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FAA bill would force the agency to craft 'real world' rules for airplane evacuations

If an airplane has to be evacuated, the Federal Aviation Administration says all passengers must be capable of getting out within 90 seconds. But critics say the agency's testing standards have not kept pace with the shrinking size of airplane seats — which means more people jammed into the cabin — or the changing composition of the flying public. U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth argues the FAA's current tests fail to take real world conditions into consideration. ( More...

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Calen Chrzan 14
Also before passengers take there seat they need to count the number of rows to their nearest exit so they can locate it quickly under all possible scenerios.
Instead of that, why not have every seatback have a little medallion or whatever indicating "this many rows to the nearest exit"? That way there's nothing to try to remember in the chaos of an evacuation.

Now that I think about it, this seems like a stunningly obvious idea. Not sure why it hasn't already been thought of by someone, anyone, in the industry.
David Bristol 3
That's a super idea!
Larry Toler 2
I always thought so. It was a great idea for airlines giving crappy service to passengers. I take safety and everything seriously (I had just gotten laid off as a contractor for KBR at a duPont plant in Richmond, VA, and they nuts about safety), and I previously had a back ground in Air Transportation so it was a cool opportunity at the time. It was a pay cut, but my wife still had a decent job.
Robert Mack 1
Andrew, that is a brilliant and “life-saving” solution! I’d endorse you as the FAA Administrator!
Larry Toler 1
I think I've seen a picture of the seat back on a Ryanair where to save cost, the safety card is actually on the seat back.
...probably considered, however a designated Exit or posted Exit for your Seat may not be the best option for your evacuate in an emergency. I count the rows of seats to the front and rows of seats to the rear Exits. This allow for 4 exits evacuation options for your Seat location.
Write it down in your hand. (8F 6R)
My wife and I always do this. Part of our boarding process. As we shall on Sunday and on Monday.
Calen Chrzan 8
I was taught to do this i an Aviation Safety Seminar. I once asked a lady next to me if she knew how many rows to her closet ewxit and she gave me a correct answer. She said her husband was an airline pilot and taught her to do it every time she gets on a plane.
Gregg Bender 4
I spent 20 years in the airlines. I count rows and locate the exits, too. I've taught my wife and (now adult) as well.
Greg Mermel 6
It's equally important in theatres and concert venues. Even if there aren't rows of seats (e.g., nightclubs), locate the exits.

Where I live (Chicago), we've had preventable mass deaths from both theatres (Iroquois Theatre fire, about 600 people) and nightclubs (E2, 23 people).
Bill Butler 4
Yes, but lately I'v been most interesting in locating the restrooms....
BZ cat napping allowed.
Number of Rows Front and Rear relative to your Seat.
Larry Toler 4
That's part of the safety brief I told pax as a flight attendant. Some people really don't care, unfortunately.
Gideon Yuval 2
When the briefing says "locate the exit", I am in my seat, cannot turn ariynd to check exits behind me!
Larry Toler 2
Sure you can. But I did like to entertain my pax. We're stuck in a small 50 seat tube for the next hour or two, we may as well all get along safely.
At the Tokyo Haneda collision earlier this year, EVERYONE left their possessions behind. As a result, EVERYONE got out and everyone survived.

Do we need to watch a bunch of burnt entitled bag-holders before common sense kicks in??

I wonder (and picking up the themes here) will the average north American porker actually FIT through an over-wing emergency exit? At some point, people HAVE to take responsibility for their lifestyles. Disability is another matter, but we can't fix everything on an aviation website.
Paul Byrne 9
But common sense isn’t very common
EMK69 33
I'd like to see a rule that if a person wants to delay evacuation and believes their luggage is more important than lives, we are absolved from criminal charges if we slap them upside their head and push them towards the evacuation chutes.
godutch 18
If they are in front of me on the way to an exit, I will be walking OVER them... one way or another.
Paul Byrne 3
I can get with that rule
Total Rockstar you are
Rene Kunz 2
@emk69: And this head first!
Jim Nasby 2
I think a reasonable compromise would be allowing carry-on pets to be taken with you. No way in hell I'd leave a cat or dog behind to burn or drown.
Then you can wait until the aircraft is fully evacuated, and then you and your pet can de-plane.
Paul Byrne 12
The reasonable compromise is don’t take your cat or dog on a plane
I take my dog on a train and he does not enjoy the experience
Animals need to know their territory and surroundings, leave them at home
The animals will get stressed and panic and many people could die
So no, your compromise is not acceptable
godutch 5
You endanger those behind you. I'm coming over or through you if I'm behind you.
Mike Mohle -1
Pets should be in a pet carrier, and placed in the cargo hold, only.
WhiteKnight77 2
But, but,'s an emotional support animal. By definition, all pets are an emotional support animal if one really looks at it. They do not need to go everywhere and anywhere with a person be it driving, riding a bus, or flying in an airplane.

