How Safe Are You When You Fly?

How Safe Are You When You Fly?
How Safe Are You When You Fly?

I didn’t think it’d ever happen, but it has: I’ve developed a (slight) fear of flying.  I was once a confident and fearless air traveler who believed wholeheartedly that flying was safer than driving.  I looked forward to flying.  But starting a little while ago, with the airplane crash in Buffalo, and then the crash on the Hudson River, and the FedEx plane in Japan going up in flames, and then the Turkish Airlines flight crashing in Amsterdam, and then the Air France flight disappearing into the Atlantic, and the crashes in Iran (phew!), I suddenly felt as if air travel really wasn’t that safe.  Perhaps it also had something to do with my gaining a sense of mortality with age, or that I was now paying more attention to the news (knowledge is such a double-edged sword)—but that’s besides the point.  I understand now why people get nervous to fly.

But, let me allay your fears, and tell you that air travel really is safer than ever before.  This article at Travel Leisure gives some assuring statistics about air safety.  Pilot errors have decreased and the accident rate is consistently lower now than in the 1990s.  Your chances of dying on a flight on a typical American airline are indeed incredibly small, only one in 13 million. As you’ve probably heard before, your chances of dying while driving a car (a one-year chance of one in 6,500) or simply crossing the street (a one-year chance of about one in 48,800) are much higher.

But I know what you’re thinking.  Logically, you know that air travel is statistically much safer than other modes of transportation.  But what can you do you minimize your risk?  According to The Daily Beast, which crunched the numbers and compared rates of accidents and incidents (those stomach-churning events that could have gone very gravely wrong, but luckily didn’t) on the major U.S. airlines, there are safer airlines to fly.  Of the big ten domestic airlines, here were the rankings, from safest to least safe with nice tool for flight scanner:

1. AirTran
2. JetBlue
3. Southwest
4. US Airways
5. American
6. Alaska
7. Continental
8. Delta
9. Northwest
10. United

Surprisingly, all of the start-up discount airlines landed at the top of the list.  Book flights with those carriers if air safety is of great concern to you—not to mention that these airlines often offer cheaper flights anyways. Aside from keeping these safety rankings in mind, also know that regional carriers have an accidents and incidents rate more than twice as high as national carriers (Mesa Airlines and Midwest Airlines scored particularly badly).  Other interesting facts that a nervous traveler might like to know: Passengers near the tail of the plane have a 40 percent better chance of surviving a crash than those in the first few rows. Flying in smaller jets is four times more dangerous than flying with a big carrier.  And American air safety standards are uniformly higher than in other areas of the world.

So take heart. Flying is a safe way to travel, and is a necessary part of international and long-distance travel—unless you are one of those tireless souls who enjoys slow travel using overland and over-sea modes of transportation.  Knowing what’s on the other end of the flight will, for me, always make the jostling turbulence and the rough landings worth it.

The Proud Towers of Kuala Lumpur

As a first time visitor in KL, I can still recall my excitement when I was on-board my flight to KL from Manila when the plane’s captain announced that plane would be landing in a few minutes. I immediately looked out of my window and strained my neck to catch a glimpse of the famous Petronas Twin Towers of KL. I was disappointed when I didn’t get to see the Petronas Towers. I must have been seated on the wrong side of the plane.

It was love at first sight. The first time I saw the Petronas Twin Towers was when I was already riding an airport taxi on my way to my hotel, JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur. So after I checked – in my stuff at my hotel, I immediately grabbed another taxi and instructed the driver to bring me to see the Twin Towers.

Twin Towers my
Twin Towers my

The Petronas Twin Towers is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. I’ve seen a lot of pictures taking by DSLR but nothing compares to the experience of standing at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers and viewing them in all their majestic glory. I had to compose myself when I realized that I was looking all the way up with my mouth wide open!

The Petronas Twin Towers was considered the world’s tallest building until being surpassed by Taipei 101. But these two towers are still considered the World’s Tallest Twin Towers! Petroliam Nasional Bhd or PETRONAS for short is the National Petroleum Corporation of Malaysia. This company, which was established back in 1974, oversees a lot of businesses that include petroleum activities, automotive engineering, property investment, etc.

