Terror at 27,000 Feet: Exit Door on Aircraft “Blows Open”? Yeah — Right…

A FlyerTalk member practices opening an aircraft door in case of emergency during the Road Warrior Training portion of the 2010 Delta Air Lines FlyerTalk Event at the world headquarters of Delta Air Lines in Atlanta. Photograph ©2010 by Greg Johnston. Click on the photograph for more images from the event as photographed by Greg Johnston.

One thing I have learned about FlyerTalk over the years is that it is very difficult to fool its membership — and this story is no exception.

The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom reported on a passenger who allegedly claimed that an exit door of an Airbus A380 aircraft operated by Emirates “blew open” at 27,000 feet while on its way from Bangkok to Hong Kong, sounding like a “bomb had gone off” after hearing a “massive explosion” — but FlyerTalk members did not believe that for one minute, citing that cabin pressurization would not allow for that to happen.

The story goes on to describe passengers weeping in “terror” as a “petrified stewardess” — whose “face was drained white”, mind you — ran down the aisle screaming that the door was going to go before cowering behind her seat, and that one passenger was astonished that the flight crew chose to “stuff blankets and pillows” which were “stuck together with gaffer tape into the hole and continue the flight despite a horrendous droning noise and sub-zero temperatures.”

Really?

I especially liked the line about “You could see straight out into the atmosphere, 27,000 feet up.”

Um — unless there are clouds blocking my view, I could see “straight out into the atmosphere” every time I look out of the window of the aircraft.

A spokesperson for Emirates reportedly said the following in an official statement released to the press:

“At no time during the flight did one of the upper deck doors open. There was also no loss in cabin pressurization at any time during the flight. The whistling heard by the passenger was caused by a small difference between the inflated door and the lower frame striker plate when the door was closed. Blankets were placed around the door to stop the whistling. This is currently under investigation in conjunction with Airbus. Emirates have now fixed the problem.”

The words whistling and droning noise are apparently one and the same, incidentally.

Way to go, Emirates. You take a perfectly sensational story filled with drama and excitement and tone it down substantially to nothing more than a minor incident — which at best seems to be what it truly was, according to FlyerTalk members.

Oh, wait a minute — I forgot about the obligatory possible lawsuit part: the passenger in question “claims he suffered a chest infection following the ordeal and the pair had to cut short their £4,500 trip.”

Needless to say, no passengers were injured or killed during this flight; and no animals were harmed in the posting of this article to The Gate. Viewer discretion is advised, however.

The late Don LaFontaine should have announced the incident on the public address system aboard the aircraft: “In a world where aircraft doors fly open without explanation, payback — this time, it’s for real.”

Here is a similar incident as reported by FlyerTalk member Joe_EK:

“I was on a DXB-JED flight last year on the A380 in J and a similar (probably) thing happened.

The load in J was light and they moved all the pax from the rear cabin up to the front. I asked the FA what the problem was and was told that ”there was a slight noise disturbance, nothing to worry about.”

Another FA did have slightly more worried look.

But I heard nothing, saw nothing, and we were about to descend at the time so actually forgot about this incident.”

Wow — this incident evidently scarred Joe_EK emotionally for life…

…but if a similar incident has happened before, does this mean that the reign of “terror” aboard Airbus A380 aircraft operated by Emirates has not concluded? Will “petrified” flight attendants be “screaming” again on a future flight when the aircraft door blows off and kills several people on the ground 27,000 feet below upon impact? Will Emirates supply tissues for those weeping passengers?

Stay tuned — if you dare.

Where is that “rolleyes” icon when I need one?!?

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