Actual fully trained service animals are a different story, and I am referring to dogs with the proper temperaments, that should be allowed in with passengers.
James Hatfield 10
I keep passport, mobile and a credit card on my person so there is no need to grab any carry-on. Everything else is expendable.
Ken Webster 9
I've wondered for years if a fully loaded airplane would even be allowed by the local fire marshal if he had the authority to stop it. Certainly more crowded than any bar or dance hall I've ever been in.
Ichiro Sugioka 21
I am sure that Senator Duckworth is thinking about mobility impaired people like herself. She also has a good idea about what goes in a person's mind in an accident from her own experience.
godutch 21
No, REAL WORLD also means overweight people, assholes delaying evacuation while grabbing their carry-ons, and yes, the handicapped. Seeing videos of people coming off aircraft with their carry-ons in past aircraft fires absolutely makes me see red. Unbelievable - morons. Sad.
Larry Toler 6
But my life and belongings mean more than these other no brained peasants. Besides, I'm healthy, I can just grab a few things in a pinch while all these other people are freaking out. I'm about to call my lawyer, too so I can get some money for the anguish this inconvenient accident. The pilots and stewardesses must not know what they are doing for this to happen.
That is the mindset of these people and they think they are valid.
Paul Byrne 2
Yip let them call their lawyers from their coffin, if they are lucky enough to have been able to be identified
Larry Toler 0
Roger that. I did these exercises once a year for concurrent training, but we were using our own people who already have a background in aviation safety. I know studies have been done with volunteers in the past, but I don't think it was ever done with mobility challenged people. In my training, if I'm not injured, get the people out, but if I am injured, I need an ABP to get me off the aircraft and the FO takes over. I was on regional aircraft, mainline is a whole different story. No arming of the doors, no slides. Just me, two pilots and no more than 50 pax.
boughbw 3
I was traveling with my boss once. She had her husband with her to help with her motor-scooter wheelchair. Before the plane departed, the attendant visited with her. I was in the row behind and so could not hear. She turned back to me and smiled really big, "They said that if there was an emergency, they would not be able to evacuate me from the plane. I always thought that would be the case, but at least they were nice enough to tell me." She got a good chuckle out of it.
Larry Toler 0
LOL, that's wrong the FA to say that. There are procedures, but yeah, able bodied passengers will get off first. I've said some crass things as a flight attendant, but that's not good. I hope you reported that. It's bad service like that I became a flight attendant for a few years. Back in the day int my Air Transportation Specialty, I said I will never work with pax. I worked Air Terminal Operations where I did have to coordinate with cargo and pax. After that I was a shift supervisor for terminating air cargo processing where I had to work with the US Army for further transportation throughout our European command. My last boss spent most of her career in pax services (MAC terminal) and we used to rag each other. I ain't because cargo don't pitch. Years later, before she retired she was on one of my flights. She ragged me the whole way from STL to IAD. My pax got on earful that day. That was one of my best flights.
Nooge -5
I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help: Senator Duckworth

Thank you for your service and sacrifice Senator Duckworth
James Waits 6
Amazing to read the childish tripe from people that do not have a clue what is the issue here. It doesn't make any difference what kind of rule the FAA would make; people this stupid care nothing for others or the danger involved with evacuating an aircraft in the most dire situation! Two minutes people! That is all the time you have to escape the horror of being burned alive or drowning in the water! 2 minutes!!
Gideon Yuval 2
90 seconds! unless the pilots wastes that time "communicating with the tower" (cg. Asiana SFO crash)
A twin aisle aircraft with 3-3-3 seating meets the FAA 'Airplane Evacuation Criteria'. If it is then reconfigured into a 3-4-3 arrangement does it have to be independently retested or is 'self certification' accepted?
Senator Duckworth makes a very good point, look about you on any flight and there are all ages, all sizes, and varying levels of mobility. If nothing else maybe reassessment of evacuation protocols will halt the practice of loading more and more passengers into smaller and smaller seats with less and less legroom. We can but live in hope that, for once, common sense will triumph over corporate greed!!
Hmm - and the desire of passengers to travel ever-more cheaply??? It's not just the airlines who are involved in the economic balancing act.

