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Airline Offering Plane Crash Survival Course to Frequent Flyers 155

Posted by samzenpus
from the survivor-class-seating dept.
British Airways is giving their best customers a competitive edge in the event of disaster by offering a course on surviving a plane crash. Beginning next year, members of the airline's Executive Club can cash in air miles to take the four-hour safety class. From the article: "Andy Clubb, the BA manager running the course, told the Independent: 'It makes passengers safer when travelling by giving additional skills and information, it dispels all those Internet theories about the brace position, and it just gives people so much more confidence in flying.'"
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Airline Offering Plane Crash Survival Course to Frequent Flyers

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:09PM (#37601780)

    how long before plane crash is the next airline fee?

    • how long before plane crash is the next airline fee?

      Oh, come on. That was too easy.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      how long before plane crash is the next airline fee?

      The slide will be. Cheapskates have to stay in the plane.

      • by optimism (2183618)

        ...if you choose to purchase exit-slide priveleges, exact change is greatly appreciated, thank you...

    • I got mod points but cant resist.
      The airlines could start charging you for the little drop down oxygen masks. You know in the event you need it you got to pay. You could charge 5 bucks at the counter and a million dollars on the way down.
      • by magarity (164372)

        The airlines could start charging you for the little drop down oxygen masks. You know in the event you need it you got to pay. You could charge 5 bucks at the counter and a million dollars on the way down.

        Nobody carries that much cash on with them and planes don't crash all that often. A better business model would be to offer "oxygen assurance insurance" for $.05 to everyone on every flight. Want to make sure that in the case of sudden depressurization we remember to flip on the O to your seat? Pony up...

    • by Haeleth (414428)

      This is British Airways we're talking about, not Southwest or Ryanair. BA does not charge hidden fees for everything. In-flight food and drink, a reasonable number of checked bags, etc. are all provided at no extra cost.

      (The downside is that BA tickets are more expensive up-front. You pays your money and you takes your choice: put up with sleazy nickel-and-diming scumbags, or pay a premium to receive premium service?)

      • by JonySuede (1908576) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @04:06PM (#37603478) Journal

        in Canada we have the choice to pay a premium for the sleazy nickel-and-diming and not paying a premium and getting the twice the nickel-and-diming.

        • by green1 (322787)

          As a Canadian I fully agree... though I must say, I'm not sure which airline is which in your comparison...

          • Did you remark that I did not even specified airlines ;)
            It could be almost anything that has an high barrier to entry... like ISPs, cell phone providers and airlines.

        • in Canada we have the choice to pay a premium for the sleazy nickel-and-diming and not paying a premium and getting the twice the nickel-and-diming.

          We seem to be lucky in the US. The lower-cost airlines are the ones that seem to have better customer service and less nickel-and-diming. Southwest lacks many of the amenities of more expensive airlines, but tickets are cheap as hell, free checked bags, no change fees, a little more room in each seat (which my 6'4" stature appreciates), friendly service, no bullshit. JetBlue and Virgin are lower on the cost scale, but they are more of an a la carte setup. Most amenities cost extra, but not in a nickel/dimey

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        BA does not charge hidden fees for everything. In-flight food and drink, a reasonable number of checked bags, etc. are all provided at no extra cost. (The downside is that BA tickets are more expensive up-front

        Surely that means that hidden fees are charged for everything you list : your free in-flight "food" is covered by part of your "ticket" price ; your checked baggage (both the handling and the weight) is covered by part of your "ticket" price ; your "etc" is covered by part of your "ticket" price. But

    • by wiedzmin (1269816)
      This does not make me feel safer... this makes me feel like the airline thinks that there will inevitably be a crash and therefore I, who as a frequent flier has a higher chance of being in it, should be prepared. This makes me want to fly with another airline, the one that doesn't think it's planes are going to be crashing anytime soon.
  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:11PM (#37601818)
    No, it's not April 1st... no, the news story isn't from the Onion... oh, "cash in air miles", makes sense now.
  • by BigBuckHunter (722855) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:14PM (#37601860)
    I'm sorry, but after reading the article, it appears that they will be charging money for information that should be, and probably already is, available to the general public.

