Jet and Airline Travel Safety
Traveling by plane is one of the safest ways to travel. There are numerous reasons why this is so, from airport security measures to acceptable standards for flying conditions, airplane crew safety training, and even the design of the airplane itself. Some people might find the idea of getting on a jet and taking off stressful, and that’s understandable. However, measures are in place to ensure that passengers arrive safely at their destination, and knowing more about them might put people’s minds at ease.
There are multiple security measures of several types implemented at airports across America. Airport personnel are trained to spot passengers who may be behaving oddly; ticket agents and security agents talk to travelers when issuing boarding passes or observing travelers’ actions and step in or alert authorities when there’s a problem. Baggage handlers screen luggage for prohibited items. Transportation Security Administration officers conduct further screenings to make sure that everyone who’s boarding a plane isn’t wearing or carrying anything prohibited or dangerous.
Ground crew and air traffic controllers undergo rigorous training in order to safely direct airplanes and prepare them for flight. Special tools like radar and related technology allow air traffic controllers to be an extra pair of eyes for pilots, making sure they don’t fly too closely to other planes or advising them with regard to significant weather systems that can result in delays in takeoff or landing. Ground crew handle critical pre-flight tasks like de-icing wings in climates where wintry conditions can threaten flights and ensuring that sufficient fuel for the journey is loaded onto planes.
Weather and Terrain
While it’s true that weather and mountainous areas can be dangerous when flying, there are a couple of safety measures that minimize the risk for passengers. Planes are typically equipped with highly sophisticated weather radar systems that help pilots identify and either avoid or safely travel through active weather systems like storms. Pilots can also work with air traffic controllers to set a flight plan that avoids known weather disturbances before the plane even takes off. With regard to terrain precautions, pilots get immediate alerts from the plane if the flight veers too close to land due to descending or proximity to geographic features like mountain slopes.
The pilots and crew who are responsible for the safe operation of a plane receive extensive training, both in the operation of the plane and successful management of a flight and in emergency preparedness. Pilots learn how to fly a plane and spot flight-related problems quickly, addressing them up to and including emergency landings; in many cases, there are two pilots assigned to a flight. Flight attendants are trained in the safe and responsible operation of a flight cabin, from ensuring that everyone knows where the emergency exit is to demonstrating how to use the oxygen masks that drop down in an emergency. They are prepared for a leadership role in case of an emergency, with passenger safety as their top priority. Pilots hold a formal license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Flight attendants hold certification from the FAA.
There are several ways in which aircraft are designed in order to provide passengers with a safe flight. Airplanes are structurally designed to withstand common airborne hazards; for example, an airplane can be struck by lightning without being damaged. Inside the cabin, overhead bins keep small packages and carry-ons from being tossed around and hurting someone mid-flight. Airplane seats have lap belts installed to protect passengers during periods of turbulence, and seat cushions become flotation devices should a water landing be necessary. Planes also typically have special floor lighting that glows in the event of an emergency, guiding passengers toward an exit. Airplane restrooms are equipped with smoke detectors, too, so that any risk of fire that can occur when a passenger tries, say, smoking in the bathroom is immediately addressed by airline staff.
Other Safety Measures
There are many additional ways in which airlines ensure that passengers have a safe trip. Airplanes must undergo strict maintenance inspections regularly. Planes may also have radar systems that can pick up on the presence of migrating birds nearby so that incidences of birds striking planes can be minimized. Flight attendants are trained to use on-board fire extinguishers, and some planes are equipped with automatic fire suppression systems.
In addition, airplanes are stocked with first aid kits and even automatic external defibrillators for use by trained personnel in case of medical emergencies. At the beginning of every flight, flight attendants make announcements to passengers in which they go over the safety features of the airplane and what to do in an emergency; flight attendants are also present for the duration of the flight, and passengers can page a flight attendant for assistance with the push of a button.
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- Traveler Information
- Airplane Safety: Worldwide Stats & Facts
- Flying Safe
- 12 Reasons Why Flying is Still the Safest Way to Travel
- Passenger Travel Tips
- The 11 Most Entertaining Airline Safety Videos
- Fly Rights: A Consumer Guide to Air Travel