Disembarking flights are the worst. I’m not sure what it’s like to saunter around in the airy corridors of the first class section of an aeroplane, but in coach, space is just like the class it’s in: economic. While boarding a plane is almost always a breeze, the real battle is when you’ve landed on the tarmac and everybody’s taking off their seatbelts, ready to leave the plane the fastest way possible. People may be holding in their pee. Or they may be close to missing a connecting flight. Who knows? Who cares? When you're flying economy, you're going to be stuck waiting in a tight space between your seat and the seat in front of you, surrounded by people standing too close for comfort, for at least 10 minutes. You have nowhere to go.
People who have travelled by plane at least more than once may not question this order of business. But when you're a first-time flier, I can imagine how unbearable the wait is. It seems like that's exactly what a 65-year-old Chinese man identified only by his last name, Song, felt at the end of his flight from Jinai, northern China, to Putuo, southeast of Shangai, last week. The first-time flier just couldn't wait any longer to step out of the claustrophobic plane and breathe fresh air. In a move that terrified other passengers and crew, the man opened the emergency exit door next to his seat, according to Chinese media site the Paper.
“I pulled this handle and opened it,” Song, 65, said in the video report.
After seeing that there was literally no way for him to leave the flight through the emergency exit, he turned back. Afterwards, he was apprehended by plane authorities and ended up locked up in detention for 10 days, according to South China Morning Post.
In his defence, he said that he had no idea he wasn’t supposed to open the emergency exit. It's not really a convincing argument, given that all emergency exits always say exactly what you shouldn't do.
This isn’t the first time that someone opened the emergency exit without a legit reason in China: Just last year, a 25-year-old Chinese man leaving Mianyang airport opened the door just to get some fresh air and ended up opening the emergency slide in the process.