Concerned about the safety of your flight? Follow this sage advice from international risk expert Lloyd Figgins.
1. Never sit in a row more than five rows away from an emergency exit and always count the number of seat rows between you and the nearest exit.
2. Familiarise yourself with your nearest emergency exit and visualise how you would get there in an emergency (bearing in mind that there will be general panic and other people clambering to reach it as well).
3. Do not remove your shoes before take-off. If you need to get off the aircraft quickly or if there’s a fire, you will be glad of your shoes. Remember also to have them on for landing. Most incidents happen at take-off or landing. Avoid travelling in high-heeled shoes.
4. Always check the safety record of the airline you intend to fly with. If it doesn’t have a good record, choose another, even if it costs a little more. How much is your life worth to you?
5. Where possible, pre-book your seat. Statistically, the rear of the aircraft is safer and aisle seats will allow you to get out quicker.
6. Read the safety card and watch the crew’s safety demonstration.
7. Practise fastening and unfastening your seat belt a few times before take-off. Get used to how the seat belt works and feels.
8. Check to see that your life jacket is stowed where it should be. If it’s not there, ask for one. Airlines tend to carry spares.
9. If you are flying in a light aircraft, chartering an aircraft or doing bush flying, remember that safety records are poorer in mountainous areas, and also in Africa and Russia. Fly in daylight and in good weather, and don’t pressure aircrew to fly against their better judgement. Again, check the safety record of the company you’re thinking of flying with.
10. Have a small torch with you. An LED head torch in particular is very useful when travelling.
11. In an emergency evacuation, leave all personal belongings behind. Carry-on bags will slow your exit and create a hazard for you and others.
12. Don’t wait for others to move: many will be paralysed by fear. Get yourself out regardless of what others are doing.
13. During an emergency or crash landing, the cabin filling with smoke is one of the great dangers. You can be quickly disabled by smoke, so get down low and try to get out fast.
14. Listen to the instructions of the cabin crew and follow their commands. Their purpose is to protect you.