Scared Of Flying? Don't Be And Here's Why

Read this, stay safe - it's that simple

Here's the deal. Flying is safe. Well, pretty safe. Mainly safe. Safer than many, many other things all right? It's more safe than driving a car for example. It is time to accept this fact. Because it is indeed a fact.

Indeed, Dr. Arnold Barnett, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has done extensive research in the field of commercial flight safety and this is what he has discovered. During the 15 years between 1975 and 1994, the death risk per flight was one in seven million.

So, there it is. Having said that, we would like you to pay attention to your cabin crew and also, start watching those in-flight safety videos. Firstly, it's kind of rude not to. And secondly, you may learn that some of your other beliefs about flying are indeed false. Such as ...

Myth #1: Aircraft doors can be opened mid-flight

False: There have been countless tales of people trying to open plane doors during flights, but the air pressure makes it impossible to open the door while the plane is at cruising altitude, explains Emma Lovell, frequent traveller and director of CoziGo – a company that produces in-flight travel accessories.

The difference between the air pressure inside and outside the aircraft is so great that even the strongest passenger wouldn’t be able to get the door opened mid-flight. “Only when the aircraft has landed does the captain release the pressure and allow the doors to enable,” she says.

Make sure you pay attention to the in-flight video. Image: Getty.
Myth #2: You can get sucked into a flushing toilet

False: The sound of an airplane toilet flush is so startling that you’d be forgiven for thinking the force was strong enough to suck you right into the bowl. But the toilets are designed in such a way that it’s impossible for this to happen.

The vacuum only works near the lower end of the pipes so it won’t suck you in, Emma explains. The only way it could ever happen would be if there was a perfect seal of skin to seat – and toilet seats are designed to prevent this. That said, “Airlines do recommend you stand before flushing as they don’t guarantee flushing while sitting won’t hurt your bottom,” she says.

Myth #3: You’re more likely to die in brace position

False: Part of the in-flight safety message stimulates that in the event of an emergency passengers are required to adopt the brace position. While there have been various conspiracy theories that suggest you’re more likely to perish using the technique, Emma says this is not true.

“The airlines encourage you to take the brace position to stop you from hurtling forward and smashing into people in front of you. You are far less likely to be injured in the recommended brace position,” she says. Final verdict: pay attention to those safety videos.   

Flight safety begins with listening to the cabin crew. Image: Getty.
Myth #4: Air conditioning on planes spreads germs

False: There’s nothing worse than being cooped for hours on end on a flight with hundreds of other passengers breathing the same stale air, but despite what you might think, it doesn’t increase your chances of getting sick any more than your office air-conditioning system.

“An in-flight air-conditioning system draws fresh air from outside the cabin and redistributes it throughout the plane. This happens around twenty times per hour so you can rest easy,” Emma says.

“The toilets are tray tables are likely to be a greater risk of infection.” Good hand washing technique and hand sanitiser are your best bet here, she advises.

Myth #5: Using your phone will crash the plane

False: Mobile phones aren’t allowed to be used between take-off and landing – but not for the reason you may think.

While it’s widely believed that much older aircraft instruments may be affected by the use of mobile phones, according to MythBusters, the main reason they’re not allowed to be used is to prevent disruption to cellular towers on the ground.

“If hundreds of mobile phones are in use while flying over, it would cause chaos on the ground – not in the air,” Emma says.

Feature image: Getty.