to be in a position to understand instructions.
You are physically able to pull an exit row door. And you are neither intoxicated or under the influence of prescription meds that would hinder the quick escape of an emergency egress.
Yes I have asked flight attendants to remove people from exit rows before. Rude on my part, but responsible for my safety as well as my fellow passengers.
Back in 2003 on my way back from a 911 Firefighters Memorial event, seated next the head of security for Delta Airlines, we almost had a belly landing in Salt Lake City. We were at full speed at around 35,000 feet when our landing gear deployed. This is not a good thing as the speed we were traveling could have ripped the landing gear right off the plane. The flight crew was not sure the gear was down. We had to make a few slow passes past the tower and the co-pilot pulled the floor panels to look to see that the locking pins were in place. All was good and we made a safe landing. However, I took the potential event seriously and I was prepared.
I am writing this post at 3PM Pacific Time having just seen the news about the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, a 777 that crashed at San Francisco International Airport today. The initial survival reports at this hour look promising and I can see the exit row doors are opened and the emergency slides have been activated.
No matter the cause, this 777 crash at SFO could have been much worse.
I just saw that Facebook Sheryl Sandberg was to have been on the flight and chose a different flight at the last minute.
Update 8/11/2013: Asiana Airlines, the South Korean carrier that suffered a fatal jet crash in San Francisco(SFO) last month, plans to pay an initial compensation of $10,000 each to survivors.
The amount is to cover medical costs and transportation and the carrier may pay more after the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board completes its investigation into the accident, Lee Hyo Min, an Asiana spokeswoman, said yesterday.