South Korean airline Asiana Airlines, has taken the decision to stop selling certain emergency exit row seats following a recent incident where a passenger opened an emergency exit door midair, causing panic among the passengers.
The incident occurred on an A321-200 aircraft as it was approaching Daegu International Airport. Although the plane landed safely, a few passengers required hospitalization, but there were no serious injuries or damage.
In response to the incident, Asiana Airlines announced that it would no longer offer the sale of emergency exit seats 31A and 26A on its fleet of 14 A321-200 jets. The airline stated that this measure was being implemented as a safety precaution and would apply even if the flights were fully booked.
However, it remains uncertain how this action will prevent other passengers on the aircraft from attempting to open emergency doors.
The individual responsible for the incident, a man in his 30s, was arrested by authorities in Daegu and is facing charges of breaking aviation security laws. He allegedly opened the door due to feeling suffocated and being under stress after losing his job. If convicted, he could face up to ten years in prison.
“He felt the flight was taking longer than it should have been and felt suffocated inside the cabin,” said a Daegu police detective as quoted by media.
Jin Seong-hyun, former Korean Air cabin safety official noted that although passengers have opened emergency exits without authorization while planes were on the ground, this case appeared to be unprecedented.
A transport ministry official stated that man was able to open a door because the air pressure inside and outside of the plane were similar at the time.