Listen To The Safety Spiel

I’ve lived long enough to have come up with a few survival tips: wear a seat belt, notice where the emergency exits are located and, when disaster strikes, get the hell out of the way.

The New York Times had an interesting opinion piece Sunday (registration required) on just those strategies. George Bibel, an expert on plane crashes, makes a compelling case for listening to the flight attendant’s safety instructions, keeping the seat belt fastened and making quick with the emergency exiting.

He cites several cases where passengers survived incidents in which commercial aircraft were seriously damaged in the air or on the ground. "In any airplane accident, passengers are five times more likely to survive than to die," he wrote. 

He also mentioned some cases where quick evacuations of planes on the ground were critical to saving lives.

And yet more than half of passengers admit to tuning out the flight attendants’ safety spiels. (OK, I’m guilty, too.)

Maybe I don’t need to hear for the thousandth time the same instructions about keeping the safety belt belt low and tight across my lap. But I’m still going to take a minute to figure out where the exits are.


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