Andrew J. Wein - Feb 26, 2023
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Most people book seats to ensure conveniences, like legroom or the ease of access to toilets. Regular flyers may reserve seats nearer to the front of the plane so that they can board faster.

We seldom book a flight in the hope of getting one of the seats in the row to the left. But guess what? These seats are, by statistical standards, the most secure on the plane.

Secure Air Travel Experience

Statistics show that air travel is the most secure method of travel. In 2019 there were about 70 million flights around the world and just 287 deaths.

According to the National Safety Council's study of census data, the chances of being killed in the air are around 1 out of 205,552, and one in 102 for the car.

There's no need to be concerned about safety on commercial flights.

At the Center, in the Back

It is important to remember that accidents, by nature, are not in line with norms. In 1989, in the United Flight 232 crash in Sioux City, Iowa, only 184 of the 269 passengers aboard survived the incident. The majority of those who survived were seated behind the first class, which was toward the rear of the aircraft.

Yet the study by TIME, which examined 35 years of accidents, found that one of the safest seats are in the middle of planes – the death rate here was 28% compared to 44% in the seat in the middle.

The position of an exit row is always going to offer the fastest escape in the situation of an emergency, given that there isn't a fire in that area.

However, airplane wings are where fuel is stored, which is why they are not able to count the middle rows as the most secure row options.

However, being in the front, you'll be affected before those at the back, leaving us with the final row of exits. The reason why middle seats are more secure than aisle or window seats is likely due to the buffer that is provided by the presence of people on both sides.

Certain Emergencies Are More Serious than Others

The type of disaster will also determine the survival rate. A collision with a mountain can reduce the chances of survival by a significant amount like it was in the tragic 1979 tragedy which occurred in New Zealand. Air New Zealand Flight TE901 crashed into the slopes of Mt Erebus in Antarctica and killed 257 people and their crew members.

When you land in the ocean, nose-first reduces the chance of survival, as seen in the incident of Air France Flight 447 that was involved in which 228 people and the crew died.

The pilots have been trained in order to minimize the risk of an emergency situation as efficiently as possible.

They try to avoid hitting the mountains and seek out a flat area, like an open area, in order to be able to land as smoothly as they can. The method for landing on the water involves evaluating the surface conditions and then trying to land between waves with the normal angle of landing.

Aircraft are engineered to be extremely durable in times of emergency.

In reality, the primary reason that cabin crews advise us to ensure that we have our seat belts in place isn't due to the possibility of crashes but rather due to "clear air turbulence" that is observed at any time at higher altitudes. This weather phenomenon can cause the most harm to aircraft and passengers.

Manufacturers are developing new planes that incorporate greater composite materials capable of handling stress during flight. These designs' wings aren't rigid and can bend to take high loads to avoid structural damage.


According to a study by TIME that examined 35 years of accidents, the middle seats in commercial planes had the lowest death rate in case of an emergency, with a 28% death rate compared to 44% for window and aisle seats. However, it's important to note that accidents are unpredictable and not necessarily in line with statistical norms.

The survival rate also depends on the type of emergency, such as a collision with a mountain or a crash into the ocean. Air travel is considered the most secure method of travel, and aircraft are engineered to be durable and withstand emergency situations.

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