After a Plane Starts to Fall Apart Mid-Air, Travelers Wonder: How Safe Are We, Really?
(Photo: Corbis Images)
These are stressful times for air travelers.
On an American Airlines flight Monday from San Francisco to Dallas, cabin panels pulled apart from the walls of the plane, terrifying passengers and causing the Boeing 757-200 to make an emergency landing. According to the Associated Press, American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said the incident was the result of a blown air duct and posed no danger to passengers.
But there's nothing scarier than seeing your plane start to fall apart in the sky — especially on the heels of this summer's high-profile aviation incidents, like the tragic shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17 and an Air Algerie flight with 116 people on board that crashed in Mali on July 24.
With plane tragedies hitting the news with alarming regularity, it’s easy to see why those who already have a healthy fear of flying are absolutely on pins and needles these days.
For some, it’s a scary time to fly (Photo: Corbis Images)
"People afraid of flying try to deal with their anxiety by keeping it out of mind," says former airline pilot Tom Bunn, a licensed therapist and founder of SOAR — a program that helps people get over their fear of flying. But he notes that the willful ignorance “aviophobes” practice when they don’t have to fly goes away once they have a flight coming up, and seeing this recent string of flight tragedies can be terrifying. “They think if things happen all at once there’s some meaning there — that flying is getting more dangerous, otherwise this wouldn’t be happening. They’re paying attention, and it absolutely drives them up the wall.”
Some travelers try to mitigate their fear of flying by getting as much information as they can about their upcoming flights. For passengers in this situation, here’s what Bunn thinks they need to know — and what they don’t:
Flying Is Incredibly Safe
Here’s the time when plane experts generally start quoting the famous line Superman says to people he’s rescued from aerial perils: “Statistically speaking … it’s still the safest way to travel.”
Despite the headlines, remember that flying is still an extremely safe way to travel (Photo: Thinkstock)