Nowadays, with air-travel safety at an all time high, it would be pretty safe to assume that wherever you sit on a plane, you can rest assured that you’ll arrive at your destination without a scratch. Granted, the never-ending queues and screaming kids may grind you down, but it is a fact that commercial aviation is the safest form of transport in the world (other than elevators…!). However, is there a scientific best place to sit if the worst was to happen? Let’s explore a few different positions in the plane and see…
The advantage of being at the front (aside from the fact that you’re probably in First Class!) is that you’re closest to the cockpit. Some say this is important, because the pilot’s last-second instincts when ditching will be those of self-preservation. This means that they could make a split-second swerve at the last second intended to save their own life, and consequentially, this will probably benefit you too, seeing as you are close behind. Ever wondered why airlines put First Class at the front? Well it’s actually the place in the cabin with the least noise, seeing as it’s in front of the engines.
Over the wing
Logic may lead you towards over the wing being the safest place to sit. I mean, you’re neither at the front or back, so you’ll have a good degree of cushioning either side however you hit.
Logic could also lead to you suggesting that the back is the safest place to sit. I mean, after all, the plane is moving forwards, and you’ll probably have the most protection from an incoming crash at the front if you’re sitting at the back.
It turns out that the back is in fact the safest place to sit. A study by Popular Mechanics studied all plane crashes since 1971, finding that those sitting behind the wing had survival rates of 69%, as opposed to 56% over the wing and 49% for those at the front of the plane. That said, like I mentioned above, wherever you sit on a plane, you can be damn near certain that it will be a safe flight. These findings sure aren’t going to stop me in my pursuit of First Class flying, and sitting at the front!