plane lock save lives

Asiana 214. British Airways 2276. Emirates 521. American Airlines 383.

What do each of these flights have in common?

Besides each flight being involved in a fiery evacuation, passengers were photographed and filmed on video carrying luggage away from the burning wreckage.

The danger of having passengers evacuate planes with their luggage cannot be overstated.

In the four events mentioned above, all took longer than the requisite "90 seconds or less" rule of evacuation.

The reason? Selfish passengers spent valuable seconds opening overhead bins in order to take their luggage off the plane with them.

Apart from public shaming or prosecution, the simplest solution to this problem is this: Locking overhead bins.

Installing locking mechanisms on the overhead lockers, and giving flight attendants control of the locks can be easily done. The locks could be controlled with magnetic locks like you'd see on security doors, or a sliding-pin mechanism.

The bins would be locked during taxi, takeoff and landing, whether there is an emergency or not.

They would be unlocked at cruising altitude, so people could access personal electronic devices, medicine and such. Then they would be locked again when it's time to prepare the cabin for arrival, after everyone has stored those items they took out during the flight.

Announcing the locking of the lockers could also deter passengers from trying to grab their bags if an emergency evacuation became necessary.

It's not just something airlines should consider, or implement on the newest planes only. It should be a law, and implemented on every plane that is under 20 years old.

Most airlines fly their planes until they're 20 or even 30 years old, so for safety's sake, this should be a no-brainer.

What do you think of this idea?

Written by Paul Thompson. First appeared on

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