Here at AllTheRooms, we follow travel news closely, and in light of recent tragic events in Indonesia, we wanted to provide some information on the important question — how safe is flying? Safety is crucial for everyone who flies, and for some people, the fear of flying can prevent travel, work opportunities, and the chance to see family and friends. While air travel is the safest method of transportation in the world, accidents do still happen. We’ve taken a look at how safe flying is and hope to reassure you:
Air Travel Safety
Commercial air travel is the safest method of transportation in the world. Boat, train, bike, and car accidents are far more common — statistically, flying is much, much safer than driving a car or even crossing a road.
Millions of flights each year run smoothly and arrive safely. While flight accidents do happen, they are incredibly rare. According to data from the National Travel Safety Board (NTSB), the chances of dying on a single commercial flight is one in 29.4 million. If you’re a regular flyer, the odds of being in a plane accident during your lifetime is one in 11 million. This means that a person could board a plane every day for around 25,000 years before, statistically speaking, losing their life in a plane accident. To put this into context, it’s estimated that your chance of being struck and killed by lightning in your lifetime is one in 1.9 million.
In the last 30 years, advances in aviation technology mean that air travel is safer than ever. Commercial planes are well-maintained and equipment is checked thoroughly and regularly. There are also rules and regulations surrounding the working hours of the pilot and crew, making sure they are fit to fly and are not tired from overworking.
Causes of Accidents
When something does go wrong this is usually down to human error, extreme weather, or a technical fault, with terrorism only playing a minor role in historic plane accidents. Other factors include errors made by traffic controllers and preparation crews, sporadic weather changes and human sabotage.
Airlines each have their own safety rating, with some airline companies having a better track record than others. If you’re concerned about booking a flight with a particular airline, read up on its safety record before booking. Take into consideration that airlines have flown millions upon millions of people around the world. In 2014, Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) estimated that there are around 100,000 flights taking off every day internationally, with 5,000 planes in the air at any given time.
Takeoffs and Landings
For many, the moment of takeoff and landing can be the most nerve-wracking part of the trip. Sometimes, when the plane lands and the wheels hit the tarmac it can be a bit bumpy, however, pilots are incredibly skilled at steering, and they do this job pretty much every day of their lives with no problem. It’s essential to always wear your seatbelt on takeoff and landing, even if it is a bit uncomfortable or you’re itching to collect your belongings from the overhead locker and be first to get off the plane.
Air travel is the form of transportation most scrutinized and monitored in the world, and when a plane crashes, the story is featured all over the media. This is because when something does go wrong, the result can be very serious, with hundreds of deaths (if it was a large aircraft and fully booked). As we have already mentioned, plane accidents are incredibly rare, meaning that proportionally, coverage in the media is exceptionally high. While media outlets do mention car, bus, and boat accidents, they don’t receive the same amount of attention or have the same impact on readers, who are often desensitized to day-to-day accidents.