    I call shenanigans!
    • Nah, they're charging to go down the escape slides.

    • by metlin (258108)

      Well, as a frequent flyer, your odds against are unfavorably stacked against you.

      As someone who flies a few hundred thousand miles on two different airlines every year, I would absolutely sign up for one of these courses. In the past several years as a frequent-flyer, I've been through several "oh-shit" moments. More so when you fly international in some parts of Eastern Europe (although domestic air travel in the US is just as bad as traveling in some of the less developed parts of the world -- some of tho

      • by hedwards (940851)

        It's still an extremely remote possibility. I don't know what the accident rates are for airlines outside the US, but in the US they had a fatality approximately every 5 billion miles travelled. And that includes 9/11 and several other crashes in which there were no survivors.
        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26743609/#.TotgeEDSiaQ [msn.com]

        In other words, it's marginally more likely that you'll pull through during one of the less severe crashes, but it's unlikely that you're going to get anything out of the training.

      • In a 500mph nose dive, I don't think any kind of knowledge is going to save you.

        The only knowledge that would seem useful, from the crash test videos I've seen, is to climb over the top of the seats to get to the exit in a fire. And I doubt they're going to tell you that in a class.
        • by Kittenman (971447)

          The only knowledge that would seem useful, from the crash test videos I've seen, is to climb over the top of the seats to get to the exit in a fire. And I doubt they're going to tell you that in a class.

          They might show you how to elbow aside kids and women, and knee other passengers in the crotch to get to the exits first and survive.

          Come on, everyone was thinking it...

          • by St.Creed (853824)

            I vividly remember one commentator saying "what we found in the studies was that a certain type of passenger was much more likely to survive. The type of person who does not wait in line for his turn, but goes through everything to get out."

    • A What Alert? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daetrin (576516) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:27PM (#37602018)
      That makes it different from any other class how? There isn't a reputable school in the world (at least not a technical/practical one) that depends on some kind of "secret knowledge" in their classes. Everything is available one way or another to anyone who wants to find it.

      The purpose of classes is to organize that material and teach it to you in an efficient way via a guide who can answer common questions in an immediate and interactive way. Some people do find it easier to go out and dig up the information and teach themselves, but a lot of people benefit from a classroom type scenario where they receive instruction from someone knowledgeable in the area.

      Honestly i'd be much more wary of them if they promised that they had secrets to surviving a plane crash that weren't available to anyone else.
      • That makes it different from any other class how? There isn't a reputable school in the world (at least not a technical/practical one) that depends on some kind of "secret knowledge" in their classes. Everything is available one way or another to anyone who wants to find it.

        It sounds like this class is basically a new beverage or 'pillow' - for sale! When income is down, try to drum it up.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble, but this has only been happening, well, since forever. Pretty much everything in your local newspaper is info available to the general public, only they make you pay for it.

      Now I would want to see any studies done as to the actual effectiveness of any of these so-called safety positions [it doesn't actually matter for me, as being 6'5", being in that bent over position is impossible for me anywhere but in first-class]. Has it been shown that it actually has helped in real accid

      • The main risk to sitting upright is aortic dissection. Apparently, when the body comes to a rapid stop in a forward-facing upright seated position, your internal organs can shift forward before coming to a stop and cause the aorta to tear enough to cause you to die from uncontrollable internal bleeding -- possibly minutes or hours AFTER you've gotten off the plane and are busy celebrating your survival.

        • by VAElynx (2001046)
          Um... if your aorta tears, it won't take hours for you to die.. minutes, more likely. Also, lower blood pressure from blood leaking into cavities means likely loss of consciousness.
        • The main risk to sitting upright is aortic dissection. Apparently, when the body comes to a rapid stop in a forward-facing upright seated position, your internal organs can shift forward before coming to a stop and cause the aorta to tear enough to cause you to die from uncontrollable internal bleeding -- possibly minutes or hours AFTER you've gotten off the plane and are busy celebrating your survival.

