What Are The Chances Of Surviving A Plane Crash?

Traveling by plane is one of the safest ways to travel, but accidents still occur every year. If you’ve ever worried about your odds of walking away unharmed from a crashed plane, you’re not alone. Read on as we break down the factors that affect your chances of surviving a plane crash.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: your odds of surviving a commercial plane crash are surprisingly good, around 95% on average. But many variables impact your chances in any given accident.

How Often Do Plane Crashes Occur?

Commercial airline crash statistics

Plane crashes are rare occurrences, with the aviation industry constantly working to improve safety measures and reduce the likelihood of accidents. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), there were approximately 40 million commercial flights in 2019, and the accident rate was 1.13 accidents per million flights.

This means that the chances of being involved in a plane crash are incredibly low, with a 0.0000113% chance per flight.

It’s important to note that the majority of plane crashes involve smaller, private aircraft rather than commercial airlines. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that in 2019, there were 1,214 accidents involving general aviation aircraft, resulting in 393 fatalities.

Although these numbers may seem high, it’s crucial to consider the vast number of private flights that occur every year. The overall accident rate for general aviation is still relatively low.

Fatality rates in plane crashes

While plane crashes do happen, it’s essential to understand that the majority of incidents do not result in fatalities. The Aviation Safety Network (ASN) reports that the fatality rate for commercial airline accidents in 2019 was approximately 0.18 per million flights.

This means that the chances of dying in a plane crash are incredibly slim, with a 0.000018% chance per flight.

Furthermore, advancements in aircraft technology and safety protocols contribute to the high survival rates in plane crashes. Improved cabin designs, fire suppression systems, emergency exits, and enhanced training for crew members all play a role in increasing passenger safety.

Airlines also have strict maintenance procedures and adhere to rigorous safety regulations to ensure the well-being of their passengers.

Factors That Impact Your Chances of Survival

Where the plane crashes

The location of the plane crash plays a significant role in determining the chances of survival. If the plane crashes in a remote or inaccessible area, the rescue operation may be delayed, reducing the likelihood of survival.

On the other hand, if the crash occurs near a populated area or an airport, emergency response teams can arrive quickly, increasing the chances of rescue and survival.

Time of impact and fire

The timing of the impact and any subsequent fire can greatly impact the chances of survival. In some cases, passengers have managed to escape unharmed before a fire broke out or spread. However, if the impact is severe and followed by an immediate fire, the chances of survival may decrease significantly.

It is crucial for passengers to act quickly and efficiently to evacuate the aircraft in such situations.

Your seat location

The seat you choose on a plane can make a difference in your chances of survival. According to studies and investigations, seats located near emergency exits have a higher chance of survival. These seats provide easier access to the exits, allowing passengers to evacuate more quickly.

Additionally, seats located in the rear of the aircraft tend to have a higher survival rate compared to those closer to the front. This may be attributed to the fact that rear exits are typically less crowded during an evacuation.

Passenger preparedness

Passenger preparedness can also impact the chances of survival in a plane crash. Being aware of the safety instructions provided by the airline and paying attention to the safety demonstration before takeoff can help passengers respond effectively in an emergency situation.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest emergency exits and understand how to use the safety equipment on board. Remaining calm and following the instructions of the flight attendants can also contribute to a successful evacuation.

While it is impossible to predict the outcome of a plane crash, understanding these factors can help passengers make informed decisions and be better prepared for emergencies. Remember, air travel is statistically one of the safest modes of transportation, and airlines continuously implement safety measures to minimize the risk of accidents.

Steps To Improve Your Odds In A Crash

Picking your seat wisely

Believe it or not, where you sit on a plane can greatly impact your chances of surviving a crash. Studies have shown that passengers seated in the rear of the aircraft have a higher survival rate compared to those in the front.

This is because the back of the plane tends to experience less impact during a crash. Additionally, choosing an aisle seat can provide easier access to emergency exits, increasing your chances of a swift evacuation. For more information on choosing the safest seat, you can visit www.nbcnews.com.

Following safety briefing instructions

Although safety briefings may seem repetitive, it is crucial to pay attention and follow the instructions provided by the flight attendants. These briefings are designed to familiarize passengers with the emergency procedures and the location of safety equipment, such as life jackets and oxygen masks.

In the event of a crash, being aware of these procedures can significantly improve your chances of survival. Remember, your safety is their priority, so it is important to listen and comply.

Staying aware during takeoff and landing

While takeoff and landing may seem routine, they are actually the most critical phases of a flight. It is important to remain alert and follow any instructions given by the flight crew during these times.

Pay attention to the location of the nearest emergency exits and keep your seatbelt securely fastened. In the event of an emergency, being prepared and aware of your surroundings can make a significant difference in your ability to react quickly and effectively.

Staying fit and healthy when flying

Physical fitness plays a role in your ability to survive a plane crash. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can improve your chances of survival by increasing your strength and endurance. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help improve your overall physical condition.

Additionally, it is important to avoid excessive alcohol consumption before and during a flight, as it can impair your ability to think clearly and react in an emergency situation. Remember, being in good shape can give you an advantage in high-stress situations.


While plane crashes are rare, you can take steps to boost your odds of walking away by choosing your seat carefully, following safety instructions, staying alert, and staying in good health. But the next time you fly, keep in mind that today’s commercial jets are engineered for maximum survivability.

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