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Thread: Are carry-on bags a safety issue?

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    Default Are carry-on bags a safety issue?

    There have comments on this site in the past in regard to passengers retreiving baggage during emergency evacuations.
    Now the Royal Aeronautical Society has issued a report on this topic
    https://www.aerosociety.com/news/rae...uation-report/
    http://now.eloqua.com/es.asp?s=96691...3b5855bac48a#1

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    Senior Member brianw999's Avatar
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    I make sure that my cabin baggage conforms with the maximum permissible size. It would help if the airlines stopped passengers carrying on huge suitcases, some of which exceed the size of my checked baggage !

    As far as "educating" passengers concerning the retrieval of carry on luggage during an emergency is concerned.....well.....all I can say is, it is difficult to "educate" stupid ! All I can say is that I weigh 23 stone. If I am behind you in the evacuation queue and you stop to retrieve carry on baggage then you can expect to be pushed back into your seat or trampled to the floor. Male, female, I couldn't care less, I intend to survive !
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


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    I completely agree the airlines are their own worst enemies with the cabin baggage mess. Though of course there may be method in the madness because people are quicker to board now, so they can be sure to secure overhead locker space above their seat.

    I personally think it’s a sensible policy to carry one’s keys, passport, wallet, phone and other essential stuff on one’s person for take-off and landing. Perhaps airlines could make this kind of recommendation and couple it with the prohibition on carrying out other items. It’s hard indeed to expect people not to want to retrieve essential items. These days the loss of personal documentation is a massive inconvenience. We have to work around human nature and think of persuasive ways to deal with instant tendencies in an emergency situation. Flat outright condemnations of “normal” behaviour aren’t going to work, nor are threats of violence by one passenger against another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HalcyonDays View Post
    .........These days the loss of personal documentation is a massive inconvenience. ...........
    Unnecessary loss of life is, however a far greater inconvenience. 5 extra seconds in a cabin that is filling with smoke can be the measure of the difference between life and death. Part of my old job as a paramedic involved taking part in a Fire Service aircraft evacuation exercise. The aircraft certification exercises that you see on YouTube are a pussy cat run compared to the Fire Service exercises. They involve hot air, thick white gas which, while not being poisonous is completely opaque. Now, I knew that I wouldn't be put in danger of losing my life but it was nonetheless an unpleasant experience with total blindness caused by the white smoke and difficulty breathing with the hot air. The feeling of disorientation was terrifying and I was really glad to get out of it. I don't want to even think about being in the real thing with the vastly higher temperatures and poisonous gases that are involved. Again, as part of my job I was privy to a view of the photographs of the Birmingham Airport fire. It wasn't pretty.
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


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    Quote Originally Posted by brianw999 View Post
    Unnecessary loss of life is, however a far greater inconvenience. 5 extra seconds in a cabin that is filling with smoke can be the measure of the difference between life and death.
    But how often is that ? In most of the high profile cases in recent years the evacuations have been sedate and barely life-threatening. In any case, I’ve learned that even in those more serious cases there’s usually a queue and back-up of people waiting to jump, so it’s inevitable people will reach up and grab their belongings as they wait, especially as they begin to contemplate the loneliness of a foreign airport and country without documents, money and a way to communicate with anyone. At that stage you can’t argue with people and order them to stop it. It’s better just to proceed with the evacuation.

    Possible ways to stop this are not to allow passengers to bring their bags on in the first place or have lockable overhead lockers keyed to the seatbelts-on signs. I’m sure there are technical and regulatory objections to the latter. The former isn’t going to happen either. Airlines are not in the business of deterring passengers, especially if they now charge for checked bags. Another answer is for the airlines to emphasise what has to be done in stronger terms with graphic video and instructions in their safety demo. That’s not going to happen either, we all know that too, as people’s feelings need to be protected.

    I think we have to accept the reality of human nature : unless you remove the problem by removing the issue, some or most people are going to take their hand baggage. How many lives have been lost by passengers taking their hand luggage with them anyway ? I know that’s not the point, but the wide circulation of all these evacuation videos in recent years demonstrates to the herd that actually it is both safe and OK to take your hand luggage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HalcyonDays View Post
    Possible ways to stop this are not to allow passengers to bring their bags on in the first place or have lockable overhead lockers keyed to the seatbelts-on signs. I’m sure there are technical and regulatory objections to the latter.
    I see nothing that would prevent the installation of a locking mechanism controlled from the cockpit and FA stations, to be included in the evac procedure. It would have to earn certification of course, but so do the window shades. I suppose it would have to have a manual override, using a specialized key on each individual compartment, in case it locked unintentionally. And any compartments housing emergency equipment would have to be exempted. I can't think of any other concerns.

    The problem, as always, is the lack of will. Airlines do not want the expense of something that will very rarely—if ever—be needed. If they had any say in the matter, there would be no third or fourth hydraulic system (they already did away with the third and fourth engine on overseas flights). So the will has to come from the regulators, in the form of hindsight, foresight and precautious wisdom. That often seems to be missing as well.

