What’s the most secure seat on the aircraft? Consultants weigh in

If you’re a nervous traveler — or maybe just a curious person — you’ve probably thought about which seats on a plane are the safest in the event of an accident. If we look at statistics based on past aircraft accidents, there is an answer.

“There’s actually a safer place to sit on a plane, and that’s the back of the plane,” said Dan Pope, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. according to 2015 time analysis From 35 years of FAA data., The fatality rate in seats in the back third of the plane was 32%, while the fatality rate in seats in the middle third was 39%, and the fatality rate in seats in the front third was 38%.

More specifically, the middle seats at the back of the plane are statistically the safest, with a fatality rate of just 28%. In comparison, aisle seats in the middle of the cabin had a fatality rate of 44%.

Meet the expert

Dan Pope is a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a former airline pilot, and an aviation expert.

David Reimer is the CEO of AB Aviation Group, a private aviation company, and a survivor of a mid-air plane crash.

But remember, these are just overall probabilities based on previous aircraft accidents, and there are outliers. For example, when United Airlines Flight 232 crashed in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1989, most of the 184 survivors were seated in the middle third of the plane. In the 1977 Tenerife disaster, the deadliest aviation accident that killed 583 people, the 61 survivors sat mainly in the front of the Pan Am plane involved in the crash.

Related: How to overcome your fear of flying with 13 tips from pilots, therapists, and flight attendants

Ultimately, it comes down to a very specific set of circumstances for a potential accident, so choosing a seat based on your odds of surviving a crash may not be the best idea. Sure, there’s a little bit of luck involved, and planes are generally considered a very safe means of transportation. Additionally, sitting in the back of the plane is not always a pleasant experience.

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“Data shows that although the safest seats are at the back of the plane, they are also the most uncomfortable seats during turbulence,” said David Reimer, CEO. AB Aviation Group A survivor of a mid-air plane crash tells the story of a plane crash Travel + entertainment. Not to mention the discomfort of the proximity to the toilet and kitchen.

“Given how likely an accident is, turbulence is a more common situation that most fearful travelers should avoid,” Remer advises. He suggests you “choose marginally ‘less safe’ seats near the middle of the plane” to avoid the worst possible effects of rough air.

If you really want to choose a “safer” seat, it may be wise to choose a seat closer to the exit row. Based on FAA research on crash survivability, aircraft must be able to fully evacuate within 90 seconds, which is why there are multiple emergency exits on board. And a 2011 analysis By the University of Greenwich, out of more than 100 plane crashes, it was found that passengers located within five rows of the functional exit were more likely to evacuate the plane safely.

At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter which seat you choose, because… Flying is one of the safest means of transportation. Even if you get into an airplane accident of some kind, your odds of survival are generally good. according to Study 2020 According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 98.2% of passengers in aviation accidents between 2001 and 2017 survived minor injuries or no injuries at all, 0.6% survived serious injuries, and 1.3% were fatally injured.

Instead of focusing on choosing the “safest” seat on the plane, there are better steps to take to ensure your safety in an emergency. “Pay attention to the flight attendants’ instructions, including the safety demonstration,” says Bob. Snap this security card into the seatback pocket and read it carefully. Count the number of rows away from the nearest exit so you can locate it in low visibility conditions. And never waste time grabbing your luggage before evacuating the plane in an emergency – get out as quickly as possible.

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