When flying, many passengers opt to sit as close as possible to the front of the plane, usually for the added convenience of leaving the aircraft first. Still others choose to sit over the wings of a plane with the mindset that this is one of the safest places to sit in the event of a plane crash. Where is, in fact, the safest to sit? Boeing is sure to reinforce the idea that, “One seat’s as safe as another,” as quoted from the Boeing website. Through further study, it becomes apparent that there is somewhat of a correlation between where passengers sit and their expected survival should their plane crash.
What The Numbers Say
In July of 2007, Popular Mechanics published results from a study they conducted that included all of the plane crashes in the United States since 1971 that had both fatalities and survivors. It was shown time and again that passengers seated near the rear of the plane were most likely to survive in a plane crash. Of the 20 crashes studied (chosen because seating charts were available for reference), 11 of the crashes showed better survival rates for those in the back of the plane. If broken into quarters, a 37-row airplane has the following survival rates during a plane crash: the first quarter has a 49% survival rate, the middle two quarters have a 56% survival rate, and the final quarter has a 69% survival rate. There is, however, a noteworthy exception: the three fatalities that occurred during Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco this month. We have several articles on the crash, which can be found here.
It’s shown from the above research that sitting near the back is helpful in certain instances. Robert Clifford, in an article by My Fox Chicago, indicated that it doesn’t, in fact, matter where passengers sit in a plane during a plane crash. It seems that the best passengers can do is make sure to understand the safety procedures of their plane before take-off in case of an emergency. How do you choose your seats when you fly?