I remember travelling in October 2000 with AA from ORD to SLC; the driver walked through the cabin, extolling the virtues of what AA had started that summer (yep, 24 years ago) with "more room through coach". Same old...
Of course there is always a compromise to be sought, having said that I think the airlines practice of cramming more and more people onto their aircraft is more to do with maximizing profits than any desire to 'please' their customers.
I noticed a joking tone in several comments, as if the possibility of an evacuation was remote. The problem is serious. Simulations of evacuations with disabled people should have already been carried out to define a protocol in these situations, which in fact do not even exist for access to bathrooms, dimensions and distance of seats, all becoming smaller and inaccessible to obese, tall people and other situations that occur during flights, especially long-haul ones.
In a panic situation like a fire raging behind you, the chances of you saying "No, please, you first, I'll wait here" are slim to none. The people who still have the survival instinct will survive. Those who've had it "taught out of them" may not.
Mark Lloyd 3
Seats haven shrunk, the pitch has, allowing more seats on a plane. Do a real world test...have people of all ages and body sizes.
Bill Overdue 9
While it is true the seats are a bit smaller, the "real world conditions into consideration' the Senator should be speaking about is the fact that 41% of people in USA range from "overweight to obese", with 10% being 'morbidly obese"!
Jeff Lawson 17
The Senator is also highlighting mobility-impaired passengers, such as wheelchair users. "They didn't have anybody with a disability. Of course they were able to evacuate the aircraft in 90 seconds,"
victorbravo77 16
Never, NEVER, try to grab your things from the overhead. Just get out. Nothing ... nothing is more important the lives behind you, or in front of you.

That thing in your carry-on is more important than the person behind/in front of you?

I just don't get it.
victorbravo77 10
Edit: "Never, NEVER, try to grab your things from the overhead in an emergency.
Larry Toler 10
There are many entitled people out here who think only they matter and rules don't apply to them. I see it worse in retail than I did as a flight attendant. It's not just we Americans. Assholes are worldwide, lol.
Bill Overdue 4
Yep, I dont get it either.
You'd be surprised what priorities are to some people!
Bruce Horwitz 4
I would not be surprised to learn that this has nothing to do with priorities. People in panic mode are not thinking through things. We've been conditioned to take our carry-ons every time we deplane so it's a semi-automatic action.

I'm sure that this isn't the case for some, just pointing out not everybody who grabs their bag is being an ass.
Calen Chrzan 2
I got to take part in an exit drill for an air carrier on a Lockheed Electra. It was fun and educational at the same time.
Stefan Sobol 4
Also have to remember that the evacuation standard (90 secs) is for using half the number of available exits.

Perhaps they should lock the overhead bins in the case of an emergency evacuation (triggered by slide deployment).

Also, maybe they should do pop evac drills from time to time. At random a plane pushes back from the gate or is taxiing in after landing and the tower calls a drill. All the passengers must evacuate within the time limit (timed by the tower). It would keep the airlines, the crews, and the passengers on their toes. Yeah, it would be terribly disruptive to the airline and the airport. But hey, safety first, right?
Bruce Horwitz 9
the risk to passengers, never mind the costs and disruptions, make this a no-go.
Not just the seat size, it's also the self-loading cargo.


Not sure why you only hear about seat pitch. I'm 6' and have never had a problem with leg room, only the narrow seats that make me touch shoulders with my seat mate.
As crew Members we are Trained , responsible and committed to doing our best to ensure safety.

Like if The passengers and the crew members don’t want to survive and overcome this obstacle.

Well, let’s be realistic and logical about this.
The FAA says , “ All passengers must be Capable of getting out within 90 seconds “

We know that and we have known this Rule for quite some time by now .

How can one imagine or implement “ all passengers Must be capable of getting out. Within 90 seconds?”

Things can deteriorate rapidly.That would definitely depend on how This Aircraft going to perform or act at the time of a forced emergency landing or the severity of a crash, that would be bracing for the unpredictable and the unknown .

