Navigate / search

Miracle on the Hudson: A Lesson Learned

It has been over two weeks since New York City took a front-row seat to the emergency splash landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the murky Hudson River.  Several days ago, the last part of the left engine was recovered for further investigation into the accident.  Meanwhile, veteran pilot, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger received a hero’s homecoming in Danville, California.

Passenger Josh Peltz of Charlotte, N.C., sat in the exit row on the flight and remained calm as he tugged and twisted open the exit door. Were his swift actions critical in helping to save 150 passengers and the five flight crew from the plane that was slowly sinking into the icy river?  Would you have done if you were one of the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549? Would you know the right thing to do?

For most people the answer is simple: not really. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it is required by law for all flights to run through the pre-flight safety demostrations and so it is the flier’s duty to listen. Yet, I admit, I am guilty of rarely paying much attention to the flight attendants during the safety announcements as I wrestle to untangle my iPod headphones, type that last Blackberry email, or wiggle a comfortable groove in my seat so I can doze off.  You can bet that from now on I will be following along the safety announcements and perhaps even memorize them, too.

Here are some other safety tips that everyone should keep in mind in the event of an emergency:

  • Review the aircraft safety card in front of your seat.
  • In the event of an evacuation, leave all of your possessions behind.
  • Passengers sitting in exit row seat should be capable and willing to perform emergency actions. If you really can’t assume the responsibility, switch seats.
  • And the most critical safety tip for passengers: Identify where the front and back exit doors are located on the plane. As you enter the plane, count the rows between your seat and the closest exit to you.  By doing this, it will help you locate the exit in case there is smoke or poor visibility.

Photo by Theresa Previ.


My name: Song Yang

How I earn my keep: I work and play at Travelocity.

Travel ambitions: At the moment, I'm dreaming of whale-watching in New Zealand; hiking the mountains of the Douro Valley in Portugal and motorcycling through rice paddies in Laos.

Best meal I've ever had while traveling: An incredible discovery of pulled-pork tacos in La Paz. The surprisingly delectable treat came from a makeshift taco stand at 1 a.m. Splashing lime juice onto our greasy tacos with fresh pico de gallo, we ate amongst the locals to the sound of blaring mariachi music under Christmas lights. It was fabulous!

Great travel lesson learned: Giving money back to the community by supporting local businesses whenever possible.

Favorite place on Earth: My home: New York City. Can it be possible for another city to be as vibrant as New York? If so, email me.



I have to say, watching that US Airways plane float past the windows of our New York City office was a bit of a wake-up call. Usually my only safety measure on a flight is counting the rows to the nearest emergency exit, but I’ll be paying more attention in the future.

Leave a comment


email* (not published)