Flight delayed for 8 hours after passenger opens emergency exit thinking it was the ‘toilet door’

A Manchester flight to Islamabad was delayed for 8 hours after a confused passenger opened an emergency door thinking it was the toilet door.

PIA Pakistan International Airlinesc.Alf van Beem [CC0]
PIA Pakistan International Airlinesc.Alf van Beem [CC0]

A flight from Manchester to Islamabad was delayed for eight hours after a confused passenger opened an emergency exit door thinking it was the toilet door.

The Pakistan International Airways (PIA) PK702 flight to Islamabad was preparing for takeoff when a woman tried to opened door L5, the door at the back of the plane on the left hand side thereby launching the emergency evacuation slide.

Then chaos ensued when passengers on the flight were then forced to leave the plane after the emergency chute was automatically deployed.

The flight carrying nearly 400 passengers was due to depart at 9:20pm on Friday but eventually left Manchester at 5am on Saturday. It arrived in Islamabad seven hours late having made up some time during the journey. Several other departures from Manchester were also delayed as a result of the disruption.

For some there was still further travel disruption. Some 38 passengers were not able to fly because the plane’s capacity was reduced once emergency measures were deployed. When an emergency chute is no longer on the aircraft, the reduced capacity is a legal requirement in case of an emergency evacuation.

A PIA spokesman said: “All passengers were provided dinner. The offloaded passengers were provided with transportation and hotel accommodation and will be adjusted on the next available flight. PIA regrets the inconvenience caused to its passengers due to this incident.”
 
The spokesman also told the Express Tribune: “The plane was parked on the runway when the airbag chute opened, so there was no threat of any kind.”
 
Questions are being asked as to how the woman was able to open it without the cabin crew stopping her. According to the English-language newspaper Express Tribune officials in Pakistan blamed a shortage of airline staff for allowing the emergency exit door to be opened without anyone available to stop it.