If only all planes could empty out 873 passengers in 78 seconds

Let's hope none of us ever have to be put in a situation where we have to evacuate an airplane but this 2006 evacuation test of an Airbus A380 makes our current plane deplaning process look like a complete waste of time. The test incredibly emptied out all 873 passengers of the plane in less than 80 seconds. Typical planes in real life take around 10 minutes. Something is not adding up!


The evacuation test, found again by Quartz, shows 853 passengers and 20 crew members racing to leave the plane. FAA regulations states that all planes with more than 45 people on board must be able to empty out in under a minute and thirty seconds. The evacuation drill requires:

  • 650 passengers taking part
  • Lights will be out in cabins
  • Half of exits will be closed
  • Drill must feature 40% women, 35% people over 50
  • Passengers will not be told which exits are in use
  • Passengers must wear their seat belts

In real life, you have countless people hogging the lanes and elbowing people while they try to dislodge their overstuffed carry-on luggages while others stand around and count sheep instead of walking straight out which makes the rest of us think about whether jumping over chairs or army crawling under them would be a faster way out.

So yeah, we could never empty out a plane this fast but surely we could be a little bit more efficient than the current set up? Maybe the answer is in astrophysics. Maybe the answer is in using slides. Maybe we just suck.