          So, you bend forward, the plane decelerates and then YOUR HEAD ASPLODE!

          Happy now?

      • Now I would want to see any studies done as to the actual effectiveness of any of these so-called safety positions [it doesn't actually matter for me, as being 6'5", being in that bent over position is impossible for me anywhere but in first-class]. Has it been shown that it actually has helped in real accidents, or it is just a way to try to get people to sit still and out of the way?

        Having the head as close to (ideally, in contact with) the surface it is most likely to strike reduces the risk and severity of head trauma. Bending over (such that one's head is below the level of the seatbacks) also may provide some protection in the event that the overhead storage compartments collapse. Other aspects of the "brace" position are designed to prevent injury to oneself and others caused by flailing limbs and impact of feet and legs with the seats ahead. The recommended position is based

    • Furthermore anyone who thinks that passengers have much say in surviving an airplane crash deserves to be scammed by this. If the plane hits the ground at a steep angle or at a speed significantly higher than the recommended landing speed, you're dead, end of story.

      In the unlikely event that the plane comes to a stop in one piece then there are things you can do to improve your chances of survival, which you can read about for free. About half the tips that could help you are in that little safety booklet y

    • by SEWilco (27983)

      I'm sorry, but after reading the article, it appears that they will be charging money for information that should be, and probably already is, available to the general public.

      The information about how to survive a crash might be available to the public, but what else does the airline know that affected their decision to offer this? I suppose I better add :-)

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:18PM (#37601930)

    Salt, the Epicure's Delight...

  • For you non frequent fliers, hey, I'll do it for free! ...

    Put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

    (It's the same course, but you don't get to slide down the chute.)

    • by ryanov (193048)

      It's with that attitude that lead people to ignore safety rules on the aircraft (wear your seatbelt while seated, put your seatbacks forward, etc.). "It may just save someone's life, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be told to raise my seat for landing!"

    • For you non frequent fliers, hey, I'll do it for free! ...

      Put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

      (It's the same course, but you don't get to slide down the chute.)

      LOL no sh!#.

      If you made it to the ground or water from a crashing plane, I think you can stand to have a nail broken or a muscle pulled by not using an escape chute.

  • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot&ideasmatter,org> on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:23PM (#37601976) Journal

    Along these same lines, several additional survival courses are available:

    • Direct Meteor Strike Survival Course, offering tips on how to survive a massive meteorite landing on your city,
    • Ground Zero Nuclear Blast Survival Course, giving pointers and expert advice on surviving the nova-like heat and shock waves of a direct nuclear bomb hit, and
    • 16-Ton Weight Falls On Your Head Survival Course, dispelling the myths and misconceptions that are common among people raised on Saturday morning cartoons.

    Sign up now, spaces are limited!

    • by demonbug (309515)

      • Ground Zero Nuclear Blast Survival Course, giving pointers and expert advice on surviving the nova-like heat and shock waves of a direct nuclear bomb hit,

      Sign up now, spaces are limited!

      Refrigerator. Duh, I learned that from a high-quality, well-written documentary recently.

    • Along these same lines, several additional survival courses are available:

      • Direct Meteor Strike Survival Course, offering tips on how to survive a massive meteorite landing on your city,
      • Ground Zero Nuclear Blast Survival Course, giving pointers and expert advice on surviving the nova-like heat and shock waves of a direct nuclear bomb hit, and
      • 16-Ton Weight Falls On Your Head Survival Course, dispelling the myths and misconceptions that are common among people raised on Saturday morning
        cartoons.

      Sign up now, spaces are limited!

      Or just buy the book [amazon.com].

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Sign up now, spaces are limited!

      Spaces may be limited, but there is no fear you'll ever run out. :p

  • It Seems To Me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    An airline with some common sense would NOT charge customers for the right to be reminded of PLANE CRASHES...

