How Safe Is Flying
In 2010 there were over 9 million commercial airline flights in the United States, and not a single commercial airplane crash. Surveys show that more than one in ten Americans say that they are afraid to fly. However, most know that it is an irrational fear not supported by the facts. According to MIT airplane safety expert, Arnold Barnett, the actual flight operations of US commercial airlines operate at an enormous safety level.
Barnett conducted a study on airline safety and found that your chance of dying in a scheduled commercial airline flight is one in fourteen million. That means that you would have to take a commercial flight every day for the next 38,000 years before you were involved in a fatal commercial airline accident. In fact, riding on a commercial airliner involves about the same risk as using an escalator. Did you know that flying is 23 times safer than driving? The fact is that you’re more likely to be killed on the way to the airport than you are flying on a scheduled US commercial airline flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board says that 76% of passengers aboard an aircraft involved in an accident would survive.
According to the FAA, the safest place to sit aboard an aircraft is within five seats of an exit. That's good advice. However, whenever possible sit in the exit row. Exit rows on airplanes are often wider than non-exit rows. Also, on some aircrafts, the exit rows are limited to two seats instead of three. If the exit row is unavailable, then you should pay attention to how far it is in the direction you will need to go to get to the closest exit. If possible, sit in an aisle seat and pay attention during takeoffs and landings. If you are asleep during a takeoff or a landing and something goes wrong, valuable seconds will be lost as you try to regain your senses. Most aircraft accidents occur during the approach and landing at the airport.
What is the safest time of day to fly?
Since major airline plane crashes are so rare in North America, one would think that anytime of the day is as safe to fly as any other time of the day. While it is true that flying has never been safer, there are some factors that should be taken into consideration whenever possible.
If you have the option to fly early in the morning, you will find that the airport is usually less crowded. But more importantly, since most airline operations take place during the day, you are less likely to have a fatigued pilot and crew, if you take a morning flight. In addition to that, the most experienced air traffic controllers in the FAA network work the day shift. It only makes sense to be aboard an aircraft that has the least fatigued pilots, that is controlled in the air by the most experienced air traffic controllers.