It is not uncommon for new employees to make a few mistakes on their first day on the job, but for a British Airways steward, his mistake ended up being way too costly for the airline.
The unnamed employee accidentally activated a plane’s emergency slide, resulting in a cost of £50,000.
The incident occurred on the employee's first flight, which was a Boeing 777 flying out of Heathrow airport.
According to The Sun reports, the new employee accidentally triggered the plane's evacuation procedure by opening an emergency exit door.
When the escape door was opened, the inflatable evacuation slide deployed, making it unusable for future emergencies. As a result, a replacement aircraft had to be used to transport the passengers.
Not only did the unexpected deployment of the emergency slide cost the airline tens of thousands of Euros, but also caused a significant inconvenience for the passengers on board British Airways flight BA75 to Lagos, Nigeria, as they were informed that their journey would be delayed for four hours.
Additionally, the incident occurred just moments before the plane was set to take off from Heathrow airport — it had already left the stand and was preparing for takeoff when the emergency slide was activated.
Emergency services quickly arrived on the scene to lift the rubber slide from the tarmac.
A spokesperson for British Airways clarified what actually happened and stated that it’s ‘normal procedure for emergency services to attend.’
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Fortunately, the airline managed to complete the journey to Lagos using a substitute aircraft, with the same crew members, except for the new employee who had made the very expensive blunder. He was replaced by another staff member.
British Airways stated that they are still investigating the cause of the emergency slide deployment. In a statement to LADbible, a spokesperson said:
“The aircraft returned to stand and customers disembarked normally. We've apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused, have provided them with refreshment vouchers and have arranged a replacement aircraft so that they can continue their journey as planned.”
Although this mistake could have resulted in the loss of innocent lives, the safety of aircraft has greatly improved, making it uncommon for passengers to need to evacuate using emergency slides.
Boeing 777-200 aircrafts come fitted with eight emergency slides. Once one of the slides is activated by a cabin crew member, the door opens in the "automatic" position, automatically deploying the inflatable safety feature.
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And while the emergency slides on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft are substantially large — measuring up to 46 feet (14m) in length — they can be deployed and inflated in just six seconds, allowing passengers to quickly and safely exit the plane.
In an interview for a British Airways YouTube video about how the safety slides deploy, Peter Dyer, a licensed aircraft engineer, said that the slides are checked almost daily.
In conclusion, the fact that all passengers safely arrived in Lagos is certainly a positive outcome, but it’s important to remember that mistakes like this in the airline industry can have far-reaching consequences.
The financial cost of a mistake can be significant, with the £50,000 mentioned in this case likely just one example. More importantly, any seemingly small mistake in the industry can threaten the lives of innocent passengers and crew members.
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Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.