Passengers retrieving carry-on baggage during evacuations - Civil Aviation Safety Alerts (CASA) No. 2018-04


Subpart 703, 704, and 705 air operators and Subpart 604 private operators.

File Classification No. : Z 5000-35
RDIMS No. : 13865666
Document No. : CASA 2018-04
Issue No. : 01
Effective Date: 2018-04-13


The purpose of this Civil Aviation Safety Alert (CASA) is to:

  1. advise operators to ensure passengers are informed to leave carry-on baggage on board the aircraft during an emergency evacuation;
  2. request that Canadian private operators operating under Subpart 604 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and air operators operating under Subpart 705 of the CARs use their existing safety management system (SMS) to address and mitigate hazards and risks associated with passengers retrieving their carry-on baggage during evacuations;
  3. raise the concern to Canadian air operators operating under Subparts 703 and 704 of the CARs who are not yet required to have a SMS and to encourage them to address the hazards and risks associated with passengers retrieving their carry-on baggage during evacuations as these are not limited to Subpart 705 air operators; and
  4. advise Canadian air operators operating under Subparts 703, 704 and 705 of the CARs that beginning approximately nine months after the publication of this CASA, Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) plans to direct specific surveillance activities to evaluate the effectiveness of air operators’ response to this document and will begin looking for evidence of effective mitigations of this hazard.


Although the CARs identify the required content of passenger safety briefings and safety features cards, there is no specific regulatory requirement to warn passengers about the dangers of attempting to take their carry-on baggage with them should an emergency evacuation be required.

As noted in ICAO Doc 10086 — Manual on Information and Instructions for Passenger Safety, passengers are unaware of the risks associated with taking their baggage during an evacuation, particularly when the danger to life is not immediately evident to them.  The consequences could include impeding an orderly and timely evacuation, damaging a slide, and increasing the risk of injury.  Many evacuations have shown that passengers have a tendency to attempt to retrieve their belongings in an evacuation — despite crew members repeatedly instructing them to abandon carry-on baggage.  Such situations may lead to passenger management and crowd control issues in an evacuation, as passengers insist on taking their belongings with them.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has also identified that, although crew members shout to passengers to leave their carry-on baggage behind during an emergency evacuation, this information is provided at a time when passengers are highly stressed and the noise level in the cabin is likely fairly high — not an optimal time for understanding or adhering to critical safety information.

The TSB also noted that any measure to assist in raising passengers’ awareness about the hazards of attempting to take carry-on baggage with them during an emergency evacuation would serve to mitigate the risks.  Informing passengers during safety briefings of the prohibition of evacuating with carry-on items during an emergency would complement any existing measures designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of an emergency evacuation.

As a result, TCCA has previously recommended that an operator’s pre-take off, pre-landing and preparation for emergency landing passenger safety briefings include clear direction to leave all carry-on baggage behind during an evacuation.

However, evidence of passengers continuing to retrieve their carry-on baggage during recent emergency evacuations suggests that the action taken by operators in response to this recommendation to mitigate this potential safety hazard has not been effective.

Recommended action:

Operators are strongly encouraged to voluntarily adopt the ICAO guidance on the safety-related information and instructions that should be provided to passengers in relation to managing carry-on baggage during an emergency evacuation, including:

  1. reinforcing and emphasizing the requirement to leave personal items behind by including it in the passenger announcements made in the following situations:
    1. pre-flight safety briefing;
    2. emergency briefing; and
    3. before landing on every flight;
  2. clear illustrations in the safety features card emphasizing that carry-on baggage must not be taken in an emergency situation;
  3. simple, clear crew commands to leave carry-on baggage behind during an evacuation; and
  4. training of crew members in human response during emergency situations and how to influence passengers to leave their carry-on baggage.

Operators should have a strategy in place to mitigate the risks involved with passengers removing carry-on baggage during an evacuation by using its safety management system to proactively identify, assess, and mitigate the risks to effective emergency evacuation as a result of an increase in the carry-on baggage brought into the passenger cabin.

Contact office:

For more information concerning this issue, contact a Transport Canada Centre; or contact Deborah Martin, Chief, Commercial Flight Standards in Ottawa, by telephone at 613-990-1055 or by e-mail at

Original signed by

Robert Sincennes
Standards branch

The Transport Canada Civil Aviation Safety Alert (CASA) is used to convey important safety information and contains recommended action items. The CASA strives to assist the aviation industry's efforts to provide a service with the highest possible degree of safety. The information contained herein is often critical and must be conveyed to the appropriate office in a timely manner. The CASA may be changed or amended should new information become available.