    In the meantime, people drag their bags down the chutes, everyone gets off ok and the chutes remain inflated. It's easy to think the current situation is sufficiently safe, especially if you lack imagination and favor the bottom line...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I see nothing that would prevent the installation of a locking mechanism controlled from the cockpit and FA stations, to be included in the evac procedure. It would have to earn certification of course, but so do the window shades. I suppose it would have to have a manual override, using a specialized key on each individual compartment, in case it locked unintentionally. And any compartments housing emergency equipment would have to be exempted. I can't think of any other concerns.
    One concern might be panicked people trying with all their might to open these "locked compartments" thus delaying an evacuation even more. A crowd is hard to predict, a crown in distress in a small space might as well be a wounded cheetah, anything can happen.Mind you, if I were King, I'd ban overhead compartments outright. If it doesn't fit under the seat in front of you, it goes in the belly. Boggles the mind the number of problems that would solve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATLcrew View Post
    One concern might be panicked people trying with all their might to open these "locked compartments" thus delaying an evacuation even more. A crowd is hard to predict, a crown in distress in a small space might as well be a wounded cheetah, anything can happen.Mind you, if I were King, I'd ban overhead compartments outright. If it doesn't fit under the seat in front of you, it goes in the belly. Boggles the mind the number of problems that would solve.
    I think a bit of pre-flight briefing on the fact the, in the UNLIKELY event of an emergency evacuation, overhead compartments will be locked and inaccessible until the captain has determined that there is no longer a risk to the safety of the passengers might suffice for most people to give up that futile endeavor and get off the airplane with their lives. Sure, there will still be idiots...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I think a bit of pre-flight briefing on the fact the, in the UNLIKELY event of an emergency evacuation, overhead compartments will be locked and inaccessible until the captain has determined that there is no longer a risk to the safety of the passengers. Sure, there will still be idiots...

    That is a great idea Evan. You can be sure that everyone that even heard, let alone understood the flight attendants briefing, will abide by this and get off the aircraft in an orderly fashion. Especially when their passport, money and brand new MacBook Pro is in the overhead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I think a bit of pre-flight briefing on the fact the, in the UNLIKELY event of an emergency evacuation, overhead compartments will be locked and inaccessible until the captain has determined that there is no longer a risk to the safety of the passengers might suffice for most people to give up that futile endeavor and get off the airplane with their lives.
    I don't think so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    ...I can't think of any other concerns...
    I can.

    Here's a REAL cool one.

    The wiring that operates the automatic locking feature short circuits and damn the bad luck, the circuit breaker malfunctions at exactly the same time, and then the plane catches on fire.

    Stranger things have happened, like center fuel tanks going boom, battery banks getting really hot and engines slinging the occasional blade or disk here and there with bad results.

    And then to make it MORE interesting- we have ATL's theory that also comes into play.

    Sucks how almost everything involves a trade-off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    That is a great idea Evan. You can be sure that everyone that even heard, let alone understood the flight attendants briefing, will abide by this and get off the aircraft in an orderly fashion. Especially when their passport, money and brand new MacBook Pro is in the overhead.
    I'm not exactly sure what you and ATL are imagining here... So, the plane is on fire, the cabin crew have made in clear that the overheads will be locked, they are locked, CANT BE OPENED, and yet you believe passengers are going to stand there, banging and clawing on the overhead IN VAIN to get at their bags while everyone is panicking to get tf out of there? I seriously doubt that.

    Grabbing your bag during an evac is what I call a 'why tf not' manuever. It's a crime of opportunity. The overhead is unlocked, I've got a second, the bag is right there, so why tf not. That's the mentality. Sure, there are very good reasons not to, but some people are idiots.

    All they need is an answer to 'why tf not', i.e. a reason tf not to do it.

    Now, if you lock the overheads, they go "oh, there's a reason tf not to: I can't". The opportunity no longer presents itself. They will concentrate on getting out alive without it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I'm not exactly sure what you and ATL are imagining here... So, the plane is on fire, the cabin crew have made in clear that the overheads will be locked, they are locked, CANT BE OPENED, and yet you believe passengers are going to stand there, banging and clawing on the overhead IN VAIN to get at their bags while everyone is panicking to get tf out of there? I seriously doubt that. Grabbing your bag during an evac is what I call a 'why tf not' manuever. It's a crime of opportunity. The overhead is unlocked, I've got a second, the bag is right there, so why tf not. That's the mentality. Sure, there are very good reasons not to, but some people are idiots.All they need is an answer to 'why tf not', i.e. a reason tf not to do it. Now, if you lock the overheads, they go "oh, there's a reason tf not to: I can't". The opportunity no longer presents itself. They will concentrate on getting out alive without it.
    I think what Bobby and I are imagining is that the same people who will stand right under a bright yellow baggage claim sign wondering where baggage claim is probably won't act rationally when in a panic. Call it years of experience, call it a general lack of faith in humanity, take your pick.Now, if the bins are not there in the first place...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I'm not exactly sure what you and ATL are imagining here... So, the plane is on fire, the cabin crew have made in clear that the overheads will be locked, they are locked, CANT BE OPENED, and yet you believe passengers are going to stand there, banging and clawing on the overhead IN VAIN to get at their bags while everyone is panicking to get tf out of there? I seriously doubt that.

