The safest seats on a plane and the seats you may want to avoid during a crash have been highlighted by an aviation expert.
While Doug Drury, a professor and the director of aviation at Central Queensland University, is extremely confident in the safety of airplanes, earlier research has provided hints as to which seat travelers may wish to avoid when making reservations.
Drury stated: “Before we get into it, I should reiterate that air travel is the safest mode of transport. In 2019, there were just under 70 million flights globally, with only 287 fatalities.”
According to Drury, plane crashes by their very nature “do not conform” to standards and there are cases in which most people who survived were sat towards the front of the aircraft behind first-class seating.
In order to determine if there was any trend with fatalities and where they sat during crashes, Time Magazine released an article in 2015 that focused on airplane accidents from the previous 35 years.
Usable data from 17 flights during this time period showed a 32% mortality rate in the back third of the aircraft, compared to 39% in the middle third and 38% in the front third.
The analysis in the journal found that when row location was considered, the middle seats in the back of the aircraft had the lowest death rate (28%), whereas the middle third of the aisle had the highest (44%).
Time Magazine referenced a 2008 University of Greenwich study that claimed passengers nearest to an exit had the best chance of surviving, while the Time Magazine analysis found that “those who perished were dispersed randomly among survivors.”
The circumstances of the crash will also “dictate survivability,” according to Drury, and colliding nose-first into a mountain or into water will result in more fatalities than a pilot making a last-ditch attempt to land in a field.
A larger plane may be safer by offering “more protection in an emergency,” the aviation expert adds.
“But this, again, is highly dependent on the severity of the emergency. That’s not to say you should book your next flight on the largest plane you can find,” he explained.
Adding: “As I’ve mentioned, air travel remains very safe. So I’d suggest thinking about what movie you’ll watch instead, and hoping they don’t run out of chicken and only have the shrimp left!”