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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Eight steps to a safer flight


For many of us, flying as a means of traveling where we need to go is so commonplace that we seldom give it much thought. Yet for others among us, flying is something we do so infrequently, that when it comes time to board a plane, it's a big deal. For either group, reviewing air-travel safety is always a good idea: it reminds the frequent flyers of the necessity of safety measures that traveling so often may have caused them to take for granted, and it educates the less experienced flyers among us of the things they can do to protect their own safety (which in turn should give them peace of mind). The following are effective ways to increase your safety while filing.

Choose nonstop flights. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of aircraft accidents are not actually the result of a plane suddenly tumbling, mid flight, from high altitudes. Rather, most accidents take place during take off and landing. A direct flight compared to its one-stop counterpart has half the number of take offs and landings (one each, as opposed to two each). That effectively cuts the risk of collision in half. That said, such a risk is already quite small to begin with, so if stopovers cannot be avoided, this is not reason to be worried.

Choose larger aircraft. This is much easier than it sounds: if you're flying through a major airport, you've already met this requirement. Despite the variances in plane sizes that most airlines rely on, they all fall under the category of larger aircraft. A small plane is one that has a maximum take off weight (total, including the aircraft itself) of 12,500 lbs or less.

Observe safety instructions closely. This can actually be a challenge simply because of how boring it might seem—especially if you're in the second leg of your flight and have just watched such a presentation only hours ago. That said, it's key that you commit this information to memory. If you're traveling with others, one good strategy to use is to use the provided safety pamphlets to quiz each other and verify that you know what to do in various emergency situations.

Respect the rules. Aircraft personnel are doing their best to ensure a safe flight for all, and have been well trained to meet that end. For this reason, you should listen to them. If a flight attendant asks you to put away a certain electronic device during take off, comply. It isn't appropriate to start explaining why your device is exceptional. It's only a few minutes before you'll be able to use it again anyway.

Note your exits. In the event of an emergency landing, knowing which exit is closest to you will help you move more quickly and effectively.

Stay hydrated. Health and safety are closely linked, and hydration is one of, if not the, foremost factor in maintaining good health. Proper hydration will ensure that you are alert and able to think clearly and respond quickly in case something goes amiss.

Avoid excessive alcohol. While some rely on the powers of intoxication to ease them through their fears of flying, you're much less likely to be able to make safe decisions in emergency situations if you are inebriated.

Remember that your own safety comes first. This is a tough one if you're traveling with children because intuitively, you tend to put them before yourself. If you're in a situation that calls for the donning of oxygen masks though, you're not going to be able to help anyone if you don't attend to your own safety first.

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