Flight safety is in your control
For some people, an airplane flight means freedom, a temporary respite from everyday routine. But for absolutely everyone, it also means being prepared. In a recent news report, that point was made in a stark way.
On April 17, 2018, aboard Southwest Flight 1380, a passenger died when pieces of an engine broke off and shattered a window. Search online for images of Flight 1380 and you’ll find something curious: After the cabin lost pressure, many of the passengers put on their oxygen masks incorrectly, with their noses uncovered. That potentially life-threatening scenario could have been avoided if they had paid close attention to not just the flight attendants’ preflight safety demonstration but also the seatback card located in every chair pocket.
Knowledge about everything that can happen and ways to handle anything is a must, according to Joe Metallo, manager of Argonne’s Global Travel Services and Security office.
“A plane crashing is very, very rare and most flights are uneventful,” he said, “but there is a continuum of possibility in the middle.”
His list of potential dangers includes loss of pressure, just like Flight 1380 experienced. Also, turbulence can quickly and unexpectedly lift cabin walkers off their feet and unbuckled chair sitters up toward the cabin ceiling. Plus, passengers sneak extra weight into their onboard luggage, creating a health hazard if the luggage shifts and the overhead bins open due to turbulence.
Metallo’s solutions are simple but important. Pay attention to safety warnings, human and otherwise. Read the safety card, don’t just look at the pictures. Know how to get to an emergency exit. If you’re in an emergency exit row, understand what’s expected of you. Learn where the life jackets are.
“Flying is like everyday driving,” said Metallo. “It can be enjoyable and you do have some control, but you have to be alert and prepared.”
By Chris Howes