You could say that the Petronas Twin Towers is not only a Malaysian landmark but it is a “one-stop-shop” of sorts. Aside from taking thousands of souvenir pictures of the Twin Towers, you can keep yourself busy with its numerous attractions.

SKY BRIDGE – The Twin Towers are composed of 88 floors and are joined at the 41st and 42nd floors by a 192 feet long Sky Bridge. The Sky Bridge tour is very nice as you get to see a bird’s eye view of KL. I must warn you that there is usually a line for admission tickets (available on a first come first serve basis) as the tour is FREE. Locals would suggest that you go at the end of day about 30 to 15 minutes before they close in order to avoid the long lines. The tour lasts for about 10 minutes. The Sky Bridge is open from Tuesday to Sunday and operates from 9:00 am to 5:00pm.

SURIA KLCC – Are you in the mood for shopping? Then it’s high time to head to Suria KLCC, the crescent shaped shopping mall, which is at the podium level of the Petronas Twin Towers. This ultimate shopping destination is composed of 6 levels of retail outlets that include international and local brands, cafes and restaurants, bookstores, specialty shops, etc.

Learn more about Suria KLCC by visiting their website:

AQUARIA KLCC – Another place that you must never forget to visit while at the Petronas Twin Towers is Aquaria KLCC. This entertaining and educational attraction is composed of 60, 000 square feet aquarium that exhibits thousands of aquatic animals belonging to different species. That’s not all. There are also a lot of interactive kiosks that are available for visitors.

AquariaKLCC – Malaysia
AquariaKLCC – Malaysia

Learn more about Aquaria KLCC by visiting their website:

PETROSAINS (PETROLEUM DISCOVERY CENTRE) – Would you like to learn more about Science and Technology? Then you should make your way to the 4th Level of Suria KLCC and visit the Petrosains which is also known as the Science and Discovery Center of the Petronas. It would be a visit filled with exploration and discovery. Now, isn’t that fun?

MASJID ASY – SYAKIRIN MOSQUE – You can also find a place of workship at the Petronas Twin Towers. The Masjid Asy-Syakirin Mosque is located at the North-East corner of KLCC and is also fondly referred to as the “Jewel in the Park” and can accommodate about 6, 000 people.

DEWAN FILHARMONIK PETRONAS – The arts also has a special place at the Twin Towers. Visit the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (Petronas Philharmonic Hall), home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Petronas Performing Arts Group. This exquisite concert hall, located at the Podium Level between the two towers, can seat about 865 people at a time. Here you can watch not only classical/traditional performances but jazz concerts as well.

GALERI PETRONAS – Another place for the arts is the Galeri Petronas which you can visit at the 3rd Level of Suria KLCC. This exceptional gallery exhibits works like paintings, sculptures, and other media not only of local but also those of foreign artists. Its location within a shopping mall is in line with its vision of making art more accessible to the masses.

KLCC PARK – Do you feel like walking in a park? Then you need not look any further. Within the vicinity of the Twin Towers, you will find KLCC Park. It is like finding your own place of solitude in the middle of the bustling city of KL. Here you will find families, groups of friends and even business men with their long-sleeve shirts folded up to their elbows trying to relax and get away from their busy schedule. While you’re here, you can try out the jogging track or simple people-watch.

A lot of people would remember the Petronas Twin Towers when it was featured in the Hollywood movie “Entrapment” starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones. Some would refer to it as an enduring Malaysian landmark that once held the recognition of being the Tallest Building in the World. As for me, the Petronas Twin Towers would always bring me back to that moment when I found myself at its foot and looking up and admiring all its glory. I remember realizing that I was looking up with my mouth wide open and thinking to myself “Who cares?” I was in KL and standing before something majestic, something proud, something grand, something that some people only get to enjoy in movies and postcards.

I had the real thing and nothing beats that.