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Are you more concerned about flying given the demise of four planes recently?

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Old Jul 26, 14, 9:54 am
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Are you more concerned about flying given the demise of four planes recently?

My wife is concerned about our upcoming trip to Croatia and the Czech Republic (which is preceded by a weekend in Toronto). Her fear is that somehow terrorists will now be targeting passenger planes and maybe that the overall risk of flying is higher.

Like a lot of FTers I fly a lot -- after Eastern Europe, I have a trip to DC and then Frankfurt and home, then the next week London and DC then home, and then Frankfurt the next week, and so it goes. As a result, I compartmentalize my thinking and haven't even thought about the risk of flying.

Do you think that the terrorist attacks on passenger planes is part of a trend that should change the our perception of the probability of flying? Are the other crashes indicative of a trend in the flight-worthiness of planes (e.g., poorer maintenance or willingness to fly in bad conditions)? Or are these just akin to a few heads in a row in a sequence of random coin flips and shouldn't change our assessment of the probability of plane accidents?
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Old Jul 26, 14, 9:59 am
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Start by looking at a map. I don't think flights to Croatia and the Czech Republic go over any problematic areas but of course I don't know your routing or operating carriers.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 10:15 am
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Nope. Flying is still the safest way to travel.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 11:37 am
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Terrorists have targeted planes since at least the 1970s and used them in some of the most spectacular attacks since then. I am not sure how the recent crashes (none of which have yet been determined as being related to terrorism) would make them more likely to try that option. They've been trying all along. You were no safer on a plane two weeks ago than you are now.

Statistically, it's pure coincidence that you had these incidents in such a short time period.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 11:55 am
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Not at all. Statistically, I am vastly more likely to get smooshed by a taxi when out for a run or going about my daily routine than I am to be involved in an aviation disaster.

Terrorists are attracted to airplanes because crashes bring headlines. That has been a fact of life since the 1970s.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Nope. Flying is still the safest way to travel.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Nope. Flying is still the safest way to travel.

I feel safer in a plane than in a car, and statistics back me up.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by dinoscool3 View Post
I feel safer in a plane than in a car, and statistics back me up.
Agreed. I'll get off a plane trip and get into a car and think "now for the dangerous part of my journey."
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Old Jul 26, 14, 12:32 pm
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Deaths in plane crashes so far this year: 719 (source: http://online.wsj.com/articles/airli...10-1406213531; added cited toll of 603 + 116 of Air Algerie)

Most recent year of car crash deaths from the FARS Encyclopedia:
2012 had 33,561 people die in a vehicle accident. In contrast, there were 475 fatalities related to plane crashes the same year.

In other words, I should be a lot more concerned about my daily drive to work than my upcoming 4-leg flight.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 1:51 pm
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No concerns here....enjoy.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Bttc View Post
Agreed. I'll get off a plane trip and get into a car and think "now for the dangerous part of my journey."
On my final Concorde flight in June 2003, from JFK to LHR, the captain said, as we taxied to the gate, "welcome to London, the safe part of your journey is over, be careful with the black cabs taking you into town.". How true.

I genuinely feel safer on a plane than I do in the car service taking me to the airport.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 2:52 pm
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Originally Posted by shawbridge View Post
My wife is concerned about our upcoming trip to Croatia and the Czech Republic (which is preceded by a weekend in Toronto). Her fear is that somehow terrorists will now be targeting passenger planes and maybe that the overall risk of flying is higher.

Like a lot of FTers I fly a lot -- after Eastern Europe, I have a trip to DC and then Frankfurt and home, then the next week London and DC then home, and then Frankfurt the next week, and so it goes. As a result, I compartmentalize my thinking and haven't even thought about the risk of flying.

Do you think that the terrorist attacks on passenger planes is part of a trend that should change the our perception of the probability of flying? Are the other crashes indicative of a trend in the flight-worthiness of planes (e.g., poorer maintenance or willingness to fly in bad conditions)? Or are these just akin to a few heads in a row in a sequence of random coin flips and shouldn't change our assessment of the probability of plane accidents?
I wouldn't qualify MH17 as a terrorist attack.

Safety is generally the same immediately after an accident, but MH17 is a special case. Airliners are avoiding conflict zones more thanks to that atrocity, so it has very marginally increased safety.

Flying after major incidents is, on average, more comfortable because flights may be less crowded.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 5:33 pm
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Most of my travel is US domestic so no, because I don't think any group in the US besides the military has high-altitude SAMs.

The rest of my travel is usually to Latin America. Again, low risk of high-altitude SAMs.

I wouldn't want to be flying over Ukraine or parts of the Middle East under ISIS control right now though. Even if, statistically speaking, it's still very safe. I'd at least be uneasy.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 5:39 pm
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I twice flew over Eastern Europe three days after MH17 was shot down. None of the routes went over Ukraine. I wasn't concerned in the slightest.
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Old Jul 26, 14, 6:16 pm
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MSPEconomist, we're flying from London to Zagreb and later from Dubrovnik to Prague. I've never been to Eastern Europe. I did have a Russian trip cancelled this spring.

Most of my travel is to Europe, but I fly to to Asia (Singapore, KL, HKG are typical for work but was in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia on a recent holiday), South America (Bogota and Santiago coming up), and North America (NY, SF, Houston, DC, Toronto, Calgary and Mexico City for work and sometimes Calgary, Denver and Akumal/Tulum or Baja California Sur for holiday). I assume airlines will avoid places like Ukraine and Mali pretty assiduously at this point.
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