March 27, 2014

KASSA | 370 Thoughts

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By LEA KASSA

In light of the recent disaster with flight Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, I beg the question: How much danger are we putting ourselves in when we board a plane?

Now, I’m not one to get scared easily, but there’s something abnormally unsettling about willingly strapping yourself into a metal cylinder that can fly up to 40,000 feet in the air. What can you, a passenger, do in an emergency situation if you are 40,000 feet in the air? That’s right, nothing. There is absolutely nowhere to go. If the plane executes a successful emergency landing, then wonderful, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to escape through functioning emergency exits. If you land in the ocean, maybe you’ll be equipped with a life vest, or a flotation device — anything to keep you above the waters — but then what? Who knows how long it will take for emergency responders to arrive? What if they never do? And if you land on ground, what are your chances of escaping without getting burned by flaming piles of airplane rubble? Can anyone explain to me how and why we willingly put ourselves at risk of these very situations?

I’m sure there’s some statistic out there that says my chances of being in that sort of situation are one in a trillion. I’m sure that’s supposed to make me feel reassured. But even with that in mind, my thoughts wander to the 239 people aboard Flight 370, the 228 people aboard Air France Flight 447 in 2009 and every other victim of airplane disasters. And I think of how they were told that same statistic.

Yet, there are thousands of flights that come and go every day from every corner of the earth. The vast majority of these flights are successfully executed. The unparalleled efficiency of air travel combined with the increasing desire to travel abroad means that the aviation industry will be in demand until another method of transportation can even approach its speed and utility.

Alas, I, along with the rest of the world, will continue take planes across the country and the globe, knowing the danger I am exposing myself to, but also realizing that anything worthwhile in life comes with risks. My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by Flight 370; I am keeping you all in my thoughts.

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