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Airplane's exit door should not be difficult to open: survey

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : June 6, 2023 - 15:46

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A safety bar is set up across the emergency exit of the A321-200 aircraft that was opened before landing in Daegu Airport, on May 26. (Yonhap) A safety bar is set up across the emergency exit of the A321-200 aircraft that was opened before landing in Daegu Airport, on May 26. (Yonhap)

Despite the recent incident during which a passenger opened the emergency exit door of an Asiana Airlines aircraft before landing, most South Koreans think an airplane's emergency exit should not be difficult to open, a survey found Tuesday.

According to a survey of 21,000 respondents by online poll platform Thepol, 44.8 percent (9,500 people) of the respondents said "An airplane's emergency exit door should be able to open quickly and easily during an emergency."

Meanwhile, 36.3 percent (7,600 people) of the respondents said "airplane emergency exits should be difficult to open," while the remainder 18.9 percent said "I don't know."

Currently, the A321-200 aircraft in which the door-opening incident occurred, does not have a separate lock for its emergency doors, as the aircraft mainly depends on interior and external air pressure difference to keep the door locked.

The survey also found that a majority of surveyed respondents positively viewed Asiana Airlines' decision to completely suspend the sales of seats next to the emergency exits.

On May 29, three days after the door-opening incident, Asiana Airlines had halted all sales of seats adjacent to emergency exits of A320-200 aircraft, on reasons that in-flight attendants cannot stop passengers in those seats from opening the door.

Nearly 6 out of 10 respondents selected the option that they thought the suspension of the particular seats was "part of a measure to prevent the recurrence of accidents, and seats that can easily open emergency exits should be left vacant as much as possible."

But a quarter of the respondents agreed that the seats near the emergency exit have spacious legroom, and the suspension of such seats means that good seats have been reduced for passengers.

When asked what kind of punishment the respondents thought was needed for opening the door during flight, some 70 percent said it should be very strong.

Meanwhile, 16.2 percent of the respondents said "The level of punishment should be somewhat low because the airline is responsible (for the situation) in not being able to predict unexpected situations."

On May 26, a 33-year-old man only identified by his surname Lee, opened the emergency exit door of Asiana Airlines A320-200 aircraft 213 meters above ground minutes before landing at Daegu International Airport.

Though the incident caused no death or serious injuries, at least nine people reportedly suffered from hyperventilation and were sent to a hopsital in Daegu.

The suspect in question is being detained by police as of Tuesday.