A new study of over 100 aircraft accidents has confirmed what many of us already knew - the closer to an exit you can sit the better your chance of surviving an airline crash. Those passengers sitting in the emergency exit rows, and the rows immediately in front and behind of the emergency exit row, would have the highest probability of surviving a crash.
By contrast the further away from the emergency exit the greater the chance of not surviving a crash. In fact, seats six rows or more from an emergency exit had virtually no chance of surviving an accident. Toxic fumes are the most common cause of death in an airliner crash, and passengers 15 rows or further from an emergency exit had little or no chance of surviving the toxic fumes resulting from post-impact fire.
An interesting sidelight to this study showed that relatives would delay seeking their own safety to help other relatives, while business colleagues traveling together were left to their own abilities for survival.
"In real emergency situations, where passengers may have a choice of directions in which to escape, they may ultimately ignore crew commands and attempt to use their nearest exit," said the report. It also said that passengers would usually act in a selfish manner when faced with a crash, climbing over seats to jump the queue for the exit and thereby delaying evacuation.
So, the next time you climb into an airliner grab the seat closest to an exit, or make your reservation and request one of those seats.
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!