We know—there’s more to business travel than just packing luggage and planning a trip to a set destination. There’s a sense of excitement, efficient execution of company policies, and also a lingering fear of flying.
For most business travelers and corporate managers in today’s day and age, recent headlines highlighting airline incidents, like the Southwest Airline Flight 1380 emergency landing—among others—have sparked questions and concerns about flight safety. Yet, despite the latest state of affairs, flying still appears to be the safest mode of transport in the world, according to an article in The National entitled, “Air safety in 2018: should we be concerned about flying?”.
Regardless of whether you’re a business traveler with years of experience or a rookie in the corporate playing field—doing your due diligence when it comes to flight safety is always important. From getting sucked into an aircraft toilet to pilots with parachutes under their seats, there are a number of myths pertaining to flight safety that are easily mistaken for facts.
So, before you venture off on your next business trip, take a moment to analyze the stats and facts about flight safety.
How safe is flying in comparison to other types of travel?
Feeling uneasy at the mere thought of boarding an airplane? If you’re a nervous business traveler and have a fear of flying, you can rest assured knowing that aircraft undergo a “massive amount of testing before they even get off the ground, and there’s still plenty more after that.”
While you may be pacing across the room anxiously thinking about the potential atrocities of your upcoming trip, consider that most aviation incidents are not fatal and that there is a “95% chance of survival” according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s study of past commercial aircraft accidents.
Analyzing the Stats
Whether you’re traveling by car, crossing the border via train, or simply walking down the street—it is crucial to also make note of risks pertaining to other means of transportation before analyzing the breakdown of flight safety.
In a 2017 Travel & Leisure article discussing transportation safety, driving on the highway appears to entail a higher risk than flying—with drivers having a “1 in 114 chance of dying in a motor vehicle crash and a 1 in 654 chance of dying as a car occupant.” However, according to a study at Harvard University, “the odds that your airplane will crash are 1 in 1.2 million, and the odds of dying from a crash are 1 in 11 million”—making flying by air safer than driving a car.
For the worry-wart in the crowd, just know that the odds of death from getting stung by a bee are “1 in 5.5 million”—a rate that is substantially higher than by air travel. Additionally, the number of accidental deaths per year by cause in the U.S. shows that 46,000 were motor vehicle accidents, with only 100 being by commercial flights.
These stats clearly demonstrate how safe is flying and the ways it has improved over the last two decades—despite the latest occurrences.
The Inevitable Fate of a Business Traveler
The underlying cause of most aviation incidents is primarily a result of travelers not taking their own necessary safety precautions when boarding and in-flight.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. If you haven’t already done so, please stow your carry-on luggage underneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead bin. Please take your seat and fasten your seatbelt. And also make sure your seat is back, and folding trays are in their full upright position.
If you are seated next to an emergency exit, please read carefully the special instructions card located by your seat. If you do not wish to perform the functions described in the event of an emergency, please ask a flight attendant to reseat you.”
We get it. Your schedule is packed, and your mind is on the meeting you’ll have when you land. Following these instructions is sometimes a lot easier said than done.
But did you know that ninety-nine percent of turbulence injuries are a direct outcome of travelers not following the rules of flight safety? These injuries occur primarily from “unfastened seat belts, or falling luggage.”
At the end of the day, your life is your responsibility. The more prepared you are in terms of in-flight passenger and flight safety measures, the better off your travel experience. So the next time you find yourself making your way to the aisle seat, make sure the luggage in the overhead compartment is secured and fasten your seatbelt before takeoff.
As a business traveler or corporate manager, there are a number of factors to take into consideration before ditching airline travel altogether. Ranging from in-flight safety demonstrations revolving the use of emergency oxygen masks to reducing the chances of experiencing turbulence—aircrafts take a number of preventative measures to ensure flight safety and reduce the fear of flying.
First, pilots are known to go through intensive and rigorous training in order to obtain their license—with additional training if they strive to be the captain of an aircraft. Additionally, there are a number of pre-flight safety checks and aircraft maintenance procedures that are put in place to ensure flight safety. Among them, a daily aircraft inspection by maintenance staff which is later laid out on a schedule by an aircraft manufacturer.
Airlines go above and beyond to ensure that their aircraft is safe for passengers. Incidents like the Southwest Airlines emergency landing are extremely rare and should not undermine any opportunity to keep growing your business.
Have a trip lined up and not feeling 100% secure with your airline? We’ve got you covered! Make sure to check out this list of the top 20 ranked safest airlines for 2017 before booking your next trip.
So, why is it that people are still more afraid of flying?
There’s an old proverb and a famous motivational book, Change Your Mind, Change Your World, by Dr. Richard Gillett, that emphasizes the impact of our beliefs and how they influence our behaviors and decisions. In the context of flight safety, business travelers and corporate managers base their travel decisions and policies on fluctuating real-time circumstances. As a result, this fear of flying becomes the primary force behind any shifts in corporate policies or desire to travel.
