I generally detest air stairs (versus a jet bridge) not so much because of the stairs themselves, but because it means a remote gate and crowded bus trip to or from the terminal. But now I have a more urgent reason to frown upon air stairs: they make severe injury much more likely.
Qatar Airways Remote Stand – Man Falls Downs Stairs
After arriving in Doha, we pulled up at a remote stand, a familiar occurrence at Hamad International Airport. Despite a modern new airport, there are insufficient gates to handle all the traffic. That meant our A350-1000, full of passengers, had to unload far from the terminal, with passengers filing on to busses.
I said goodbye to flight attendants and even snapped a picture of the stairs, more annoyed than anything else about the inconvenience.
But my annoyance quickly turned to horror as a I heard a commotion and watched a man tumble down the stairs, landing hard on the tarmac.
Everyone froze. Passengers. Fight attendants. Ground staff. The man was bleeding bad. On his head. He grimaced in agony. His companion called for help.
A member of ground staff knelt down to check on him while another radioed for help.
We continued to wait, but were soon advised to continue to exit the aircraft.
I felt like the priest or the Levite walking around the critically injured man on the road to Jerusalem.
But what I could do? Hopefully a good Samaritan was on his way.
I was ushered onto a bus where the doors shortly shut and we took off for terminal. I have no idea what happened to the man, a very aged senior citizen.
Forcing senior citizens and those who may have difficulty walking to trudge down a steep flight of stairs with their baggage is unconscionable. Even if this man survived his wounds without broken bones or a head injury, the shock of the fall and his aged body will sadly require months of recovery…maybe even years.
Air stairs can be very dangerous. Take one step at a time, hold the handrails, and if you cannot carry luggage, ask someone nearby or a member of ground staff. Don’t push it, like this man did, and find yourself lying on the ground in a pool of blood.