During the Alaskan Airlines Flight 1282, the door plug that was supposed to replace an emergency exit door blew out shortly after takeoff. After this, there was a large amount of uncontrolled decompression on the plane, prompting oxygen masks to deploy. Fortunately, no one was seated in the area directly near the plug, but there were still minor injuries recorded and a few passenger items were lost, flying out of the opening. For those who witnessed the incident, the entire ordeal was undoubtedly frightening, for reasons that those outside the experience couldn’t even imagine. One passenger’s son had their shirt blown out of the aircraft, and the mother held on to him as powerfully as she could so that he would not fall out in the midst of the decompression.
Once the plug had disappeared, the cockpit door broke off and roughly hit the bathroom doors. Though the cockpit door is supposed to open in situations such as this, the crew weren’t aware of this, and a flight attendant was successfully able to close the door after strenuous effort. The danger of the situation even reached the captains, where their headset was knocked out of position due to the wind.
Considering this terrifying circumstance and the bravery of those who were on the flight, it is only expected that someone would ask, “what situation allowed this to occur in the first place?” Airplanes like the Boeing 737 model are tested heavily for safety features, both individually and in cohesion with the other parts, to see if the model is suitable for travel. There are checks for critical objectives, crashworthiness, structural unification, fire resistance, etc. However, an investigation has been launched since the drastic event, trying to comprehend where exactly the manufacturers and company went wrong. The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has called for visual inspections of Boeing 737-900ER models due to their similarity in composition to the flight that had the accident. The mid-exit door plugs were said to be an area of primary concern, and Boeing so far has supported the appeal for inspection. It is worth noting, though, Boeing has been mired in crisis, and its overworked lobbying team will have to make sure that governmental inquiry doesn’t hurt the brand image.
Considering the historic yet frightening incidents that have involved airplanes, it is crucial that action is taken so that similar events do not occur. Still, these kinds of cases are likely to haunt those who experienced it, along with the public for a very long time as a cautionary tale amidst heightened levels of travel post-pandemic. Surely, there will be a clear impact on corporations as well, who will fully oversee the safety of their products before they reach the market and cause havoc like this.