  • Don't be in a plane crash.
    • by Creepy (93888)

      I remember seeing a probability of death in a commercial airline crash based on 20 years of airline data (viewed sometime between 1994 and 1996, because I remember where I saw it and who I showed it to) and it was extremely grim - people in the tail have a 99.9% chance of dying and I don't think it got better than about 79% (so 21% survival chance), which was just in front of the wing, and it went up by about 4-6% per row going forward until evening out at almost 100% again (pilots had a slightly better ch

      • by gerddie (173963)
        Well, in this article [popularmechanics.com] they did some statistics and claim that it's better to sit in the back.
      • Are you sure you didn't get that backwards? Your numbers don't pass the smell test, how would being closer to the point of initial impact increase your odds of survival?

        • by magarity (164372)

          Are you sure you didn't get that backwards? Your numbers don't pass the smell test, how would being closer to the point of initial impact increase your odds of survival?

          In a survivable crash the front of the plane isn't closest to the point of impact because at aircraft speeds a head-on crash will be fatal to everyone. A survivable crash is one where the plane is at least mostly in a normal landing position: parallel to the ground. In this case, every seat is close to the point of impact and its the various structural elements of the plane that help your odds such as the wing and tail support structures. But since the plane will be moving forward and the fuel is in the w

      • by hubie (108345)
        I figured I'd do the Bill Cosby method: Wait just before the plane hits the ground then jump upwards.
  • Try real hard to make yourself incombustible when you are doused in jet fuel and everything around you ignites. Most crash survivors are killed by burns and smoke inhalation. But nice try, BA.
  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:31PM (#37602086)

    Don't eat the fish.

  • ...a signed Bruce Campbell arm mounted chainsaw for mowing down passengers blocking your way to the emergency exit. Yay! You win!
  • FTA:

    Research into emergency evacuations by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2006 found that a significant number of passengers struggle with the most basic of tasks such as releasing the seat belt.

    In terms of our genetic future, does this class of passenger need to be saved?

    • FTA:

      Research into emergency evacuations by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2006 found that a significant number of passengers struggle with the most basic of tasks such as releasing the seat belt.

      In terms of our genetic future, does this class of passenger need to be saved?

      Eh, I can see it.

      They probably mean "under stress" or "under duress." After a crash or "abrupt" landing, then panics sets in.

      Your blood is probably pumping, you're almost OD'ing on adrenaline, and you're pants are probably both wet *and* brown.

      I don't find it hard to believe that in a state of that kind of panic, you immediately know to "flip the big panel on your seat belt to release."

      Heck, under high enough stress people forget how to do the most basic things. Fear is OK, fear is fine, but panic kills.

      • by JTsyo (1338447)
        meh, people are probably just waiting for the captain to turn off the "fasten your seat belt" sign.
  • Here's a helpful hint. If you crash on a mysterious island in the Pacific, watch out for polar bears.

    • Here's a helpful hint. If you crash on a mysterious island in the Pacific, watch out for polar bears.

      Or fruit with cesium-137 in it. Bikini-something. :)

  • How to survive a plane crash:

    Step 1: Fly a major, well-established airline.
    Step 2: Leave a family wealthy enough to successfully sue the airline in the event of your death.

  • Since frequent flyers generate lots of revenue for an airline, those are the people they want to save first. To guarantee future revenue flow. Frequent flyers are worth more to the airline, it's as simple as that.

  • I guess the "internet theories on the brace position" boil down to a theory that it kills you faster?

    Anybody know any references to evidence that the brace position is the safest to be in? Or references to others reasonable claims for better positions?

    (don't bother with responses about parachutes, taking the pilot's seat, going to the first class bar and drinking yourself horizontal, etc...)

    cheers!

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brace_position [wikipedia.org]

      Loaded with 3rd party links as well.
      Seriously, has no one heard of Google or Wikipedia around here? This has already been done for you. You simply have to bother to look it up...

      • by gknoy (899301)

        Still, that's the sort of link that would have been courteous and informative to have been included with the initial summary.