Breaking it down
It all comes down to the notion of psychology and what risk consultant, David Ropeik, likes to call the “risk perception gap.”
When analyzing the notion of risk and perception, there is an evident difference between the ways in which the general public and experts define risk. Ropeik explains that to a scientist conducting risk assessments, the “definition of risk is ‘hazard times exposure equals consequence,’” whereas to the average person it means “‘the probability of something bad happening.’” In most cases, the fear of flying comes from a perceived, hypothetical, future occurrence.
For the 2018 business traveler, this breakdown of risk perception is highly plausible. If there is an emergency landing on one month, the perceived future risk factor has an impact on the ways in which companies approach their travel policies. With business travel at the top of the corporate game, it is very easy for managers to reevaluate and tighten their policies during times of uncertainty.
As business travelers paving the way to the latest developments, the belief of perceived future happenings is a result of a present distorted reality. This reality is shaped and typically impacted by seemingly increasing trends of most recent occurrences. So when latest headlines highlight emergency flight landings, it triggers a sense of fear among prospective travelers.
Are you an experienced traveler yet think you’re the only one to still have a fear of flying? An NBC news report entitled “10 tips for the fearful flyer,” indicates that “at least one out of every six adults has a fear of flying…” and “roughly 35 percent of all airline crews, flight attendants and pilots also have either fear of heights or flying.”
What can corporate managers do to alleviate the fear of flying?
According to FlyFright, statistics on fear of flying “reveal that 73% of fearful flyers are afraid of mechanical problems during flights.” Understanding and addressing the concerns and fears are essential for employers managing their corporate travel policies and requests. Taking the necessary measures to alleviate and manage the fears that come with the latest flight safety mishaps is crucial for growing your business in the long run.
Let’s consider this further.
Overcoming Fear through Knowledge
There are a number of different ways to approach fear of flying. The most important method is first to figure out the trigger points that set off anxiety and the overall reaction to flying. Without examining the root of this fear, it will be more challenging to ultimately turn it off. Managers are encouraged to provide their business travelers with programs and tools overcome such anxieties.
Another way to help business travelers overcome this fear is by familiarizing them with the overall airplane boarding and flying process. Most times, the anxieties that come with flying stem from lack of knowledge or recognition of overall fears. Knowledge is power in the case of flight safety, and programs that educate travelers on how aircrafts work ultimately helps them trust it.
Additionally, business travelers are encouraged to read more about their company’s travel policy to see how they approach the topic of transportation safety.
Corporate Travel Policies in the Context of Flight Safety
According to a BTN report on corporate travel, business travelers with “mandated policies…rate personal safety support at 4.6 on a five-point scale for importance.” In order to ensure confidence in business travelers, corporate travel policies should clearly emphasize and highlight their approach to flight safety. Based on the same report, travelers rank higher in the happiness scale when they have a “strongly advised policy” consisting of personal safety support, convenient flight times, hotel, locations, etc., access to reliable Internet & data connections, ease of expense reporting and access to travel-disruption support.
Second place on the happiness rank is a “mandated policy” that offers personal safety support, access to reliable Internet & data connections, access to travel-disruption support, convenient flight times, hotel locations, etc., and ease of expense reporting. By creating a business travel ecosystem that is transparent and firm, business travelers will feel secure.
With an employee-centric booking tool like Shep, companies can measure the success of their programs, track traveler trends, and also justify improvements. Shep’s sophisticated all-in-one open booking platform provides data reporting and enables traveler tracking all while ensuring efficient compliance with their daily responsibilities.
This one-stop-shop platform provides a comprehensive travel tool for business travelers and offers them peace of mind in knowing that they are in good hands when it comes to their company’s travel policy.
On the topic of flight safety, Shep works with companies to provide them with policy guidance and reporting. The platform also uses an easy-to-use expense data reporting approach that enables employees and companies to efficiently monitor their expenses.
Tips for the fearful business traveler
Flying for business is surely no easy endeavor. From packing bags to planning your visit thoroughly, there is always something to consider when it comes to hopping on a flight to your next destination.
Yet, traveling for business has more advantages than disadvantages. First, for every one dollar spent on travel, you have the capability to make ten dollars on the return on investment. Though the latest aircraft incidents are bound to spark some concerns for companies and their travel policies, these occurrences are one in a few.
Still trying to find ways to get over your fear of flying? Before you make any impulsive decisions about your next trip, take a moment to ease the tension with these great tips. Remember, knowledge is power, so learn the facts of aircraft safety, understand where the fear is coming from, and know the ways to outsmart your anxieties—and get ready to make the big bucks!