The Best Place To Sit If Your Plane Is About To Crash

In his fantastic 2005 single, "Plane," Jason Mraz sings about parting from a long-distance lover: "If the plane goes down, damn/I'll remember where the love was found." Those are truly words to die by. But assuming you want to live if the plane goes down, then you should remember where the safest seats are found. In case you've forgotten because of the love in your brain, Dutch carrier KLM in India tweeted that safety tip in July 2019. What was KLM's friendly sky advice? And more importantly, should you believe it?

If the plane goes down, where are the safest seats found?

Obviously, if the plane goes down, the place where you really want to be is not on that plane. But barring that option, KLM says the back of the plane is your best bet for survival. Per the Washington Post, the airline based that claim on a 2015 study by Time which found that in the accidents sampled, passengers sitting in the rear third of the plane cabin had the highest survival rate, particularly if that sat in the middle row. In that case, there was only a 28 percent fatality rate. The rear third was also safest overall with a 32 percent fatality rate.

The most deaths occurred in the middle third of the cabin, which had a 39 percent fatality rate overall. If you were stuck in the middle with an aisle seat, the death rate jumped to 44 percent. Passengers didn't fare much better in the front third, which had a 38 percent death rate overall. But is all of this a bunch of mumbo-jumbo jet?

Time flies but its plane study crashed and burned

Time's findings come with a big "but" and we don't mean the rear of a jumbo jet. The magazine looked at crashes that occurred in the previous 35 years but notably only "found 17 with seating charts that could be analyzed." So their findings only apply to those 17 accidents, which happened between 1985 and 2000. FAA communications manager Lynn Lunsford pointed out the study's most fatal flaw: "Many people have tried and failed to produce a scientifically defensible answer to this question" of what the safest seating location is. The problem is that "there are too many variables, and this is the important one — so few accidents — that a simple answer is probably not statistically defensible." So if the plane goes down, maybe you're better off just remembering where the love was found.