On Jan. 12, West Air flight PN6272 was taxiing to the gate at Jiangbei Airport in Chongqing, China, when a passenger decided, for no discernible reason, to open an emergency exit door, thereby deploying the evacuation slide.

His impulsiveness had precedent. Two days earlier, members of a tour group on a China Eastern flight in Kunming, furious over flight delays, pulled open emergency exits on their plane just as it was about to take-off for Beijing. And their madness was preceded, in turn, by a Xiamen air passenger who on Dec. 14 opened an emergency exit during taxi so that he might “get some fresh air,” and on Dec. 12 by a China Eastern passenger who opened — yes — an emergency exit on a parked, just-arrived aircraft so that he could “get off the plane faster.”

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