Why I'm Not Afraid of Flying

This weekend was not a good one for the airline industry. After an Asiana Airlines flight crashed on the runway in San Francisco, killing 2 people,  and an air-taxi/charter plane crashed in Alaska killing all 10 people on board, I'm sure many people were having second thoughts about upcoming travel plans.

I am not one of these people. Don't get me wrong- both accidents are awful and the coverage on the news was scary to watch and read about. No one wants to hear that people died simply because they wanted to get from point A to B. But, the simple fact remains that airline travel in the United States is the safest it has been in like....ever (well, ever being after WWII).

Before the unfortunate events of the past weekend, there hadn't been a loss of life in an airplane crash in almost 4.5 years. A very smart man at MIT, Arnold Barnett, calculated that the risk of a fatal crash was 1 in 45 million flights. That's a lot of frequent flier miles there. And I thought I flew a lot with an average of about 12 round-trips a year.

Technology has improved vastly since the Don Draper-goes-to-LA days, making air travel safer in terms of preventing crashes and also helping save lives in the event of crashes, as we saw in San Francisco. The plane's TAIL and WING fell off and people were able to walk away relatively unscathed (physically I mean- I can only imagine what an event like that would do you emotionally, but that's for a different blog).

Safety and regulations have also become stricter over the years, as we saw with the troubled Boeing Dreamliner being grounded with the fainest whiff of possible problems. This is also what I try to remind myself when I'm on a flight delayed because of weather, a mechanical issue, or because the crew has worked too many hours. Yes, flight delays blow, but I'd rather be safer in the plane with a pilot that's not falling asleep or with something 'sort of' working.

My new travel delay mantra is Waiting Time is Wine Time.

Granted, I've never had too close a call on a plane. Sure, I've been on flights so turbulent that we couldn't get up for the entire 2 hours in the air (I may have threatened to pee on a flight attendant if she didn't let me use the bathroom) and I've been on diverted flights because of bad weather (Hello, Huntsville, Alabama!). I've even been on a flight where someone had a heart attack during the flight (Viva Las Vegas!), but nothing close to what people experienced a few days ago.

And I've flown with people who are terrifying of flying. I'm talking grasping your hand so tight it cuts off circulation, saying Hail Marys, and downing as many cocktails as you can before, during, and after the flight kind of terrified. And I feel for those people, I really do. Their fear is very much their reality. I can't imagine my life if I were scared of flying. But I am the opposite- I love it, probably more than I should.

So yes, I am biased, but as my boyfriend commented on Saturday "You're still more likely to die on the way to the airport than on the flight." And that, friends, is why I'm not afraid of flying.

If that happy thought didn't do it for you, maybe this advice from Lloyd Dobler will:

Lloyd Dobler Meme


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Filed under: Travel

Tags: Airline Safety, Fear of Flying

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