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Forums Frequent flyer programs Other frequent flyer schemes Safety-wise, are there airlines you would or wouldn’t fly?

  • Tracey 212 posts

    I’ve flown on a helicoptor and on a seaplane. Both are probably less safe than any commercial aircraft.

    When I felt safest was on a 2 day old Comair 737Max in South Africa, the day before it was grounded! Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    tiberius 34 posts

    PIA without any doubt, and a terrible shame as they used to be quite good!

    ChrisBCN 237 posts

    Never flown Ryanair

    Much prefer easyJet

    Begs an obvious question…

    masaccio 721 posts

    driving to the airport is likely far more dangerous

    Whilst you are correct, I’m sure when you drive to the airport you drive in as reasonably safe manner as is practical (you choose not to go 70 on a 30 road, you wear a seat belt, you don’t jump lights…).

    So when you get to the airport, why wouldn’t you choose to fly in as reasonably safe a manner as you could?

    You get my point? These are separate activities and you would limit your exposure to risk to a reasonable level in different ways for each activity.

    But if the choice is not visiting safe counties because a connecting flight has a 4 in a million rather than a 1 in a million chance, then it’s just risk noise.

    Lion Air’s record, for example, is shocking by international standards, but adding up the casualties, your risk is still very low. I personally would not value flying with an alternative airline very highly. But I get others will try and minimise every risk. I just see diminishing returns – like why we don’t drive 20mph everywhere. Well, not yet.

    LD27 171 posts

    Just seen this thread after posting on Krisflyer one.

    Flew on Singapore Airlines and Qantas 737-Max last year. Thought very carefully before booking and getting on the planes.

    Really considered not getting on Singapore Airlines flight to SAI. It was day after new airport opened and it was the only booking we could make with new airport code.

    We waited nearly 30 minutes at check in whilst they checked with back office that we could get a visa on arrival – one UK one EU passport.
    After getting the ok, the flight was then delayed by over an hour because of “technical issues”.
    We got on the plane to find the back of the seat in front said
    “Time at Sin 0245pm Thu
    Est arrival 0836am Thu”
    We made it and lived to tell the tale!

    Once took a cheap business flight with Air China to Auckland. The food was terrible but slept well and service was ok. The kids flew down the back on another occasion and both said they would take flight again. In 2019 they paid around £400 to NZ and thought it was a bargain.

    Super Secret Stuff 364 posts

    Never flown Ryanair

    Much prefer easyJet

    Begs an obvious question…

    They’ve always treated me well for short haul flights and never stung me with fees. I’m happy enough with them

    As a MAN based person, BA doesn’t offer anything other than LHR and Billund direct

    Alex G 435 posts

    I’ve flown on a helicoptor and on a seaplane. Both are probably less safe than any commercial aircraft.

    When I felt safest was on a 2 day old Comair 737Max in South Africa, the day before it was grounded! Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    I flew in a float plane in Alaska. Sightseeing tour booked independently based on online recommendations. We landed on a lake for bear viewing, so 2 take offs and landings. After I had booked I was excitedly researching the trip in more detail when I discovered that the pilot we had booked with had been involved in a crash four years earlier when five people died. I decided to go ahead with the booking, figuring this pilot had more experience than most. It was an amazing trip. I got to sit in the front seat next to the pilot. I was surprised how smooth the landings on water were.

    After the trip, my partner commented privately to me about the scars/burns on the pilot’s hands and face. Only then did I tell him about the previous accident!

    (I still wouldn’t chose to fly on a 737MAX though!)

    Alex G 435 posts

    Have to agree with the max debate. Firm avoider of both Ryanair and the max. Never flown Ryanair but don’t think I’d like it. Can barely stand up in the 737s awful plane as is

    Much prefer easyJet

    I flew RyanAir once, in the late 90s, when going to Dublin for a weekend. Someone else had paid. It was OK. Cheap and cheerful. This was the days when seats were not allocated, and you sprinted across the tarmac to get a seat. As a result, the turnaround time was incredibly short – 20 minutes from the incoming late flight landing to our flight taking off.

    Although I wouldn’t personally choose to fly RyanAir, when I have needed to deal with them they have been extraordinarily helpful. Flying back from Dublin, we overslept and missed our flight. At the airport, RyanAir put us on the next flight. I can’t remember whether they charged an admin fee or not, but if they did it was nominal. I was impressed. I expected to have to buy new tickets.

