Ever been seated in an exit row? Make sure you know how to open the exit– the lives of your fellow passengers may depend on it. This is an Airbus training video on how to open the overwing hatch onboard A320 series aircraft. When the hatch is removed, the overwing slide starts inflating from a compartment aft of the hatch. It is critical to note that the hatch is first brought into the cabin, then rotated and thrown out. This design of overwing hatch is found on A318, A319 and A320 aircraft. Other aircraft, like the B-737NG series have a “self disposing” hatch that opens outwards but do not have an evacuation slide attached to the wing.


  1. The exit hatch can be replaced into the window frame. Similarly, the escape slide can be repacked after it is deployed and replaced into the slide container.

  2. Yeh, there do seem to have been quite a few incidents – obviously airliners and airline safety have improved significantly since the days of the -200, but to be fair, there have been a disproportionately large number of incidents involving the A320 as well.

  3. In the Manchester accident in 1985, some passengers who needed to escape by the overwing exit were crushed when the door fell in on top of them. That was a 737-200 though, so hopefully they're much lighter on the Airbus! I still think they should be hinged so they don't cause a hazard when opened. If it's an overwing exit, surely throwing it out during an evacuation exercise could damage the wing as well?

  4. Are you sure it was an A320? People do not usually get to "practice" on those overwing hatches because the slide is always armed unless engineering comes out to disarm it. If you were on a B-737, the overwing hatch is in fact heavier — 39 lbs.

  5. In a B737 there are no seats by the emergency exits. Which means if normal window there are 3 seats, by emergency exit 2seats, without a window seat

  6. You're totally right…some aircraft makers and carriers do not recommend throwing out the hatch. Instead, they suggest dropping the hatch in another row or laying it on the seat…but these can cause tripping hazards as well. Airbus does recommend throwing out the hatch as far forward as possible to avoid blocking the evacuation path (which is towards the rear of the wing).

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