Airplanes are becoming safer and safer, and flying is generally the safest form of transportation. Regarding flight safety, 2023 was the second safest year on record. The Flight Safety Foundation evaluates incidents and accidents every year. There were 135 accidents, five fatalities, and 105 passenger deaths on the 35 million routes examined. The average over the last five years is 13 fatal accidents and 300 deaths per year.
That may sound like a lot, but it’s still dramatically low. A study by Northwestern University in the USA compared the death rate per billion miles for different modes of transportation. While 7.28 people are killed per billion miles on a car journey, the figure is only 0.07 on an airplane. However, if you want to feel even safer, it can also help you choose the safest plane seat.
The airports with the highest survival rate
A seat as far forward as possible offers many advantages, such as faster boarding and disembarking. However, the front seats on the plane are not necessarily safe. The US National Transportation Safety Board has evaluated 20 airplane accidents since 1971 in which there were fatalities and survivors. Passengers sitting in the front of the plane had a 49 percent chance of survival, while the survival rate around the wing was 56 percent. Those who were seated in the rear third even had a 69 percent chance of survival:
Survival rate in the first and business classes: 49%
Survival rate in economy class and premium economy class in front of the wing: 56%
Survival rate in economy class at or directly after the wing: 56%
Survival rate in economy class at the rear of the aircraft: 69%
Middle seats are the safest
The US Aviation Authority has confirmed these results in a further analysis and also investigated where it is best to sit in the back rows. Unsurprisingly, those who sit in the middle may be annoyed during the flight, but in the event of an accident, the people on the left and right provide a buffer against injury. According to the study, the mortality rate here is only 28 percent. Seats in the middle third of the aisle have the worst rate at 44 percent.
However, it is important to remember that these are average values. Depending on the accident, the opposite can also be the case: in 1989, 184 of the 269 passengers survived a plane crash over Sioux City, Iowa, in the USA. All of them were sitting in the front seats of the plane.
How to fly really safely
If you want to play it safe, it’s best to fly with the safest airlines in the world. The following tips also support safety on the plane:
listen carefully when the flight crew explain the safety measures
look around the plane to see which emergency exit is closest to your seat
wear clothes that allow you to move easily and quickly
avoid alcohol on the flight so that you can react quickly in an emergency
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