A passenger on a flight bound for Pakistan caused a seven-hour delay after she opened an emergency exit before the plane took off from Manchester, England, reportedly mistaking it for a bathroom door.
Pakistan International Airlines flight 702 was about to depart for Islamabad Friday night when the woman opened the rear exit, causing an evacuation slide to deploy, according to the airline’s statement, reported in Gulf News.
The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Passengers were taken off the plane and given dinner, according to the statement, before the flight took off and eventually arrived safely in Pakistan, the Independent reported. Because the aircraft’s evacuation capacity was reduced after losing the slide, some passengers had to stay behind and take a later flight.
A woman passenger on PIA plane at Manchester airport mistakenly opened the emergency exit door thinking it was the toilet – to make matters worse the evacuation chute also deployed though it shouldn't have – the flight which was about to depart was delayed by 7 hours pic.twitter.com/toPyho3buZ
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) June 9, 2019
The airline provided the waylaid passengers with transportation and a hotel stay, according to the statement, but at least one complained in a tweet that their luggage was subsequently left behind in Manchester.
The mishap caused the delay of at least one other flight, from Islamabad to Copenhagen, prompting a tweeted apology from the airline and a warning to would-be slide deployers.
“We regret the delay of PK771, which is an unfortunate consequence of the delay of PK702,” PIA tweeted. “We strongly urge passengers to follow security instructions as such mishaps result in inconvenience of hundreds of other passengers.”
PIA’s chief executive has ordered an inquiry into the incident, The Independent reported.
While the passenger’s mistake might be baffling, it isn’t without precedent. Just last year, a man on a domestic flight in India was arrested after trying to open an emergency exit midflight. He, too, said he was looking for the bathroom when other passengers wrestled him away from the door.