What to do if a commercial plane starts to go down

Remember these steps

No one wants to think about the possibility of a plane you’ve just boarded going down. That’s why we briefly read the instruction manual that’s in the chair in front, and half listen to the air stewardess as the odds of the worst case scenario is 1 in 11 million. During uneventful flights, everyone feels they will know what to do in a crisis, but for most people panic tends to take over and you might forget what you need to do. Our experts have put together a few steps you need to remember if your commercial plane started to go down, or make an emergency landing.

Prepare for the crash

Once you are made aware that your plane is starting to go down you need to get organised. Start by removing any sharp objects from your pockets or around you, such as keys, pens, and pencils. Also, loosen your belt and remove any ties, scarves, glasses and high heels as these objects could get tangled in the plane or hinder you when you land.

Find out where your exits are

When boarding a plane you need to know where the closest exit is to you, and where a backup exit is. If you establish where the exits are you will know where to go, and as some exits cannot be used in water, having a backup exit is essential. When you find an exit remember to count the number of rows between you and the door, this way you’re prepared for any obstacles if the plane fills with smoke and you have difficulty seeing the exit.

Leave technology behind

It can be sad to leave your possessions behind such as your phone or laptop, but your full attention must be on what to do when the plane lands. Dave Inch, a captain of a Boeing 787 used by airlines such as United Airlines and British Airways states, “If everyone is on the same page and understands what is expected of them, people will be working together to get everyone out. Don’t waste your time taking video with your camera, listen and pay attention. If you survive with a video, it’s cool. If you die because you were more interested in taking a video than paying attention, it’s not so cool.”

Follow instructions from your flight attendants

Flight attendants have received extensive training for this possibility, listen to them as they have more knowledge about the situation, especially as to what everyone needs to do. Don’t open any windows or inflate your lifejacket unless your flight attendant has told you to do so, as the timing of inflating your life vest is important. Only inflate your life jacket when you are out of the exit doorway, otherwise, you won't be able to swim underwater to an exit when your plane lands.