Despite the fact that airplane travel has become a bustling, lucrative, and by most accounts safe form of travel in the United States, many people still fear setting foot in that Boeing 747 – or any plane, for that matter. In fact, according to ABC News, as much as 25% of the population of the U.S. suffer from a fear of flying.
This number seems disproportionately high considering the likelihood of actually dying in a plane crash. The National Safety Council reports the probability of death by plane as just 1 in 188,364. That’s only slightly more likely than death by lightning strike, and way less likely than death by motor vehicle crash, which comes in at a frightening 1 in 103. Most Americans will get in a car every day without blinking, but when it comes to soaring thousands of feet in the air? It’s a bit harder to get your head around.
As the numbers have shown, however, there really is no reason to be so scared of flying, no matter how unnatural it may seem.
But every airline is not created equal
While many airlines are very safe, there do exist airlines that don’t have quite the best reputation. Take a look at the most dangerous airlines below, and make sure to double-check your flight information before purchasing the next flight ticket.
With just two stars from Airline Ratings, Ariana Afghan Airlines is one of the most dangerous airlines to book with. Not only is it not IOSA (International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit) certified, but it’s had no ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Country Audit. These measurements are standards meant to be applied internationally to improve air travel safety, so the fact that they don’t comply is worrying.
This airline has not, however, had any fatalities as of yet, so out of our list of the most dangerous airlines it may be one of the better options. Just don’t be surprised if your pilot accidentally pushes the hijack-emergency button. True story!
AirAsia Thailand is next on the list, also failing to acquire IOSA certification or pass an ICAO Country Audit. On top of this, the airline is not FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) endorsed, meaning it is banned from flying into American airspace. This airline has had multiple complications and mishaps on the runway; in November of 2018, one of their Airbus A-320’s proceeded to take off with a vehicle still on the runway. Apparently the tower controller “momentarily forgot” about the car that had been issuing clearance for departure.
Another incident, happening in September of 2019, saw a plane’s engine ignite shortly after take-off. Luckily, the plane was safely landed and no passengers were hurt.
Airlines with fatalities
Plenty of airlines have had fatalities in their long history of executing flights, but some airlines have a tougher history than others.
Cubana Airlines has gotten a bad name recently for crashes that happened in a somewhat-consistent manner. Despite having a 6/7 star rating on Airline Ratings, it had a fatal crash in May of 2018 where 112 people died. This came a year after a previous crash, which followed a crash just eight months earlier.
These accidents can almost be seen as happening in rapid succession in terms of air travel; many airlines go decades without such incidents.
It’s important to note that not all large airlines are necessarily safer. China Airlines specifically has seen some disastrous crashes despite being the largest air carrier in China, with some sources reporting over 30 major accidents in its history. It’s also had its share of minor accidents, with an engine shut-down reported in June of 2019 and a fuel emergency reported in March.
If you’re traveling into China and looking to avoid the airline, however, it might prove difficult given its prevalence.
Last on our list and the worst-rated on Airline Ratings is Nepal Airlines. They have just 1/7 stars, with their only passing criteria being that they are FAA endorsed. Lacking the IOSA certificate and the ICAO Country Audit, including a history with fatalities, it’s a wonder why. This airline saw crashes in 2010, 2013, and 2014 according to the Aviation Safety Network.
But that’s not all. Nepal is also home to “the world’s most dangerous airport” as said by BBC News, thanks to a short runway and surrounding mountains. With the increase of tourism, flights to the area have also increased, but we’ve yet to see a significant improvement in air safety.
Research before reserving
These five airlines are some of the most dangerous airlines a person can fly with, but they’re not the end of the list. While many air travel is incredibly safe, it’s still a good idea to read up on an airline’s history before booking a flight with them.
Being cautious, however, shouldn’t be a detriment to travel. Planes are still one of the safest modes of transportation, after all, and will get you places further away and in less time than a train or ship ever could. And really, where else are you going to get such amazing views of clouds, mountains, and cities?
So do some investigation, choose a reliable airline, and book that vacation knowing you’ll be traveling in the safest way possible.