We present an experimental study of the reopening mechanics of a collapsed, liquid-filled elastic tube. The experiment is a simple mechanical model of pulmonary airway reopening. For moderate levels of collapse, the direct comparison with 3d numerical simulations highlights significant differences linked to the influence of gravity on the dynamics. When the tube is collapsed beyond its point of opposite wall contact, multiple finger states arise including an asymmetric finger, two fingers and a pointed finger, whereas for less collapsed tubes, only a single symmetric finger is detected. There is a smooth transition between the one and two fingered states, but strikingly the pointed state lies on a disconnected, lower pressure branch. This state could be of relevance in the lung, where it is essential to reopen airways quickly without incurring damage.