Trying to open the emergency exit door of an airplane while still in flight is obviously a stupid idea. First of all, you might get a wine bottle smashed over your head. And you most certainly will get arrested. But what would actually happen to everyone inside the plane if someone succeeded in prying the door open mid-flight?
According to Travel and Leisure, there would be a "catastrophic explosive decompression."
Explosive decompression, while rare, has occurred. One such instance happened in 1988 when a section of the airplane’s roof burst open. A flight attendant was sucked up through the hole in the plane, but the pilot managed to land within 13 minutes, avoiding additional fatalities.
Fortunately, according to Travel and Leisure, unless you manage to smuggle a hydraulic jack on board, it's never going to happen, because it's impossible.
“It’s physically impossible,” Jason Rabinowitz, aviation blogger, told Travel + Leisure. “When at cruising altitude, the pressure difference between the outside of the plane and the inside of the plane, which is pressurized, creates a situation where the door cannot open.”
At cruising altitude, there are about eight pounds of pressure pushing against every square inch of the plane’s interior — even two pounds per square inch is more than any human being push. In order to open the door while flying, someone would need (at least) a hydraulic jack. (The reason skydivers can jump from open doors is because those planes are depressurized.)
But just because it's impossible doesn't mean you should try. You'll still most likely get arrested, fined, and possibly clobbered over the head with the nearest object in the galley.
Image: Christopher Doyle