Thoughts With Asiana 214

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My stomach felt like it fell to my feet when my spotty cell reception in North Carolina hit a patch of service and I saw all the tweets about Asiana Flight 214 come through.  Rational or not, when you live among a world of frequent flyers, you feel connected to everyone on every flight.  You know that it could be you or someone you care about on any flight at anytime.

There is absolutely some risk in flying, but there is also risk in driving to the grocery store, or even laying on your couch and eating Doritos all day.  Clearly I am not an aviation crash expert, and know nothing more about this incident than anyone who has turned on CNN, but the fact that the plane remained so intact, and emergency procedures were so effective as to allow for so many to get off safely as they did, actually emphasizes for me how safe air travel is.

I do get nervous sometimes when flying, and I do try to keep my daughter strapped in as much as possible – and always upon take-off and landing, but I know the statistics are very much in my favor.  For the most part, flying is very safe, and as scary and stomach-turning as this crash is, it also reinforces that even when things go wrong, they can potentially be survivable.

It goes without saying, but if you have children who fly, just be aware of their exposure to the coverage of this accident on TV.  Seeing images of a crashed plane may make them overly fearful of future flights.  I think talking about some airplane safety regarding locating the emergency exits, how to go down the slides, etc. can be useful, but seeing too many images of a crashed plane may do more harm than good.

And if you ever have the misfortune of being involved in any kind of crash or hard landing, please, please leave your bags on board the aircraft.  Seconds matter.  Teach your kiddos that as well.

Asiana Flight

Taken by @Eunner who was on the flight

Thoughts are with all involved.  Safe flying everyone.

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  1. Thanks for writing about this. As I slowly worked thru the TSA lines in Miami yesterday, several people asked me WHY I was wearing jeans and full leather shoes in 95 degree weather? Most were travelling in flip flops and shorts.

    I told them that I always fly in jeans or leather pants and full leather shoes… If I ever was caught in a plane fire, I would have maybe 20 seconds longer than they would to get out before the burning jet fuel hit my skin, whereas their bare legs and feet would burn immediately. They looked at me like I was crazy when I told them this.

    I am very upset about this crash today and I hope that we can all learn from it and help ourselves to fly safely.

  2. This is so scary.. I was in flight from IAD – NRT on a 777 when this happened. I’ve almost booked the ICN-SFO flights so many times. It’s so crazy to believe it could actually happen to you.

  3. I am currently in Europe on a round the world trip and will take a 777 from NRT to JFK on the 15th. I try not to think about this too much to not get worried. Like you said MP, the stats are in my favor.

  4. It’s amazing to see the extent of damage to the plane, and yet so many people were able to get off safely. That’s certainly reassuring.
    But I cannot believe that anyone would stop to get their carryon luggage before exiting a plane that just had a crash landing (or whatever the official term for what happened is). If there is something you would feel unable to exit the plane without, then make sure it is on your person. Although, frankly, if I get off that plane with my daughters by my side, I don’t care what goes up in flames on that plane or elsewhere.

  5. It is very good of you to mention that you should leave your bags on the aircraft in this kind of situation. One would think a survivor would be grateful to have escaped unharmed but some people value their carryon luggage more highly than another passenger’s life.
    Many years ago a friend told me her parents had been on a Spantax flight that crashed in Spain. There were numerous fatalities. Her parents were uninjured but she complained bitterly about their lost luggage. I have never forgotten this. I don’t know if I was more shocked to hear that they had been on that plane or that they were so angry about the loss of their belongings despite the fact that they survived intact.

  6. I was sitting in the JAL lounge in Tokyo waiting to fly back to JFK when I heard about the crash through Twitter.
    It’s definitely not the kind of news you ever want to hear especially when you are about 30 minutes away from boarding a long flight home.

  7. Sher – thanks for reminding me about the proper clothes to wear. I usually forget, especially on long flights. I don’t find it comfortable to fly 10+ hours in jeans and heavy shoes. But I will definitely be thinking more about this on my upcoming flights. Also it is best to wear natural fibers such as cotton or wool because high heat will melt polyester to your skin. Layers are great too….besides changing cabin temps during flight, having extra layers you can use to protect your face in case of emergency is helpful.

    I am flying an Asiana 777-200 from ICN to ORD next March. 🙁 This incident will not change my plans ( and I did not let my 5 year old son see any of the news coverage) …. but it does make you think. And worry 🙁

    And the only thing I would make sure to grab in an emergency evacuation is my son!

  8. @Sher. If you are worried about the potential of being burned in an airplane crash, you should also wear a helmet every time you drive. The odds of sustaining a head injury in a car crash are hundreds times higher.

  9. It’s also worth noting that there have been 4 other commercial airline crashes just this year alone, and which have killed 80 people. Yet sadly as they occurred outside of the Western world, they don’t seem worthy of thoughts and prayers.

  10. I have flown OZ 213/214 many times. It is extremely difficult to process the news of a flight I have personally taken before. The news is just hard to watch, as it is mixed with speculations and false information. My prayers to all the passengers, but my thoughts and gratitude are with the cabin crew. They definitely did a great job getting people out.

    As I usually fly transpacific, I will not hesitate to board Asiana flight again.

  11. As sad and tragic as this is, I bet there were more than 2 car related fatalities in the Bay Area yesterday that you’ll never hear about. You know that they say, “The most dangerous part of flying is driving to the airport” So very true. I think its sad that the media sensationalizes this stuff and then moves on to another topic before we find out any real facts. Hopefully there is some good that comes from this in the form of stuff we can learn to help further improve aviation safety.

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