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The flight safety briefing you have never heard

The flight safety briefing you have never heard

Published 2024-05-27 by Zdravko Anticic

Have you ever listened to the pre-flight safety briefing? Chances are that you haven’t. According to the FAA, 60% of passengers ignore the briefing. Myself included. You hear one, you’ve heard them all, right?

Here’s one you have not heard before.

Your chances of dying in a plane crash are one to 11 million. This means that you are far more likely to get struck by lightning, or get killed by a shark.

You know about the lifejacket that is always under your seat, or the seat in front of you? It doesn’t change your odds of survival whatsoever. They could be replaced with a box of chocolates for all it’s worth, and it wouldn’t change anything in case of emergency, apart from your blood sugar levels.

The biggest danger is actually your luggage. Yes – yearly, there are over 60 thousand serious injuries reported, caused by items falling out of the overhead compartments in the US. A lot of these are head injuries.

Comparatively, there are less than 60 serious injuries reported per year which are caused by turbulence.

The second big risk is the drinks trolley. When fully loaded, it weighs over 100 kg. You can imagine that elbows, ankles, and knees that stick out into the aisle don’t have a great time when they meet the heavy trolley on accident.

Keep your limbs tucked in, and out of the aisle. The flight staff will appreciate it.

Of course, the seatbelt sign will be kept on for most of the flight. This is for no other reason but the fact that the flight crew doesn’t like to be bothered every few moments.

Please remain quietly in your seat, while they take forever to serve you barely edible food, and if you’re lucky, a drink. Once the food tray is in front of you, forget about getting to the toilet for the next hour if not more, until they decide to take it.

Looking for the safest seat? You’re only getting one if you’re the flight crew. That’s right – the rearward facing seats are the safest ones onboard.

You can get the second best option – if you are lucky to be seated over the wings, in the exit row. This is the place to be in case of an accident.

Seats at the very end of the airplane are also safe. The cockpit and the business class area you can treat as a "crumble zone" of the aircraft, absorbing most of the force in case of an impact with the ground or a mountain side.

If you are not in an exit row, do take a moment to find the nearest exit, and count the number of rows between you and the exit. In case the cabin fills with smoke for whatever reason, or worse – you are in a rollover scenario – it makes finding an exit much easier.

In case of a crash, or emergency landing, 95% of passengers will survive. In a serious crash it is 55% on average. If the plane goes down – concentrate. Your life depends on smart decision making.

It is important to know that 80% of all accidents happen in either the first 3 minutes of a flight, or the last 8 minutes. Keep your shoes on. Your luggage stowed away. You don’t need your laptop during take-off and landing. Focus on the things going on around you during this time.

Emergency evacuations on the runway are the most common unexpected event. Far moreso than crashes. In the event of an engine fire, everyone needs to evacuate within 90 seconds. Your bag can stay in the airplane.

If you, and everyone else try to get your luggage, the evacuation grinds to a complete stop. It is not worth risking your, and everyone else’s life. Get the hell out of the airplane, in a quick and orderly fashion.

Voila, you now know the most important bits to keep you safe in case of an accident. Do listen to the safety briefing every now and again, though.

Zdravko Anticic
Zdravko Anticic
zdravko@granturismo.org

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