The USS Saratoga was equipped with these pods. In 2367, the Saratoga was one of thirty-nine starships that were destroyed by a Borg cube at Wolf 359. With the ship disabled and her fate sealed, the crew were ordered to abandon ship. At least four escape pods were able to clear the Saratoga's shuttlebay before the vessel exploded, killing anyone left on board. Benjamin and Jake Sisko were two survivors who were able to escape using these pods. Entry and alighting were facilitated by a door on either side of the craft. In addition, four portholes and one large aft window provided a view. With room for a relatively large number of passengers, the pods were piloted and controlled by two crew members.
In the instance of the Saratoga, all families and members of the crew were assigned evacuation points that they should get to in the event of an emergency. Passengers boarded the pod at the side entrances and were seated in the aft compartment. At the pilot's discretion the pod was sealed and accelerated at extreme speed from the parent vessel. Once at a safe distance the pod slowed down somewhat. (DS9: "Emissary")
List of escape pods
The Saratoga's pods seem to differ from those shown in later episodes of DS9 and Voyager, in that they're deployed from the shuttlebays rather than being embedded in the hull of the parent vessel.
While Starfleet escape pods have featured in earlier and later episodes of Star Trek, the appearance of the Saratoga's pods remain the clearest interior view and the most detailed example of their deployment.
Though there is a large aft window and several smaller ones on the sides of the pod, there are no front windows. In this sense, the pods differ from most Starfleet vessels of this size, which tend to have quite extensive forward windows. It is possible that this is a safety measure.
The set may have been the runabout interior that would be introduced later in the episode. The pilots appear to be sitting in the transporter alcove, while the doors and portholes look very similar to those on the runabout, as well as the curvature of the ceiling.
In an image printed in the 2003 Ships of the Line calendar the Miranda-class USS Leonov is seen launching the apparently newer type of escape pods used on Template:ShipClass and Template:ShipClass starships. This is a non-canon source, though, the suggestion might be plausible.