A flight from Beijing to Xiamen was cancelled earlier this week after a female passenger opened the emergency exit reportedly just out of curiosity.
The passenger, whose name was not identified, has now been placed under a 12-day detention and may face a hefty compensation, and even prosecution afterwards.
The troublesome passenger is removed from the plane. /Beijing News Photo
According to the Beijing News, the incident occurred on Flight MF8118 of Xiamen Airlines which was about to take off at Beijing Capital International Airport. At around 11:30 a.m. local time, the flight attendant told the passengers at the 48th row next to the emergency exit about the safety rules when the female passenger from the window seat in the 49th row reached out to pull the exit handle without permission.
The evacuation slide on the left wing of the plane was then deployed, resulting in the flight cancellation. The 113 passengers on board were transferred to other flights that day.
A staff member of the airlines told the newspaper that the passenger said she just wanted to see what would happen if she touched the “forbidden handle”.
But curiosity isn’t always a good thing. The misconduct has cost the airline at least 100,000 Yuan (14,701 US dollars) in examination costs, repairs, installation, arrangement of passengers, among others. At present, direct and indirect losses caused are still under assessment.
The passenger may also be asked to pay the fees under Regulations on Civil Aviation Security of China, which says, “stealing, destroying or moving survival equipment of an aircraft is not allowed; disrupting safety and order in an aircraft is not allowed… anyone violating the regulations shall be subject to compensation.”
It is not the first case of mistakenly opening plane’s emergency exit in China. In 2016, a passenger was reported to have done so and pay for the losses of 34,000 Yuan; and in 2015, another passenger compensated for 35,000 Yuan.
“This could be the most expensive attempt,” a Chinese netizen jokingly commented.