Flight attendants' union calls on aviation industry, FAA to develop a solution so carry-on baggage does not hamper emergency exit situations
WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, the national president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants Lori Bassani signed a letter on behalf of the 28,000 members of the group to call for action regarding people retrieving carry-on luggage slowing emergency evacuations after a recent aircraft disaster in Russia.
"I am calling on the FAA to take action in ensuring the safety of passengers and crew members in the event of an emergency evacuation. This critical issue requires the attention of a dedicated working group to focus the aviation industry, as well as the public, on developing solutions to guarantee that carry-on baggage is not a barrier to safety during evacuations. As NTSB Chairman Sumwalt said, 'Things can be replaced. People can't.'"
Last weekend, 41 people died after an Aeroflot flight made a violent emergency landing and caught fire. It was reported that passengers had attempted - and were successful in some cases - in retrieving their luggage and slowing the evacuation of the aircraft and possibly contributing to additional deaths.
Bassani also cited passengers sitting on the wings of the "Miracle on the Hudson" airplane after the US Airways accident in 2009 in which its pilot famously landed the passenger jet on the Hudson River.
The union leader also explained that smaller seat pitches and baggage fees for checked luggage contributes to a more crowded air cabin.
"I believe this is a critical safety issue that can and should be addressed immediately," wrote Bassani. "APFA stands ready to help in any way necessary. Please let me know what steps you will be taking."
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