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The Safest Way To Travel

Tue, 01/10/2017
American Airlines Plane Flies Low Over Beach

Millions of people are afraid of flying, yet we’ve all heard the claim that flying is safer than driving, even if we don’t know the actual statistics. Well, in absolute numbers, we are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, smoking, a car crash, a bike accident, a tornado or a bee sting before we meet our end on a commercial flight. In fact, the odds are about 1 in 11.5 million.

The past couple of years have seen quite a number of air crashes in the news, which might give the illusion that aircraft crashes are becoming more frequent. But in reality fatal crashes are so rare that when they do happen they become high profile news, like the LaMia Airlines flight carrying the Brazilian football team Chapecoense or the Germanwings flight 9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, which went down over the alps. The database kept by the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) recording all air travel accidents showed 2016 to be the second safest year on record. And with more flights operating than ever before he airline industry is statistically the safest it has ever been.

Australian airline Qantas was named as the safest airline to travel with by, which has been publishing annual listings for the last three years. The European airlines which made it into the top 20 were KLM, Finnair, British Airways, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Swiss, in no particular order.

If, after all this information, you still have aviophobia there are things you can do to be better prepared, to calm your nerves and to improve your odds in the extremely unlikely event that something does happen.

Wear comfortable clothes which you can move quickly in if you need to, and choose fabrics which are flame-retardant, like wool. Travel bloggers and frequent flyers say the best shoes to fly in are loafers, they are easy to take off at security, can be dressed up and dressed down and will be practical shoes if you ever need to run to catch your flight or evacuate the aircraft. High heels and flip-flops are both an obvious no-go when it comes to safety.

Be prepared to leave your luggage behind. Seriously. You have about a minute and a half to evacuate, don’t waste any time thinking about your belongings. Trying to take your carry-on with you could not only impede your exit, but other passengers too; nobody wants to be responsible for others not getting out on time. You might prepare in advance for such a situation by wearing a bumbag or body wallet with items which are hard to replace inside, like your passport, wallet, emergency contact numbers or any medication you need regularly.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caused a media storm in 2016, with cases of catching fire, smoking and exploding, most notably on a flight in Kentucky, USA, which meant it was banned from all flights. What many of us probably don’t realize is that this can happen to any of our devices, so make sure you’re using manufacturer-approved batteries or chargers for your devices and where possible avoid use.

Most importantly, pay attention to the safety instructions before the flight leaves the airport. No matter how often you have flown, each plane will be different and each airline may have slightly different instructions or equipment.

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