What To Do When Emergencies Happen On An Airplane
Photo Credit: Photo credit: Daniel Kist

Photo Credit: Photo credit: Daniel Kist

What To Do When Emergencies Happen On An Airplane

airplane , Travel Tips
Jasmine Osby
Jasmine Osby Aug 18, 2023

There are plenty of things that can happen while on an airplane. Most people have nightmares about stinky feet hanging in the walkway or dirty lavatories. However, you’d be surprised how many people have no idea what to do when an emergency happens on a plane. 

Recently, an American Airlines flight leaving North Carolina experienced a pressurization issue while in the air. Although the plane landed safely, the incident left flyers terrified. Now, many travelers are wondering what to do if a similar incident occurs on their next flight. 

Here are a few tips on what to do if an emergency happens on an airplane.

Cabin Pressure Compromised

Airplanes travel extremely high so the cabin pressure must remain stable throughout the flight. When this doesn’t happen, things can get dangerous. 

​”Any time the cabin pressure is compromised, we have to descend as fast as possible because there’s no oxygen up there,” Lisa Cannon, a former Air Force pilot who now flies for Delta, told The Points Guy. “We’re trained on that.”

Flight attendants and pilots are trained on what to do if the cabin pressure fluctuates while flying. Known as rapid decompression, the drastic drop in oxygen levels can lead to passengers passing out, becoming unconscious, and having impaired judgment. Airlines call it the “time of useful consciousness.” Once the aircraft reaches 35,000 those onboard have about 30 seconds to put on their oxygen masks before they pass out.

The thought of the cabin pressure dropping is an excellent reason to pay attention during the flight safety tutorial before the plane takes off. Flight attendants will show you where the oxygen masks are located as well as how to put them on. To regain stable pressure, the pilot will lower the plane to below 10,000 feet.

Medical Emergencies 

Medical emergencies on planes can be tricky. There’s limited access to medication and there’s no guarantee a doctor will be on board. So many travelers panic during these situations.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), all U.S. airlines are required to have emergency medical kits onboard. These kits will include things like aspirin, IV starters, blood pressure medications, supplemental oxygen, and more that can be found on a plane. If you find yourself or someone traveling with you having a medical emergency, reach out to a flight attendant immediately.

Fire Onboard 

Airplane travel is not exempt from emergent situations. There have been several odd incidents that have happened on aircraft. From crazed passengers trying to open the door while in the air to cockpit fires, airplane rides can be some of the wildest experiences.

If by chance a fire erupts on the plane, start prepping for an immediate landing. This means tray table up, seat back upright and fasten your seatbelt. The pilot will land the plane and emergency service will be waiting for passengers when they arrive.

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