As holiday travel begins, we are once again asked for hard data on travel safety- specifically, the safest seats on various means of travel. To that inquiry, our research indicates the following:
The safest seat on an airplane:
A recently published Popular Mechanics study concludes that, in an airplane crash, 69% of rear cabin passengers are more likely to survive than those in the front rows (generally the first and business classes or in all-coach flights, the first 15 rows). In the same situation, over the wing seat passengers experience a 59% survival rate, which then drops dramatically to 49% for those in the aforementioned front rows. Statistics show that the middle seats in the rear of an aircraft historically have the highest survival rates. (Bear in mind, however, that many factors are involved in aircraft mishaps that shape an incident; these statistics are based on otherwise “routine” flights in a standard design planes (rather than military or supersonic aircraft).
The safest seat on a railroad passenger train:
A railroad car or two ahead of the rear car is the safest seat on a passenger train. According to the U.S. government’s transportation accident investigation authority, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a majority of passenger rail mishaps damage the front cars; secondly, the middle cars in derailment situations; with the least damage occurring to the near to end cars. Of course, in the case of a front to rear collision between two trains, the first train will suffer rear car damage, obviously, the first car(s) of the second train will suffer the most damage but these are the rarest collision types. Final tip: choose a rear facing seat (in the direction of travel). In a crash, you won’t be thrown forward.
The safest cabin on a cruise ship:
From the Cruise Critic, the safest berths on a cruise ship are the mid to upper cabins, facing outward, in the ship’s aft (rear) section. Cruise line accidents, while extremely rare, tend to damage the hull (usually in the front part) first, thereby exposing the lower and inner cabins to immediate flooding as well as by positioning alone, these cabins have more restricted avenues of escape. Overall, we recommend staying away from any cruises along the Somalian coast, regardless of cabin choice.
We hope the above does not engender paranoia; you are safer traveling than you are in your own home:
The most recent statistics from the National Safety Council show that death by falling from a bed, chair or other furniture is almost as likely as death by air transport. As of 2016, your odds of dying from an in-home fall are about 1 in 379,000 while your risk in an airplane is about 1 in 484,000. You are safer hurtling through the air at 530 mph in a metal container than you are standing on a chair in your own home reaching for a can of tuna.
Our Operatives: Situationally aware.
As always, and especially when traveling, stay safe.