    More recently, in 2018, my partner was flying to Portugal on RyanAir. About a week before the flight, he had an accident at work and broke some toes and a bone in his left foot. He was able to walk unaided, but slowly. I called RyanAir Customer Services to explain the situation. I asked if they could allocate a window seat on the left, so there was no danger of anyone stepping on his foot. RyanAir were brilliant. They allocated a left hand window seat at the back of the plane, and blocked the seat next to him. They arranged assistance at the airport. He boarded last up the back stairs once everyone else was on board.

    Mikeact 232 posts

    If you fancy a bit of a potentially hazardous flight, then try one of the small operators Yeti or Buddha, from Kathmandu up to Lukla or Pokhara. A great ride, particularly the Lukla runway end.
    A few people have sadly been killed, but an awesome trip I’ve done twice. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

    Matt 323 posts

    I would fly any airline certified by the EASA. I am still actively avoiding the 737 Max though… I said on here some 6 months ago they were due another accident – and it happened with the Alaska door popping out. That would have been extremely serious/deadly if it happened at cruising altitude, thankfully there was a little luck.

    I know some will say ‘look how many safe flights it’s had’ but you are missing the point. It’s a dog of a plane made under a terrible safety culture.

    A friend who is in the trade recently flew on the Max and was invited into the cockpit after the flight. He was astonished by how antiquated the whole cockpit appeared. The crew generally flew the old 737’s but had taken the ‘conversion’ course and it was their third Max flight. They explained various aspects of how the Max worked, one of which is that the aircraft/computer adjusts the angle of the approach so as to make it appear to the crew the same ‘view’ as if they were on the normal 737. I have probably explained it very badly as I’m totally non-technical, but I find the whole concept of the need for a computer to ‘fake’ the positioning of the aircraft terrible. The crew weren’t exactly that comfortable either, as they said if anything goes wrong, they don’t have the right data or visual to take the appropriate corrective actions.

    The starting point of fitting the wrong engines seemed bad, but all the adjustments that have to be made by technology to correct that are bad enough but when added to the terrible and really basic manufacturing defects it doesn’t inspire confidence.

    Ryanair has demonstrated that in their market, cost is everything so even having an aircraft with a bad rep may barely hurt them for now and there’s no doubting that they are operationally a brilliant airline, but they are betting the whole ranch on the Max when there must be a material risk that regulators stop allowing it to fly if there are further incidents.

    The problem is that the pilot certification for a 737 covers the lot, from the 1960s versions onwards. Airlines are keen to keep new 737s the same for pilot training, when the 737Max should really have been a new type. Boeing added a load of adjustments to make it fly like the previous versions, in theory at least. Because they’re not very good anymore they didn’t do it very well. They then didn’t tell anyone about the adjustments until a couple of planes had crashed.

    I seem to remember there were some similar issues at play with the Kegworth crash in the 1980s – a change to how the new 737 worked that the pilots weren’t aware of because it was just a 737.

    Colin MacKinnon 283 posts

    @Matt Yes, I worked in Derby at the time. I am amazed that none of the aviation media experts haven’t picked up on that. Why did pilots need to know about air conditioning changes? Well, when you get smoke in the aircraft, it is good to know where it is coming from!

    John 1,000 posts

    Flew on Singapore Airlines and Qantas 737-Max last year. Thought very carefully before booking and getting on the planes.

    Qantas doesn’t operate the 737 MAX…

    In late 2021 they considered ordering some but decided to go with airbus.

    Numpty 14 posts

    There’s not much to help make a good judgement. Chinese airline ratings are often low but this is due to service levels (from booking onwards). I would avoid Lion Air, and by extension would prefer Air Asia when based in another country rather than Air Asia Indonesia (Air Asia is divided up into operating countries). Korean Air doesn’t have the best of safety records and a lot of it was down to behavioural safety within the company in the same way that old BMI had staff issues between ranks.

    I’d always prefer to avoid the 737 Max, it feels like passengers are unknowingly beta testing it, and if you have seen the Boeing documentary on Netflix you wouldn’t be keen on any of the newer models. But note that Ryanair dont refer to it as a 737 Max, for some reason!

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