Leah Panapa: A fear of passengers, not a fear of flying

Opinion 10/05/2019

By Leah Panapa, Magic Nights Host.

I’m not a great flyer.

There is something about being in a flying tin can squished in with strangers trusting two other strangers at the pointy end of the plane that has always made me a bit nervous.

I am getting better and actually don’t mind turbulence after a very good friend of mine who works in the airline industry said turbulence won’t bring down a plane. She might have said it to calm me, so if that is a myth please don’t email me to tell me otherwise.. ha!

What does worry me is the passsengers.

I look around the cabin and just as we are taxing to the runway and the flight attendants are wrapping up the safety procedures, if there are people still on their phones and not paying attention, it worries me slightly.

Not because they are being rude, which they are, but what if, god forbid, there is an emergency, and we are all relying on each other – total strangers – to get off the plane.

One issue that has been identified as a saftey risk by the Federal Aviation Administration is the issue of passengers that have to evacuate a plane and insist on getting their bags.

Passengers who used moments before an Aeroflot jet crash landed earlier this month in Moscow to grab their possessions, thereby slowing the evacuation are far from an anomaly.

One passenger of that fateful flight in which 41 people lost their lives, has been identified and singled out for allegedly insisting on getting his backpack out of the overhead locker before evacuating.

His actions preventing those behind him from escaping.

Russian media reports have stated that no one behind him made it out of the plane alive.

Half the plane was on fire and people were grabbing their bags from the overhead lockers! Are you serious! There can’t be anything in your carry on that is worth dying for.

Sadly this guy is not alone. A recent survey by UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society found that 35 percent of travellers would attempt to bring their belongings with them in an emergency.

Maybe it is time for Airlines to remove over head bins?

Oh and by the way, the same man who insisted on getting his backpack while those behind him couldn’t escape the flames, complained to media afterwards that the airline failed to refund his ticket.


Leah Panapa is host of Magic Talk Nights.