Tuesday 5 August 2014

May the odds be ever in your favour

Where Lady Luck is always welcome: Monte Carlo Casino, Monaco
Architect Charles Garnier, built 1878-79 (image source: wikicommons)

by Todd Romaine

Three recent airline crashes, 462 needless deaths and the notorious missing Malaysian Airlines flight has put a definite scare in both novice and experienced flyers alike. More people have perished in the first 6 months of 2014 in air travel than all of 2013. 

Oddly the safety statistics for flying these days is better than it has been before. One M.I.T. statistics professor indicated that a person could fly every day for an average of 123,000 years before dying in a crash. The mechanical and structural parts of an air plane have become more reliable and navigation more intelligent thereby avoiding other planes and structures due to poor visibility. You have a significant higher possibility of perishing in a car accident where about 1.24 million die on roads worldwide each year, the bulk of this in the developing world where lack of enforcement and traffic etiquette creates needless reckless driving and ensuing fatalities. Even car fatalities in the West are on the consistent decline with better safety features such as air bags, brakes, GPS and the likes. However, how often are car fatalties on the news unless it is involves someone famous, multiple deaths, or it results in some general traffic disturbance. Most car accident fatalties are non-broadcasted lonely journeys devoid of deeper meanings to the general public. They lack the public appetite for group tragedy sensationalism like the Titanic or 9 11. 

What makes people eery about flying recently is that the way planes crash, the collective suffering and death toll, images of mangled and burned bodies, and the associated media coverage of grieving families at the airport. It is this sensationalism that makes some of us rethink the concept of flying altogether. But at the end of the day, most of the alternatives to flying are less safe, more timely and or more expensive. Naturally, we gravitate towards decisions that cost us less and take less time - a byproduct of our DNA perhaps...choosing the path of least resistance. 

So keep flying - the odds are statistically in your favour.

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