Wednesday, 01 August 2007 03:15
Hi Capt Lim,
I have a quick question regarding my fear of flying: Last winter I was traveling with my husband and our two sons on an Air India flight from Bangkok to New Delhi, India. Several hours into the flight, the plane suddenly dropped from the air. I could feel myself *floating* above my seat and watched in horror as my son floated up from his bassinet. The crew of Air India never explained the sudden drop.
Ever since that flight, I have been a fearful passenger. It has gotten to the point where I have to medicate myself prior to flying, as I am a crying mess without Xanax.
Can you please help me understand what may have happened that night?
Can you also give me your opinion on airlines in Asia such as Air India, Air Asia, and Malaysia Airlines? We are flying Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines this winter and I am already a nervous wreck.
Thanks so much,
I have answered many questions similar to yours in my site. As regards to your other question, I have yet to update my list of the safest airlines in my site but here is my opinion given with a disclaimer.
Air India has an unofficial ranking below the 10th position in terms of safety in the Asian region and the last fatal accident was recorded in1985. Malaysia Airlines stands around the 5th safest airlines within the same region. Air Asia, on the other hand, is a fairly new low cost airline but it has a pretty good safety record.
How does one judge the safety of an airline? Well, I would look at the management and operations of the carrier. For instance, do they have the latest equipment? How much do they spend on training of the pilots? (Pilot error seems to be one of the main contributing factor in many air accidents today). Are their planes equipped with the flight data analysis software (almost similar to the black box) to record pilots* performance (and deviation from the standard operating procedures) of the plane?
This is part of the FOQA (Flight Operational Quality Assurance) Program. It enables the airlines to pick out potential problems and correct them before they lead to an accident. This program has been very effective in many major airlines in the USA, a country that has the highest air safety record in the world.
As far as Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia are concerned, both are well managed. They are participating in the FOQA programs.
As for Air India, the airline hasn*t had a fatal accident since 1982 apart from the 1985 crash where a Boeing 747 was destroyed by a bomb over the Atlantic by some terrorists. Although the airline is not among the top safest airline in the world, it is far from being the worst. Since 1985, the airline has improved its safety record in line with the current industry average.
Learn more about air safety and fear of flying in my site to enjoy your flying better.
Have a pleasant flight ! :-)