A Chinese airline passenger pulled open an emergency exit as his plane was about to take off because he “just wanted fresh air”, Chinese media have reported.

The man had not realised that opening the door was dangerous, staff members said.

The safety scare on Sunday came days after a passenger on another domestic flight opened the emergency exit moments after his plane landed – deploying the chute – saying that he was in a hurry to get off.

There is growing concern in China that the behaviour of travellers, particularly those venturing overseas, is damaging the image of the country. An AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Nanjing had to return to Thailand last week after an angry Chinese passenger allegedly threw hot water at a flight attendant.

But Sunday’s incident, on a Xiamen Air flight from Hangzhou to Chengdu, seems to have been an innocent mistake by a first-time flier. Startled fellow passengers took shots of the incident on their mobile phones, later posting them on social media.

No slide was used because the door was above a wing and maintenance workers were able to fix the problem in time for the flight to take off punctually.

“It was the first time he had flown,” an airline employee told the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper.

“He did not cause delays or any other direct losses to the airline.”

It is unclear whether the man involved in last week’s incident with the chute was punished. Staff at China Eastern Airlines told reporters that the incident on the Xi’an to Sanya flight delayed the plane’s next take-off by two hours.

An unnamed expert told the official China News Service that the airline might also have to spend over 100,000 yuan (£10,340) checking and maintaining the emergency slide and cabin door.

source: Guardian UK