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Online Check-In at UK Airports. It Will Save You Time But Will it Save Your Life?

In a recent edition of the BBC program Horizon (BBC2 9pm Tuesday 3rd October 2006) Professor Ed Galea, director of the Fire Safety Engineering Group at the University of Greenwich, made it very clear how important it is to sit near an exit on an airplane.
Although flying is still the safest form of transport and 90% of crashes have survivors he said “If you are within seven seat rows of a serviceable exit then your chances of surviving an accident is greater than your chances of perishing in that accident. And so if you’re greater than seven seat rows away, your chances of dying in the accident are greater than that of surviving.
Now that doesn’t mean that if you’re more than seven seat rows away you’re going to die in an accident, it just means that you have a greater statistical chance of not surviving the accident”.
So, if you could choose your seat, would you?

More and more airlines are offering passengers the chance to check-in over the internet in advance of their flight. This not only allows you to choose your seat and print your boarding pass but will also save you time at the airport especially if you only have hand luggage as you will be able to skip the check-in queue completely.
Sitting near an exit won’t guarantee your survival but, if you do, your chances are better. The safety experts who appeared on the program also recommended the following things you should do for your safety.
1. Follow the safety briefing given by the cabin crew and read the safety card carefully. Not all planes have the same layout or safety equipment e.g. oxygen masks, lifejackets etc.
2. Make a plan when you take your seat. Count how many seat rows to the nearest exit up and down the plane so you will know in the dark or smoke when you reach the exit row. Think about how you will get off the plane on dry land and in the water. Having a plan is a major contributing factor to getting off the plane quickly.
3. Keep your seat belt on and tight. Turbulence in mid flight can throw you round the cabin and the seat belt should be worn low and tight especially on take off and landing. Also practise the release mechanism – it is very different to a car seat belt.
4. Practice the brace position. Make sure you get your torso as low as possible onto your thighs and knees to minimise the whiplash effect. You can do this subtly by pretending to pick something off the floor if you feel self conscious.
Seating location relative to the exits is important but there are many other factors, some within your control and some outside of your control, that will have an influence on what happens in the event of an emergency landing. So follow the tips above and don’t forget flying is still the safest form of transport.
Online check-in can and will save you time but will it save your life? Possibly I think is the best answer to that question and next time I fly I know I am going to check in online and choose a seat as close to an exit as I can.

About the Author: Sean McCarthy is the marketing director of HelpMe Ltd a company dedicated to providing current and useful information for anyone travelling to or through UK airports. You can find information on airport parking, airport hotels, flight arrivals, airport car rental, airport lounges, airport facilities and much more at 23 major airports across the UK at the new UK Airports Information Hub. You can contact Sean through any of the airport websites contact us pages if you have any feed back or suggestions to make.

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