Does the crash of Malaysian Airlines, MH370, change your mind about flying Malaysian Airlines? Or flying at all? Someone said to me today, I’m not flying on a 777 anytime soon. I thought, well, that’s somewhat impossible if you are planning to fly internationally anytime soon since there are currently 1,178 777s in-service (according to CNN.)
I was on an Asiana Airlines 777 the day before the crash and I’ll be on an Air China 777 in less than 48 hours. I’m not worried about the 777, it’s one of the safest planes in the world. The first commercial 777 started service in 1995 and it remains Boeing, the manufacturer’s, best selling aircraft today.
What I did think twice about on Wednesday when I booked my trip to Hong Kong was what airline I was going to fly. My corporate travel agency presented me with three potential itineraries – one on United, one on Cathay and one on Malaysian. The first thing that ran through my mind was, no way am I getting on an Malaysian flight given the mass amount of confusion surrounding #MH370 and seemingly disorganized oversight from Malaysian Airlines and the government.
In the end, I didn’t choose any of the original flight options, not because of the plane type or airline, but because of cost. I went with Air China because they were so much less expensive given that I booked the flight 5 days before departure. I’ve flown this particular Air China flight dozens of times over the last two years now and never once worried about the aircraft – and I won’t this time either.
The 777 has an amazing safety record – only three “hull-loss” incidents (hull-loss describes an incident in which the plane is so badly damaged it is completely destroyed or written-off.) and the Asiana flight 214 incident in July 2013 was the first involving fatalities – remember, the 777 entered the commercial space in 1995, that’s a long history of no crashes and no deaths. Yes, accidents happen, and sometimes they are horrifically tragic, or in this case, mysterious and tragic.
But travel must go on and you have to decide if this type of incident will paralyze you in fear or just reconsider the airlines you fly with. It is also worth noting that Malaysia Airlines has a very good safety record. The last fatal incident involving a Malaysia Airlines aircraft took place on September 15, 1995, when 34 people died after a Fokker 50 crashed in the Eastern Malaysian state of Sabah. Before that, in 1977, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737 crashed in Johor state, killing all 100 people on board. That was the deadliest crash to date involving a Malaysian aircraft. Malaysian has one of the best records in Asia. As I said, for me, it’s not the safety record of the aircraft or the airline preventing me from flying with Malaysian, it’s the handling of this disaster. I will wait to see what happens and wait to make a final judgement about ever flying with them again.
What do you think? Are you still flying?