When it comes to choosing your seat on a flight, there’s so much to consider. For some, the aisle is an essential part of the plane, while others might prefer the window seat with a view. Other factors can make you feel comfortable during the trip– legroom is important, and sitting over the wing or front of the plane can be preferable instead of at the back. There are many things to compare when deciding where to sit on a flight.
The pros and cons of different locations
Those uncomfortable window seats you see on planes don’t always offer the best view. There are also rear-mounted engine seats, which can get noisy and give you less chance of surviving if there’s a crash. We want to tell you about the safest seats on an airliner and what they’ve got going for them.
It’s true that sitting in the back of the plane helps you avoid being crushed by a wing. However, there are lots of other factors to consider, including where might the impact hit, and what part of the plane took the most damage. With that said, let’s take a closer look at how these factors add up.
The air disaster that took place in Tenerife of March 27, 1977
Let’s first take a look at some of the facts and figures concerning the 1977 Tenerife disaster, a KLM Boeing 747 colliding with a taxiing Pan Am Boeing 747 while taking off. This tragedy saw a total of 234 passengers and 14 crew members killed in this devastating air collision.
This shows that survival hinges on more than just what position you sit in. Rather, the likelihood of surviving is more related to your position within the plane rather than spatial location. This reinforces the idea that fire accidents related to moving vehicles are incredibly survivable as long as you’re in front of the fire.
The numbers don’t lie
Time Magazine cited a study done by the Federal Aviation Authority, examining accidents and deaths between 1985 and 2020. According to that report, the worst place to sit on a plane is in the middle of the cabin. The seats in the center had a 39% fatality rate while the front third had 38% and seats in the back third had 32%.
In order to survive in a plane crash, the data pointed towards the middle seats in the rear by far having the best chance at being alive. While there was some success on one side of the aisle and one seat on the other, 44% of passengers died on those seats.
Other research has indicated that those who have the best chances of escaping a crash are those whose escape starts with one of the emergency escape exits, like window seats or aisle seats. This study was conducted following a crash.
The consequences that an aircraft crash can have can depend on the specific circumstances. To determine what will happen during a crash, one would have to consider where the plane takes the brunt of the impact and how far away from the nose or tail.
The odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 8,000, but when compared to road traffic accidents the odds for flying are 1 in 2.50. All-in-all, flying can still be considered one of the safest forms of transport there is today.
Running into a wall to test how much you can handle
In April 2012, a group of Mexican scientists intentionally crashed a Boeing 727 for research. The purpose of their experiment was sinister, with they wanted to examine which parts of the plane have the highest survival rate during an aircraft crash. Their findings showed that those at the front face the greatest risk, with it decreasing as you travel further back.