Now Boarding: Surviving a plane crash

The Times Online

source: The Times Online

Everyone is now well-aware of the US Airways plane that crashed into the icy Hudson River today. You’re probably also aware of what the New York mayor and governor thought of it, as well as the opinion of your local news faces, and by now the perspective of all 164 passengers and what going down on a plane looked like from seats 1A to 54F, and what all their families and neighbors and dogs thought. And maybe for that great “local angle” you caught what your metropolitan safety commission “would have done” in that situation. If you have absolutely no idea about today’s biggest news since the inauguration preparation, hopefully it’s because you were busy sunning yourself on the beaches of Koh Tao, which is where I wished I still was today while sludging through 800 office emails.

In any case, I read a “related article” about how to survive a plane crash, because even though the risk of getting into accident on a plane is significantly lower than riding in cars driven by certain friends, I still worry in the back of my mind – what if. (While trying desperately to recuperate from seasickness at a restaurant in Koh Samui in time for our flights to Bangkok, Tokyo and New York, I tried to keep my mind occupied on the TV which featured, of all things, “Investigation of a Plane Crash” on the National Geographic channel. And the plane they were investigating happened to be Japan Airlines, which we were about to take. Nice.)

However, did you know that 95 percent of people in some form of airplane accident – whether veering off a runway, crashing somewhere or being engulfed in flames – survive? That’s a calming statistic. Following that, I learned a few more tips:

-Aisle seats make for easier access to the exit – and the bathroom, if you want to be practical. So is sitting within 7 rows of any exit and being aware of your quickest escape route. And as long as there’s no fire in the back of the airplane, the tail is safer than the front row. What do you think of them pretzels, business class?

-Wearing sneakers instead of flip flops helps for a quicker escape.

-The brace position comes in handy. Grab your ankles and bury your head in your lap to minimize injury upon impact. (That still doesn’t comfort me much. I sometimes think maybe adding an airline pillow as a makeshift helmet might help out, too)

-If you’re flying through cold places and have a jacket with you, keep in on hand and use as a pillow in the meantime. I’m sure those people in the freezing Hudson were happy to have theirs with them when they went for a swim.

-Account for fellow travelers after evacuating. It’s faster and less chaotic than trying to do it on board.

-Get away from the aircraft. It’s like a fire drill at the office – people like to stand around in the lobby or entrance, which makes no sense.

On that note, safe and happy travels!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Now Boarding: Surviving a plane crash

  1. Josh

    You may want to think twice about talking about Rin’s advice while boarding an aircraft… if you look like you’re from the Middle East. A Detroit family (with origins in Lebanon, like I’ve got origins in Austria) was recently booted from an Air Tran flight to Orlando for nonchalantly discussing the safest part of the plane. (It’s the tail, as Rin said, unless the whole thing blows). The family included one Ph.D., two physicians, four kids and zero jihadists.

    The worst part is that Air Tran refused to re-book them, even after the poor people were grilled by the FBI. The FBI believed that the extended family of 8 did not plan to blow up the flight and were actually going to Disney World for vacation, but failed to persuade our reasonable friends at Air Tran to let them fly.

  2. I’m glad no one was hurt in the crash, sounds like the pilot did a great job

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