Asiana Airlines has banned the sale of emergency exit row seats after a passenger opened the door mid-flight on an Airbus A321.
The airline will prohibit passengers from sitting at the emergency exit seats 31A and 26A on all of its 14 Airbus A321ceo aircraft, according to a spokesperson cited by AFP. Seat 26A will not be sold on 11 out of 14 of Asiana Airlines A321ceos, configured in a 174-seat layout, while seat 31A will not be bookable on three A321ceos configured in a 195-seat configuration.
“As a safety precaution, this measure will apply even if the flights are full,” they added.
“However, sales of seats on the emergency door side of other models that do not have this problem will continue,” local media cited the representative of Asiana Airlines.
Air Seoul, which is a subsidiary of Asiana Airlines, will also implement the same policy, while Air Busan, another subsidiary of the company, is still considering whether to implement such rules. Other South Korean airlines, including two low-cost carriers Jin Air and Air Premia, are also exploring their options regarding the sale of seats near the emergency exits on the Airbus A321, said the South Korean news agency Yonhap News Agency (YNA).
The incident happened on May 26, 2023, when an Asiana Airlines Airbus A321, registered as HL8256, was operating domestic flight OZ8124 from Jeju International Airport (CJU) to Daegu International Airport (TAE). Shortly before landing, a passenger opened the left-hand emergency exit door, leaving 12 passengers with breathing difficulties.
YNA reported that a local court issued an arrest warrant on May 28, 2023, for an “alleged violation of the aviation security law, citing the seriousness of his case and the risk of flight”. The maximum prison term for this violation is up to 10 years.
Local officials said that the man had been under a lot of stress after losing a job and that he was feeling suffocated on the flight, opening the door mid-flight as a result.
The Airbus A231 is still on the ground at TAE since the incident, flightradar24.com data showed.