It has been said many a times that air travel is the safest mode of transportation, but the recent events of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 has thrown significant questions to the “flying is the safest mode of transportation” theory.
Even though air travel is the mode of transportation that gives its passengers the least amount of control, I personally believe it to be the safest mode of transportation on planet earth. While discussing what happened to the missing Boeing 777 with a friend of mine, we covered all the theories bandied about of its whereabouts as well as why this tragic incident occurred. The conversation inevitably turned to flight safety when he asked me if I still felt safe flying?
My answer to him was a resounding “yes”. And it was given without any hesitation or thought on my part.
My reasoning was very simple. In the three plus weeks since Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 went missing it has been the biggest story on the news and in news media, not to mention one of the biggest mysteries of recent times. With all this attention it brought memories of numerous other flights over the years which did not end particularly well, thus not portraying air travel safety in a positive light. But I asked this friend a simple question:
“In the three plus weeks since Flight 370 has gone missing how many flights have there been worldwide that ended without any negative consequences?”
He chuckled lightly and told me understand the point I was trying to convey. He knew there had probably been thousands of flights since then without any casualties, but still asked if would feel safe flying. Why?
It likely reverts back to the old adage “when I do good, no one remembers, but when I do bad no one forgets”. Typically that’s how we as human beings function, we tend recall the negative more effortlessly. If an individual does ten different things, nine of which are favourable but one happens to be heinous, we will like remember or focus on the heinous act.
This mode of thinking is apparent when we evaluate air travel. One accident or mishap – granted when they occur they are catastrophic – and we never forget, but the hundreds of planes that fly safely everyday always seem to be overlooked. Currently who remembers the pilot who landed the plane on the Hudson River and saved numerous lives? I can’t recall his name unless I look it up, so even I’m guilty of this type of thinking and/or analysis.
Despite the unfortunate events of Flight 370, I still feel relatively safe flying, and will try not to let this event distort my views of travelling by air.