2017 Was the Safest Year on Record For Commercial Air Travel

Jan 1, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Billions of passengers took to the skies on commercial flights in 2017, and almost every one of them made it safely to their destination. According to Dutch aviation consultants from To70, 2017 was the safest year on record for commercial aviation worldwide.

To70 searched through the records of commercial flights worldwide for all aircraft with a takeoff weight of more than 5,700 kilograms (12,566 pounds), which is less than a third of the weight of the smallest Embraer ERJ used in regional operations by US airlines. The group found just 111 accidents in 2017, with only two of those leading to a loss of life:

  1. An Embraer Brasilia lost control in flight in Angola after reportedly suffering an engine failure.
  2. A Czech-built Let 410 crashed on landing at Nelken in Russia.

The total loss of life across those two fatal accidents: 13 people.

This exceptionally low number of fatal accidents calculates to 0.06 fatal accidents per million flights in 2017. Put another way, the chance of a commercial flight being involved in a fatal accident during 2017 was 1 in approximately 17 million.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some concerning air travel incidents in 2017:

Also, plenty of planes hit objects in the air — if history has held true, 1 in 2,000 flights incurred a bird strike, including this noteworthy birdstrike in Miami. A Virgin Australia flight had the remarkable experience of striking both a bird and a rabbit in the air. And there was whatever damaged the nosecone of the Delta charter flight carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder — a bird strike, strike by another object or a structural failing of the nose cone.

Then there were the on-ground issues. In May, a massive IT outage cancelled over 700 British Airways flights, affecting over 75,000 travelers. During the fall, floods and hurricanes cancelled thousands of flights and even led to the complete evacuation of aircraft from Florida. And just a couple of weeks ago, a power outage in Atlanta crippled flights out of Delta’s key hub.

So, while air travel wasn’t always smooth during 2017, it was still remarkably safe. For the eighth year in a row, there wasn’t a single death from an accident on a US flagged commercial flight. And one of the worst injuries on a US-based aircraft was dealt by Chicago airport security in response to an overbooked United flight. In the Americas, there were more deaths from jet blast than commercial aviation accidents.

H/T: Independent

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.