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The passengers sitting on the overwing exit doors are expected to operate the doors in times of emergency, with only a verbal instruction. Is that enough?

Q. Why can't we have a designated area in the airport where a setup of emergency doors are kept and the passengers are trained and evaluated there before being alloted the seats on the emergency row. It can be short 2 min course, where passenger actually opens the door and puts it aside.

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There have been instances which highlight that proper training is required for passengers Soource:

  1. Passengers will frequently open an exit as soon as evacuation begins which may result in them evacuating into danger. This occurred in the Ryanair engine fire in Stansted Airport in 2002, where passengers evacuated themselves onto a burning wing, despite airport fire services personnel shouting at them to return inside the aircraft and evacuate via a usable exit. Source

  2. Another hazard in the use of overwing exits is them being improperly opened (usually a result of passengers in these seats not paying attention to the verbal briefing provided pre-departure, or not observing the opening instructions on the safety card and on the exit). The majority of overwing exits involve the passenger physically removing the hatch from its frame and disposing of it outside on the wing without blocking the exit. Research conducted at the Cranfield Institute in the UK Source

Above situations taken from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overwing_exits#Hazards

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  • $\begingroup$ In my country some airlines sells those seat for extra money, because they have extra leg room. And usually elderly people buy those seats. Sometimes there are people barely able to walk sitting next to emergency door. I agree what youre saying, we should check if those passengers able to open that doors in an emergency. $\endgroup$ – Ali Erdem Sep 22 '18 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ I honestly don't think the "2 minute training" (or 2 hour) would matter, people do a lot of weird stuff when they panic. The physical act of opening the door is not difficult, the training to think calmly in an emergency is something that would take weeks or months. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Sep 22 '18 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ Even trained crews panic, like this crew screaming and yelling after a loss of cabin pressure. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Sep 22 '18 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ If the exit row passengers didn't go to the training (not enough time, spent it eating/drinking/shopping, didn't know they were supposed to, just didn't bother, etc...), what would you do? Leave the row empty (bumping passengers if the flight was full)? Is that really an improvement over untrained passengers? $\endgroup$ – Zach Lipton Sep 23 '18 at 5:46
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    $\begingroup$ @ZachLipton I've seen passengers sitting on emergency rows who were un-cooperative during their briefing. The cabin crew were quick to change their seats. $\endgroup$ – Firee Sep 23 '18 at 14:31
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Former TWA here.

Emergency exit seats used to only be given to passengers who are ready, willing and able to assist in case of an evacuation. They could not be assigned in advance, the passenger had to be asked and evaluated in person by the boarding agents, who would have been held responsible if a not-able passenger was to be seated in any of those rows/seats. This used to be the rule, it was deemed that safety was more important than selling seats.

Maybe the rules have changed since?

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    $\begingroup$ I think I've seen, when buying a ticket online, popups that have you click a checkbox confirming that you can operate the emergency exit. I guess that fulfills the same (legal?) requirement, but probably much less effectively. $\endgroup$ – Maxpm Sep 29 '18 at 3:25
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How much training, for how long, would you require? Do you realise how many different door designs there are, there are hundreds? The facility would have to be massive. And who'd pay for it? Another $100 surcharge on every ticket just to pay for the facility and instructors would probably be called for.

I'm sure there are more reasons why this is not a good idea.

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  • $\begingroup$ I under stand the complexity involved if one were to be 100% precise. However my though was simple, just one or two generic emergency doors, maybe A320 and B737 types. Just the physical act of operating the emergency door would give an adrenaline rush to the passenger, along with clapping by fellow passer byes. $\endgroup$ – Firee Sep 23 '18 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Firee that'd then not be training, but entertainment. Wouldn't help at all in a real emergency. But if you think it can be made commercially viable, I'm sure there'd be airports willing to rent you some space in the departure lounge to set up something like that. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Sep 24 '18 at 4:31
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In short because accidents do not happen. Airline accidents are incredibly rare, so training the average passenger for them simply does not make sense.

It's easy to overestimate the number of accidents by looking at news articles about a crash. But look at the following picture:

Flightradar screenshot

You can hardly see Europe. There's a bit less in USA, as it's night there at the moment this screenshot was taken. But in short: none of these flights crashed. It's thousands of flights per day, and accidents typically happens once or twice a year. Training for it doesn't make any sense.

Training for how to get out of your car after an accident would make much more sense - yet very few do it...

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  • $\begingroup$ Hard to see Europe, indeed. But objects on map are smaller than they appear... $\endgroup$ – Rob Vermeulen Oct 31 '18 at 21:20

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