Sitting in Judgement


Imagine you are a passenger in a plane that is starting its takeoff approach. You are accelerating down the runway when the left engine catches on fire. The pilot heroically brings the plane to a rapid halt and commences the emergency evacuation procedures. There is heat, and fire, and smoke. People are panicking.

You are in the plane, perhaps in a middle row, with an exit 10 rows ahead, and 10 rows behind. For the moment you are trapped in the rush to the exits.

What do you do?

The answer: unless you’ve been in that situation before, you have absolutely no idea what you would do.

  • Perhaps you are incredibly calm, clearly recalling the safety demonstration from a few minutes earlier.
  • Or perhaps you are stressing out.
  • Perhaps you are choking.
  • Perhaps you are convinced you are going to die.
  • Perhaps you see that the people ahead are starting to move out of the plane and perhaps you think you may make it out after all.
  • Perhaps you take your shoes off.
  • Perhaps you even grab your luggage.
  • Perhaps you get out and have no idea what you even did, or how you made it out.

Thankfully the emergency that happened in Las Vegas a day ago was contained, and apart from some minor injuries to 14 passengers, no one was hurt. It was a good outcome.

But that hasn’t prevented some quick judgements from the Twitter doucherati, watching from the safety of their arm chairs.

Whilst most observers were praising the pilot’s responsive actions, and celebrating the safe evacuation of all passengers, here’s some comments from others:

Click through to those tweets and read the reply threads too – they get worse. And some even have follow up tweets where they ‘helpfully’ give ‘advice’ about the proper way to conduct oneself when in a plane that has an exploding engine. Thanks! I’ll bet those passengers are so thankful for the free advice they’re receiving.

I can imagine their conversations with loved ones later when asked how they are feeling:

‘well, the day started pretty badly, I was in a plane that caught on fire and had an emergency landing. I made it out safely in the end, but it was harrowing, and I thought for a minute there I was going to die…’

‘…but it’s OK, just after that some people on Twitter who had no idea whatsoever of what happened in the plane very helpfully provided me with an analysis of my evacuation process, and went the extra mile to generously prepare some advice for me to take on board for the next time it happens. So all in all it wasn’t such a bad day…’

The kindness of strangers.


  • Fuck’em. I know if I were in that situation, I’d be grabbing my laptop/shoulder bag. That’s WHY everything important to me luggage-wise is in that bag, and not the one in the overhead locker. I can always buy more clothes.

  • After the first person dropped to the ground foaming at the mouth and shaking from smartphone withdrawal symptoms, I think the airline would rush the process to return bags to people.

By Craig Bailey