The Safest Seat on an Airplane Is... an aisle seat within five rows of an emergency exit, according to an exhaustive study from the United Kingdom's University of Greenwich that examined 105 airline accidents along with firsthand accounts of 2,000 survivors, reports The Guardian.

Where you choose to sit--or are assigned to sit--could be a matter of life and death in an emergency.

If the aircraft catches on fire, passengers seated in rows two to five have a 65 percent chance of escaping, while the survival rate of those in the rear of the plane is only 53 percent. Once again, aisle seats are best with a 64 percent survival rate, compared with 58 percent for other passengers.

The most dangerous seats on the plane? That would be those that are located six or more rows from any exit in which the chances of perishing far outweigh those of surviving.

While aircraft are required to conduct evacuation tests to prove that all passengers can escape the plane within 90 seconds even when half of the exits are blocked, the reality is that the tests are flawed for two reasons:

  1. Social Bonds: In a real emergency, passengers will delay exiting the aircraft themselves in order to assist friends or relatives who are traveling with them. Interestingly, this doesn't happen when business colleagues travel together; they tend to focus on their own survival.

  2. Following Directions: People in a practice situation are far more willing to comply with directions from cabin crew than passengers are in a real emergency.
--From the Editors at Netscape

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