Whoops: Toilet-seeking man tried to open exit door on flight

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Consider this a warning: Don't mess with airplane doors.

A man who says he mistook a plane's exit door with its bathroom door was slapped with fines and is barred from flying with the airline for five years, reports the Telegraph.


James Gray was on board a recent KLM flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam when he apparently mistakenly tried to open an exit door. The staff, reasonably, did not take kindly to the effort. "The crew told me to stay in my seat and I was to be arrested when the plane landed," Gray told the Telegraph, adding, "I tried to explain it was a simple mistake. It was a misunderstanding. The police came and arrested me. They weren't too friendly."

He also said that he would never intentionally try to open a flying plane's door because ""I realise the danger of that sort of thing."


If Gray did, indeed, try to open the door he would find it to be impossible. Pilot Patrick Smith explains that cabin pressure prevents exit doors from budging at high altitudes. "At a typical cruising altitude, up to eight pounds of pressure are pushing against every square inch of interior fuselage. That’s more than 1,100 pounds against each square foot of door," he wrote on his Ask the Pilot blog.

Gray's high altitude behavior lead to an on the ground arrest, a 600 euro fine, and a five-year ban from flying KLM. The airline told CNBC that "after the flight the passenger was handed over to the Royal Police at Schiphol because of his misbehavior on board," but added, "We do not give any details on individual passengers."

As plane-door opening attempts go, this one was rather meek. A Virgin America plane recently made an emergency landing after a man, confronted mid-sex act, tried to open the exit door. So it could have been worse, Jim.

Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.

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