I’m an ex-pilot and there’s a golden rule when flying as a passenger that I never break

A FORMER pilot has revealed a very simple rule he swears by every flight that he says could save passenger lives.

Air travel is widely recognized as the safest form of transportation available, but there are still ways to make your journeys less risky.

Counting the seats between you and the emergency exit could save your life


Counting the seats between you and the emergency exit could save your lifeCredit: Alamy

One of the simplest tips is for passengers to take five seconds to familiarize themselves with their surroundings before departure.

In particular, it involves finding the closest exit and counting how many rows of seats it is away.

Former pilot Hans Mast, who now works as a travel agent, explained how this can make a big difference in an emergency.

He said Travel + Leisure: “As soon as I get on a plane, I always look for the nearest emergency exit and count the number of rows of seats between my location and that exit.”

“In an emergency, visibility could be impaired and having this mental map can be life-saving.”

Hans isn’t the only one to recommend this method either, as flight attendants also tell passengers to count the seats between them and the emergency exit.

Sun Online Travel cabin crew said, “Sometimes when we say ‘familiarize’, I think we’re not making it clear how familiar we want you to be with you.”

“Passengers should always know how many rows of seats they are from their nearest exit and count the number of seats between them and the door.”

“That might sound like an exaggeration because the emergency doors are quite large and obvious.

“But if the plane is full of smoke or the lights don’t work after an emergency, that may not be the case.

“In that case you would like to know how many rows you are from the emergency exit.

“You can just walk to the exit while you feel and count the seats. That could help you get off the plane much quicker, which makes all the difference.”

Choosing a specific seat can also make you safer on board, they say flight security network.

They analyzed 65 plane crashes and, based on survival rates, found that the rear seats were the safest in over half of the incidents.

Elsewhere a Study 2015 found that seats in the center of the cabin had the highest fatality rate at 39 percent, followed by a 38 percent death rate in the front.

Seats in the rear of the cabin had the lowest fatality rate at 32 percent.

Some airplane seats come with clever features that also make them safer, including a tray table latch that only opens in one direction.

It may seem like a small thing, but it could save lives in an evacuation.

Swiss Airlines has revealed the clever secret on their TikTok account.

in one VideoThe airline showed a tray table in a regular row of seats, where the latch can be moved clockwise and counterclockwise.

In an exit row this is not the case as it only goes in one direction. They revealed why that was in the comments.

They declared: “The more you know! In the emergency exit row, the tray table can only be opened in one direction compared to all other rows of seats.”

“This prevents the tray table from being accidentally opened (by people rushing by) in the unlikely event of an emergency.”

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The former pilot said it only takes a few seconds but could make a big difference (stock image)


The former pilot said it only takes a few seconds but could make a big difference (stock image)Credit: Alamy

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing russellfalcon@ustimespost.com.

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