On 11 Jun 2017 Easyjet U23246 from Ljubljana to London Stansted diverted to Cologne-Bonn over a "suspicious conversation". All passengers were evacuated using the emergency slides, see BBC Video.

This made me wonder why this is appropriate at all:

  • There was no imminent danger. It's an international airport, so surely they have at least one set of mobile stairs that could have been used in a safer manner?
  • Apparently nine people (of 151) needed medical attention after using the emergency slides. That's 5%!
  • If it had been an incident and police needed to enter the aircraft, wouldn't they arrive on mobile stairs anyway?
  • Apparently the airplane sat for 30min before evacuation anyway, so it wasn't even faster to use the slides.

I'm just wondering what prompted them to deploy the slides in the first place. I'm under the impression that they need to be replaced upon use and hurried evacuation didn't seem to be necessary in the first place.

As a passenger, I think a lot of people might get argumentative over not having stairs. Especially when small kids and disabled people (e.g. dependent on a wheelchair) are on-board. Not to speak of the economic and public relations impact...

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You should ask is this is a standard procedure rather than ask if this was appropriate, because to assess whether it was appropriate or not, you need to get all the details, not only what was said by BBC to its public. Saying there was no imminent danger without first checking everything is fine is not possible. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jun 12, 2017 at 18:55
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ It is well documented that using the emergency slides would lead to injury for a small percentage of passengers (see for example the Qantas 32 documentary). This is a factor to be considered by the pilots before initiating an evacuation. However, why were the slides used and who initiated the evac in this instance, we'd have to look at official reports when they are available. $\endgroup$
    – kevin
    Jun 12, 2017 at 21:20
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ "Also, going by your logic, imminent danger is present at every point in time": That not what I meant! But everything that seemed initially suspicious must be clarified, and everything else discovered in the meantime. Maybe when the police checked the passenger past, they discovered he was traveling a lot to "potentially suspicious" locations, whatever it means. Until this is clarified, it's suspicious. Actions can be appropriate, even if spectacular. I don't know, but you don't either. That's just what I wanted to point out. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jun 13, 2017 at 8:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ there is a rapid disembarkation using stairs, or emergency evacuation using,well, any means possible. Why was one chosen over the other, I am sure the capt has a very good and solid reason for it. Decision to evac is never taken lightly. The paperwork alone will make any captain think hard and fast... $\endgroup$
    – Radu094
    Jun 14, 2017 at 7:44
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ "There was no imminent danger". The crew action revolves around this and the elements they had at that time. From this article in French: at least a backpack was blown up by police and three passengers were arrested. The airport was closed for 3 hours. It means the crew elements should have been serious enough for the possibility of a terrorism operation, and the need for preventive actions. It started with several passengers discussing about terrorism in the cabin. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jul 15, 2017 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


If an evacuation is called for the quickest method must be used, in this case slides. No exceptions no questions. Passengers can complain after they are out but they are not given a chance to argue during the evacuation, force can be used to clear an argumentative passenger so that the other passengers can get out. The 30 minute delay was before the decision to evacuate, it has nothing to do with the actual evacuation. Full scale evacuations require no more than 90 seconds for the aircraft to be certified.

What the police need is completely irrelevant to the evacuation.

Slides can be inspected, repacked, and reused, they are test deployed at regular D maintenance inspections.(maybe C as well. D is every 6 years C is every 2 years) Emergency doors are also routinely opened for testing.

A passenger needing medical attention could very well be nothing more than a stubbed toe, light scrape, or being out of breath.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "...in this case slides. No exceptions no questions...." Do you have a company policy or regulation you can reference for this statement? Evacuations frequently result in broken bones (i.e ankles or foot). $\endgroup$
    – jwzumwalt
    Jul 4, 2018 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ Emergency procedure is just that, you don't sort of evacuate or change mid emergency, the public requires simple on or off. Disemplaning(via stairs) is not evacuation, why one was chosen over the other is usually a matter of urgency but someone decided that evacuation was the appropriate action, considering disemplaning tends to take 20 minutes on a good day. Official policy evacuation procedures are included at the beginning of every flight, on land you use the nearest exit, on water over wing exits. Somewhere in ticketing is an agreement regarding legal authority of the crews instructions. $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Jul 4, 2018 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ The maximum egress time of 90 seconds is a legal requirement. fsims.faa.gov/WDocs/8300.10%20Airworthiness%20Insp%20Handbk/… CHAPTER 77. EVALUATE FAR PART 121 EMERGENCY EVACUATION/DITCHING PROCEDURES/DEMONSTRATIONS $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Jul 4, 2018 at 3:40

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