    Grabbing your bag during an evac is what I call a 'why tf not' manuever. It's a crime of opportunity. The overhead is unlocked, I've got a second, the bag is right there, so why tf not. That's the mentality. Sure, there are very good reasons not to, but some people are idiots.

    All they need is an answer to 'why tf not', i.e. a reason tf not to do it.

    Now, if you lock the overheads, they go "oh, there's a reason tf not to: I can't". The opportunity no longer presents itself. They will concentrate on getting out alive without it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNxz2hhSXuY I am sure ATL has seen these, but for the rest of you. Even, you watch them a couple of times would you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I think a bit of pre-flight briefing on the fact the, in the UNLIKELY event of an emergency evacuation, overhead compartments will be locked and inaccessible until the captain has determined that there is no longer a risk to the safety of the passengers might suffice for most people to give up that futile endeavor and get off the airplane with their lives. Sure, there will still be idiots...
    People at great don't pay attention to briefings. A better procedure would be to announce that you start the descent and that the lockers will be locked for approach and landing, and when you are passing 10000 announce that the lockers are now locked and will be unlocked once the plane is parked in the stand. Even if it doesn't work great in the beginning (some people don't pay too much attention to PAs either), with time it will become routine and everybody will know the chore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    People at great don't pay attention to briefings. A better procedure would be to announce that you start the descent and that the lockers will be locked for approach and landing, and when you are passing 10000 announce that the lockers are now locked and will be unlocked once the plane is parked in the stand. Even if it doesn't work great in the beginning (some people don't pay too much attention to PAs either), with time it will become routine and everybody will know the chore.

    So should they spend the money and give up the weight for the overhead bin locks or for the magical TOPMS system that a bunch of you so desire?

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    Isn’t there safety equipment in a few of the overhead lockers ? What happens there ? Separate control/electrical circuits ? What could go wrong ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    People at great don't pay attention to briefings. A better procedure would be to announce that you start the descent and that the lockers will be locked for approach and landing, and when you are passing 10000 announce that the lockers are now locked and will be unlocked once the plane is parked in the stand. Even if it doesn't work great in the beginning (some people don't pay too much attention to PAs either), with time it will become routine and everybody will know the chore.
    But evacs often happen on take-off as well. Honestly, I don't think people are going to hang around trying to open a locker that won't open while in a panic to get out of there.

    Quote Originally Posted by HalcyonDays
    Isn’t there safety equipment in a few of the overhead lockers ? What happens there ? Separate control/electrical circuits ? What could go wrong ?
    As I said, you would have to exempt those.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby
    So should they spend the money and give up the weight for the overhead bin locks or for the magical TOPMS system that a bunch of you so desire?
    Nah, they should wait until AFTER some preventable tragic consequence occurs and then make it a top priority. You know how the system works ; )

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    BTW - a locking solenoid, like the one on your car door, could be sourced by the major airframers for less then $10 apiece. Compartment doors would have to be redesigned and replaced. Wiring and logic added, and controls. Altogether not such an expensive proposition for a $70M+ aircraft, even as a retrofit. Certification wouldn't be too difficult, as this isn't a mission-critical thing, nor does it pose the circuitry threat that a power-hungry addition, like IFES would. When's the last time your car door locks burst into flames?

    But hey, if you don't consider people dragging their bags down the chutes to be a problem, then forget it (and no more complaining about it here), because this is probably the ONLY way to stop that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    But evacs often happen on take-off as well. Honestly, I don't think people are going to hang around trying to open a locker that won't open while in a panic to get out of there.



    As I said, you would have to exempt those.



    Nah, they should wait until AFTER some preventable tragic consequence occurs and then make it a top priority. You know how the system works ; )

    So let us look at a typical 737. Seating between 140 – 175 more or less depending on the airline. So to make the math a little bit easier, let’s say 150. How many overhead bins? 75 ish? Let’s say 50 again to make it easy. So you have 50 electric locking mechanisms, the wiring, circuit protection and some means to override the system. Now the big $$! The STC to have them installed. I like ATL’s idea much better. Get rid of the overhead bins. Make everyone check their big stuff, (airline not allowed to charge for reasonable baggage). Everyone’s carry on must fit under the seat in front of them. And you know what? People are going to do the same shit with the stuff under the seats in an emergency. You can’t fix stupid humans, look who they voted in as President!

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