A Chinese man was detained and fined $11,000 after he opened the emergency exit door of a plane as he felt “stuffy” while waiting to get off the flight.
The 25-year-old, who was identified only as Chen, was waiting to exit the flight at the Mianyang airport in the southwestern province of Sichuan, China, when he decided to open the emergency exit to get some fresh air.
Chen, who was returning from a trip to Hainan, an island province in China, pulled on the handle of the emergency exit door without being aware it was the escape route, he claimed.
He said he soon realized he had activated the escape slide, and “panicked.”
“Because it was so stuffy, so hot on the plane, I just pushed down on the window handle beside me. When the door fell out, I panicked,” he told ThePaper.cn reported, later translated by the South China Morning Post.
Reports stated the flight crew informed the local authorities about the incident and Chen was detained for 15 days for the unauthorized removal of aviation facility. In addition to that, he was also fined 70,000 yuan (US $11,000) to cover the losses of the airline.
The unidentified airline company pledged its complete support in the security agencies’ investigation. The airline stated in its statement all the passengers that board the flight are informed about the safety instructions before they take off. It also said the passengers were made aware of the emergency exists beforehand and it needed considerable force to open them up.
Interestingly, this is not the first time in recent years a Chinese traveler was involved in opening emergency exits on planes.
In April 2016, a 30-year-old bulldozer driver ignored warnings by cabin crew and opened an emergency exit door to get some fresh air just before the flight took off from Shenzhen airport in the south of China.
The passenger was reportedly traveling by air for the first time. The man, who remained unidentified, said he opened the door because he was worried about getting airsick. He was later detained for a week and fined 500 yuan (US $78) and the flight was delayed for an hour.
In another similar incident, a man claimed the emergency escape handle was a handrail and pulled on it in 2015, after which he was given 10 days of detention.
Another passenger was given a similar sentence for hatching open an emergency exit while waiting to exit a flight at Nanjing airport.
In response to the latest strings of complaints, China’s civil aviation has reportedly imposed a string of penalties, including flying bans in addition to existing fines, on travelers who were blacklisted.