Are Cheaper Flights Less Safe?
Nigerians always want to get a good bargain before parting with their hard-earned money. Transportation is one necessity of man that cannot be wished away. Flying remains the fastest way to travel in over 100 years, becoming cheaper over the years.
It is one of the safest means of transportation. Report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a person is likely to fly every day for 3,859 years without experiencing any single accident. However, the cost of flights is above the reach of many Nigerians, and traveling by air is still seen by many as a form of luxury rather than necessity.
Despite the foregoing, airlines offer flights to the same destinations at different prices, and while Nigerians are tempted to take the cheaper options. There is no better feeling than getting a relatively cheap flight. The silent question however is, are cheaper flights less safe? This question comes from the belief that quality equates pricey.
There is no clear, proven relationship between ticket price and safety. Many low-cost airlines have excellent safety records. Of course, terrible and very accidents happen, and no airline is free from something going wrong.
Budget airlines are historically not likely to have a crash than any other airline. In fact, according to data available on Airline Ratings, a website that monitors over 400 airlines around the world, some budget airlines performed exceptionally well. Also, information from the US Federal Aviation Administration indicates that all airlines meet the same safety standards.
It is, however, not new to hear that airlines cut corners to give us that irresistible mouth-watering price. But the good news however is, they can’t cut on safety. Regulators require all airplanes to pass all regulations that cover their structure, equipment, maintenance, design, performance, loading conditions, and construction. Also, aircraft safety is only one of the two major issues when it comes to flying safely.
The other plank is – security because whoever you are flying with is also as important as the airplane you are flying. In Nigeria, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) requires all airlines to use gates at an airport, low budget or not, adhere to passenger and luggage screenings, every plane must also have reinforced cockpit doors, and every flight has the probability of marshals deployed onboard.
As stated earlier, the budget airlines know how to cut corners without compromising on safety and security. Since all airlines are heavily regulated. While many travelers might be willing to give up some comfort for cost, few would, however, not compromise on safety in pursuit of affordability. Luckily they don’t have to. Cheap airlines offer great deals bypassing some of the savings to customers through:
So, Are Cheaper Flights Less Safe?
- Most budget airlines have a younger and newer fleet which makes the aircraft fuel-efficient. They also buy in bulk, thereby getting huge discounts. On average, fuel costs account for up to 25% of airline expenses.
- They also tend to increase their specialty by focusing on one plane model. Since their crew is only trained to only one model. A lot of training and retraining cost is saved.
- They tend to make their crew work the maximum legal hours.
- Nothing is free. You pay for those drinks and snacks that are usually offered for free in more pricey airlines.
- You also compromise on leg space and luggage, as the aircraft is smaller.
- You also give up on luxury. You are likely not going to find a TV set at the back of the chair with options of choosing a channel of your choice.
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On the most basic business level, it makes good sense to be as safe as possible as most airlines don’t recover from a crash due to the bad press and scrutiny. Passengers concerned about the safety level of an airline can look up the regulatory body to see a list of approved planes—however, no matter which airline you choose, either budget or pricey.
There is only one variable that you might be able to control, and that is your seating position. A study conducted by Popular Mechanics compiled 36 years of National Transportation Board’s safety report of commercial jet accidents in the world between 1971 and 2007.
This study revealed that people sitting in the back were 40% more likely to survive a crash than those sitting in the front.