I recently wrote about the airline safety rankings for 2017, which was the safest year on record for commercial passenger aviation (zero deaths). In that review, we covered the world’s safest airlines (hint: feel perfectly safe to fly anywhere on an Australian airline!), as well as the world’s least safe airlines (a bigger hint: avoid any airlines in Nepal or the North Korean airline!).
Today, I wanted to follow that up with a few more statistics and tips about airline safety.
We’ve all had our moments where we’re white-knuckled as the plane makes a bumpy landing or rattles around from turbulence, but how safe is flying, really?
According to ongoing research, airline crashes or accidents happen at a rate of only one per 1.2 million flights. That’s a whole lot of flying without incident. But, then again, there are no fender benders in the sky.
But still, the thought of a plane coming down from the sky unexpectedly signals sheer thoughts of panic and certain death, right? Well, not so fast.
Here’s some more encouraging news: when the National Transportation Safety Board compiled data from all plane accidents and crashes between 1983 and 2000 (the year that study was released), they found something completely unexpected – and counter to what common sense would tell us about airline safety. In fact, during that period, 53,487 people were involved in plane crashes. Guess what? 51,207 of them survived!
The other good news is that your odds of perishing in a plane crash (for the average person) are about one in 11 million. For reference, your odds of perishing in an automobile accident are about 1 in 5,000 over your lifetime – which means that airline travel is exponentially safer!
How is that even possible?
Numerous studies and research since then have confirmed their findings. In fact, it’s been confirmed that 95.7% of all people (passengers, crew, employees, etc.) involved in a plane crash actually survive!
Yeah, but that’s probably just a bad wheel at takeoff or a bird hitting the plane or something minor, right? In fact, these studies looked into more serious plane crashes – where the plane is literally out of control and tumbling from the sky (or floundering onto/off the runway). They found that even in those far more serious and dire aviation accidents, 76% of all passengers survived!
But is it me, or does it seem like there are far more tragic and catastrophic plane crashes? There’s a good reason for this perception. First off, these airline tragedies occur on a mass scale. So when a plane does go down that results in a loss of life, it’s not just one or two dead but, too often, everyone on board. That tends to stick in our memory.
Likewise, the media tends to focus its coverage on tragic plane crashes, following the “If it bleeds,it leads!” mentality. In fact, a study of New York Times front pages spanning back decades found that airline accidents were reported 6,000% more than news about cancer, 1,500% more than auto accident deaths, and even 600% more than news about HIV and AIDS. However, those things kill more people each year than all airline passenger crashes throughout put together.
No wonder why we’re so scared of flying!
Still, flying can be nerve-racking because there’s absolutely nothing you can do as a passenger to keep yourself safer, right? Again, wrong!
Look for more tips on how to keep your safe while flying – coming soon!