Coventry University Study into Hand Baggage Retrieval Behaviour

Coventry University’s Human Factors Department is

undertaking a study into passenger Hand Baggage

Retrieval Behaviour following passenger behaviour in

recent incidents involving evacuations.

The study will explore the issues around the problem

and will examine past events and detailed behaviours.

The aim of the study is to identify potential interventions

that can be tested, with subsequent evaluating

of those solutions.

The study will start with an investigation into passenger

hand baggage behaviour during emergency aircraft

evacuations with the goal of first identifying and then

improving evacuation behaviours.

Initially the work will examine where passengers store

their hand baggage. This will then lead on to ascertaining

why baggage is stored in this manner. Researchers will

seek to gain an understanding of passengers’ knowledge

of cabin baggage procedures and their comprehension

of the implications of certain actions plus their understanding

of the reasons behind certain on-board rules

and industry advice.

The study aims to look specifically at passenger storage

habits around valuable items and their attitudes towards

cabin storage versus hold storage and the reasons

why they might choose one over the other. It aims to

understand passenger perception of likelihood of

bag retrieval in various emergency situations. It will

research passenger knowledge of procedures and will

then aim to find suitable solutions.

Initial findings from passengers suggest that they are

particularly upset about losing their passports, mobile

‘phones, laptops and medication.

Initial studies giving passengers two scenarios to consider,

one in which there was no immediate threat noticeable

and one in which a fire was evident, yielded results that

in the first scenario 73% said they would retrieve their

bag, with this figure rising to 86% if it contained valuables

while in the ‘fire’ threat scenario 38% said they would

take their belongings, with this rising to 48% where

valuables were concerned.

The high value of the contents of bags was the main

reason cited as to why people would retrieve their


When asked if it was a rule to leave baggage in an

evacuation, 34% didn’t know, 34% knew that they

should leave bags and 32% didn’t know but assumed

that leaving bags was sensible. Cabin Safety Update will

report on the progress of this study as it develops.

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