In an aircraft there will be Physically challenged passengers, kids , babies , visually impaired passengers and people with disabilities.

Respectfully, FAA , we can study the past , but we cannot study the future.

“ when a crash pushes you to your Knees , you are in a perfect position to Pray “

Tomorrow is not born yet , let’s be positive and not worry about the future.
Calen Chrzan 4
They certinly acted quickly in that Japan Airlines accident.
Jim Nasby 7
Yet it took over 6 minutes after the plane came to a stop to deploy the slides, even though the cabin was filling with smoke. Obviously it's important not to make things worse by opening a wing exit to a burning engine, but 6 minutes seems like a hell of a long time to start an evac.
"please remain seated while we find the checklist and discuss which exits can be opened"
Brian Freeman 2
Perhaps we should ban ALL carry-on luggage and force pax to check everything. TSA screening would be much faster, boarding and deplaning would be much faster, emergency evacuation carry-on issues eliminated, etc., etc.
Oh, if only! Just imagine the howls of despair from the entitled nonentities.

Good thought, though.

I always fly with shirts which have two front pockets. These hold our passports and my phone. As another poster has stated here, everything else is expendable and I include medication in that.

Not sure what I would do if I was on anxiety medication!!!
Gideon Yuval 1
I have medically-necessary stuff in my hand baggage. And :

"breakfast in Pars, lunch in London, dinner in NYC -- luggage in Calcutta"!
Let's start with nothing on the floor in an exit row.
Peter Cabrel 1
Obviously whoever dreamed up this nonsense has never been through a self-service checkout.
Was this already a thing?
I flew today, and I guarantee you the passengers we had would take at least 10 minutes to get off in an emergency on a good day, and at least 75% are going to try to bring their carry on bags with them, no doubt….
John Day 0
Ninety seconds. Does that include time for the drunk passengers? How about a breathalyzer test? The higher the BAC the further you sit from an exit.
From the Senate floor and to the experience reality of a crash .
Easier said than done Mr. Senator . I do not believe the Senate member would fly in a crowded economy class.
He would be in first or business class , however the rules of an evaluation would apply to all .

Jump, jump , “ don’t take anything with you “

Therefore, don’t leave your humanity behind you , if one can save a life so be it .
WhiteKnight77 2
Senator Tammy Duckworth is a female. And while she may sit in business or first class, she still needs to get to the exit walking on two prosthetic legs.
I quote :
“ please remain seated while we discuss which exit will be opened “?

We certainly cannot have a passenger who doesn’t know the configuration of an aircraft and not having been certified as a crew member to take over an evacuation.

It may sound strange or weird, Believe it or not,That’s exactly how it’s going to be and implemented by crew members whenever necessary.

You Will see , crew members shouting and screaming:
Checking exit windows and looking for inoperable exits.
Each and every crew member would know what to do .
One has to take us seriously.

“ Exit blocked , Go the other way “
Turn around use other exit(s)
“ Fire go the other way , “ Debris , Do not use “

“ stand back , Stand back “
Jump , Jump , Don’t take anything with you .

Step on the wing foot first .

Help the people out .

“ if one has a better plan or preparation, please let us know how we can do it “
“ Blow , Blow O Winter wind , You are not as cruel as Men’s Ingratitude “

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

As we All know, the article discusses The importance of evaluating Passengers within 90 seconds , I’m not sure why some members are Talking ABOUT Saving some passengers and leaving others behind ?

Saving cats and Dogs , and leaving “ Those who are on wheelchairs, weak ,sick or obese ?”

Really ? What about your kids ? Imagine, a member of your family he/ she are on wheelchairs , sick , obese or older on that Flight , Would you want to Abandon them and leave them behind ?

Sorry Dad , Sorry Mom , Sorry little sister , I know your raised me , but Got to save My cat .

If one does not want to do something, one should not impose things on others.

That is not how a crew member is a Mind set , one cannot speak for us .

We are Trained and required to do our best to try to Save “ All Passengers “ whenever possible, to direct , organize and evacuate last making sure “ no one is left behind “

Like I said in the past , That would depend on the severity of a crash and other unpredictable and other factors or consequences .

One should improve is humanity before we can improve the 90 seconds evacuation .
Good actions are never lost .

“ Run Away from the Aircraft as far as you can “


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