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Chances of a Plane Crash

Image: The lesser-spotted flying pig

A flying pig is a pretty apt analogy for the probability of your next flight falling out of the sky. Well, reasonably apt.

But what exactly is the chance of having a plane crash?

While the chances of your plane plummeting from the sky are slightly higher than seeing a piglet soaring above your head, they’re not something to stress about.

According to the statistics, there is less than a 1 in 11 million of a chance of you getting into an airplane crash.

Here are some things more likely to kill you than a plane crash:

1. Food Poisoning

Image: A Burger (looks tasty, doesn’t it?)

You have a 1 in 3 million chance of dying by food poisoning. So unless you’re thinking of kicking your Big Mac addiction, you can safely justify setting off on a plane. But seriously, lay off the fast food for a while please.

2. A Falling Ladder

Image: The Modern Ladder (Warning! Do not walk under.)

Your grandparents always told you not to walk under ladders, and now you understand why. There’s a 1 in 2.3 million chance of being killed by one falling on you. Looks like there were no real good guys in ‘Snakes & Ladders’ after all. Who knew?

3. Falling Off a Bed

Image: A Bed. Just in time for forty winks.

Believe it or not, there is a 1 in 2 million chance of dying from casually falling off a bed. Maybe wrapping yourself up in cotton wool after putting on your pyjamas isn’t such a bad idea after all…

4. Baths

Image: A Bath. If you need one, take one.

You have a 1 in 685,000 chance of drowning in your bath. I’m assuming (read: hoping) that no one is planning on giving up basic personal hygiene any time soon. So, you can step on your next airplane with confidence, now you know you’ve been risking life and limb with each and every bubble bath up until this point.

I think you get the picture – don’t let Hollywood fool you; airplane crashes are not as common as they seem. They’re not common at all in fact.

We see movies about planes being gunned down, struck by lightning, having their engines fail, etc. These things might make for a nail-bitingly-good blockbuster film, but in reality, you’re far worse off statistically on the ground than in the air.

Image: An airplane being struck by lightning (Don’t worry, not actual footage)


While my list above might seem a little tongue-in-cheek, there is a far more sobering and relevant statistic to compare our 1 in 11 million chance to. That is, the chances of dying in a car or motor accident. Those figures are estimated to be between 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 5000, with more than 1.35 million people dying in this way every year.

And do you know what the biggest reason is for all these crashes? Human error. Driving into things, not paying attention, texting while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol… the list goes on and on.

You know where there’s a lot less traffic than inner-city driving? The sky. Plus, there is hardly any signal to text your buddies from 10,000 feet in the air. Not to mention the fact that pilots are breathalysed before they hit the cockpit.

In other good news, the chances of your plane crashing in the US, Europe, or Australia are even less than 1 in 11 million. They’re virtually zero.

In short, any time you take a bath, eat some leftover pizza, come into proximity of a ladder, or even sleep, you’re living significantly more on-the-edge than when you take a plane journey.

So, before you think about cancelling that family trip to Benidorm, or that girls/lads trip to Malaga, let the statistics put your mind at ease. You have nothing to worry about. Unless you forget your sunscreen of course, then you’re going to get burned.


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