      • by JTsyo (1338447)
        But how does that increase my post count or gain me any karma?
    • by tragedy (27079)

      No particular references, but I have an anecdote from my father, who was a radiologist. He once took part in a plane crash investigation in France. One thing he remarked on is how many of the passengers basically had broken necks, basically from whiplash. Basically, you want to avoid your head and body whipping forward and either snapping in mid-air or whacking into whatever is in front of you. Once upon a time, there was enough spacing between the seats that you could essentially cradle yourself in your la

      • I was under the impression that the reason for not using rear facing seats was that they took up more space for a given degree of comfort due to the slope of the planes fuselage.

        • by tragedy (27079)

          The actual deck of most jetliners I've been in is so close to level that I can't imagine how that could be the case. I can certainly see how it would be a comfort issue when accelerating, however, for the exact same reasons why the aft-facing seats would be safer in a crash. At the very least something more than a lap belt would be needed.

  • I guess the airlines offering crash survival courses is only fair since they've been lobbying so hard to have the solo air traffic controllers work longer hours with fewer breaks. Once they completely break the air traffic controllers union and the union for the Federal Aviation Administration workers, they better also start offering frequent flyers yoga classes so they'll be able to kiss their asses goodbye.

  • unless that involves putting on a parachute and jumping out before the crash
  • by k6mfw (1182893) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @04:02PM (#37603426)

    Instructor at a physiological flight training course (i.e. "chamber ride") suggests carry one of those large bags for roasting turkeys in the oven, keep it folded inside your jacket pocket. After a rough landing (no, not one that plows in at hundreds mph), pull it over your head and tighten string. Bag should have enough breathing air but it will shield against toxic smoke and much of the heat. In the event of a cabin fire it will mostly be smoke that collapses other passengers, this bag over your head will give you considerable protection for you to quickly egress.

    I agree with other comments that parachutes are not useful. Many crashes happen at takeoff and landing (too low for opening). If you bail at high altitude (and will pass out few seconds later at 30K), most likely land in rough terrain (can you survive it?) or in open ocean (will only live for 10 minutes in north atlantic). Probably need ejection seat (not practical for 200+ seats) though you may get an air or leg torn off at punch out. If aircraft goes into a wild spin or dive, you will feel a second or two of weightless then will be slammed and held against fuselage wall unable to move due to g-forces (many airmen could not escape from a falling B-17).

    Step One: Make it so the airplane doesn't crash! (there aint no step 2)

    • by Kittenman (971447)

      Instructor at a physiological flight training course (i.e. "chamber ride") suggests carry one of those large bags for roasting turkeys in the oven, keep it folded inside your jacket pocket. After a rough landing (no, not one that plows in at hundreds mph), pull it over your head and tighten string. Bag should have enough breathing air but it will shield against toxic smoke and much of the heat. In the event of a cabin fire it will mostly be smoke that collapses other passengers, this bag over your head will give you considerable protection for you to quickly egress.

      I'd suggest a brown paper bag is another option. Hitchhiker's Guide suggested this in various circumstances.

  • Plane flying somewhere above the Atlantic. Experiencing turbulences, and suddenly one of the enginess goes off. Stewardess gets the mic and says: Ladies and gentelmen, we are experiencing some minor problems, but please stay calm. OK, now please take your passports, everybody has them? Thats fine, now roll it... WHAT??? Asked some dude. Just roll it, replied the lady. And now stick it deep into your anus... Whatta hell! Yelled another guy, Hows that suppose to help us! Stewardess with angelic calm on her fa
  • by mbone (558574) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @04:33PM (#37603842)

    At the platinum level, a special culinary course is offered on the best way to cook and eat coach survivors, should you be stranded on a desert island.

  • They'd best be teaching you how to cook your fellow passengers. You're in a metal cylinder packed with explosive fuel crashing into the ground at hundreds of miles an hour. Anything will save your life about as much as "Duck and Cover" would save you from a nuclear blast. Assuming you're lucky enough to survive, you may end up having to consume your fellow passengers to survive longer. But, to stay positive, they'll probably taste better than what the airline was planning on feeding you (Assuming it was pla
  • If you see black smoke, run!
    Don't trust anyone not on the passenger list.
    Remember 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 & 42.

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