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What is the safest seat on a plane?

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What is the safest seat on a plane?

The rear part, although it can separate from the plane in a catastrophic accident, is more likely to remain intact than the front and middle parts that are still connected to the engines.

“The tail section often breaks,” Adjekum says, referring to the last section of the plane from behind the wings. “Much of that kinetic energy goes to the front of the plane and leaves the rear intact.”

meet in the middle

The center section of the plane has many advantages in the event of a bumpy flight. The point where the wings meet in the center creates a more stable base that serves as the plane’s center of gravity, making it less likely to bounce when encountering turbulence.

“A lot of the oscillatory forces of turbulence are better when you’re in the midsection than in the tail section,” Adjekum says. Basically, the plane works like a cantilever when it hits obstacles in the air. “So if you’re riding in the turbulence, it’s like a seesaw with you on the extended part of the saw.”

While the medium may be better for turbulence, it is not necessarily ideal for a catastrophic situation. After all, the center section is usually where the fuel cells are placed, meaning if there’s a fire, you’ll be right on top of the gas tank.

What the medium does have is easier access to the emergency exits in the center of the plane. The closer you are to the exits, the better your chances of surviving after an accident.

Hallway, Middle, Window

Okay, so the safest option is probably to go towards the back of the plane and still be close to an emergency exit. You already have your row, but now which seat to choose?

Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to each option. Sitting in the aisle puts you closer to any exit you need to go to in an emergency, but it also leaves you more vulnerable to being hit by falling luggage or loose debris hurtling down the aisle. Sitting by the window allows you to see what’s going on outside, which gives you a situational advantage, but leaves you trapped against the wall and waiting until the other people in your row exit first. Occupying the middle gives you a pair of human shields on each side to cushion potential bumps, but the middle seat is uncomfortable and an unpopular first choice.

Escape strategy

If you have aviation anxiety, chances are all this back-and-forth of trying to find the perfect place to sit is only causing more internal turbulence. Frankly, it’s probably not worth worrying about.

Plane crashes are ridiculously rare. According data from the International Air Transport Association, which represents the global airline industry, there was one accident causing fatalities among 37.7 million flights in 2023. But when accidents happen, each one is a little different and will affect the plane in different ways. Ultimately, Adjekum says, your chances of overcoming an in-flight emergency have less to do with where you sit and more to do with how well-trained your flight crew is and how closely you listen to his instructions. (That’s why everyone takes you so seriously to pay attention to those safety announcements.)

“Every time you sit on a plane, the first thing you should do is be situationally aware,” Adjekum says. “Listen to the instructions of the cabin crew, because they know their job and are there to ensure you are safe, no matter where you are sitting.”

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