Air Asia flight QZ8501 from Indonesia to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control, but are knee jerk questions about the airlines safety or comparisons to the Malaysia Airlines incidents fair?
As the world wakes up from its post festive slumber to news reports of another Asian plane disappearing – this time the Air Asia Flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore – it doesn’t take long for the inevitable comparisons to the ill fated Malaysia Airlines flights to start hitting various social media, nor does it take long for the calls to avoid or even boycott the airline entirely with inevitable questions about safety, as if one incident is enough to start an accident pandemic.
It has barely been a few hours since the announcement and yet people are already descending into a paranoid frenzy of nonsense conspiracy theories and knee jerk reactions over safety concerns. It really is ridiculous.
“I would unequivocally fly with Air Asia again – including on this very same route – without a second thought.”
I don’t yet know what has happened to the unfortunate Air Asia flight as the search and investigations are still ongoing. No one yet knows anything about what happened up there and that is part of the problem, and the point. Regardless of any scaremongering or conspiracy theories, odds are however that it was an accident. A terrible accident, but an accident nonetheless. For that reason alone, everyone’s thoughts at this time should be with the families of those passengers and crew who are missing.
To some extent the questions raised and the comparisons that are being made are understandable when feelings and emotions run so high. It is often human instinct to react instantly, to try and seek some explanation or pattern. But are the questions of airline safety or the calls to avoid the airline necessary? Or even fair?
Of course not.
I have flown Air Asia countless times since it’s inception, and have flown the same Surabaya to Singapore route that this ill fated plane was on many times too. All of these flights without incident. Because of this I do not hesitate to say I would unequivocally fly with Air Asia again – including on this very same route – without a second thought. Just as I did not hesitate to say I would still fly with Malaysia airlines after both of those terrible incidents.
Because as tragic as this accident is, it is extremely important to keep in mind that this is still just an isolated incident, shocking in part not just because of the potential loss of life but also because of it’s rarity.
Air Asia flies this route daily, sending dozens if not more planes every single day between Indonesia and Singapore. One isolated incident in comparison to all those flights is not a pattern, it is not the norm, and it does not justify any type of hysterical paranoia.
So I urge everyone to keep their thoughts with those who are missing at this time, as well as their families, but also to keep things in perspective. This is an isolated incident, and air travel is still relatively the safest form of travel. If you have tickets already or plan to fly with Air Asia in the near future then there is no need at all to change your plans or worry about your decision. Get on that plane and enjoy your trip, but just spare a thought for those involved in what is a terrible but simple accident.
After all, if you let fear and unwarranted paranoia control your actions, then you will miss out on so much of the wonder that travel has to offer you.
What about you? Would you still fly with Air Asia after this accident?
What did you think of this article? Would you cancel or change plans after a terrorist attack? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.
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Thank you – exactly our thoughts! Of course we are shocked, and saddened as we would be with any tragedy like this. We too have flown Air Asia many times, with the most recent being last week! And we will fly them again.
It is important to keep in mind just how many planes are in the sky every day. Flying thousands and thousands of people safely to their destination. Nobody yet knows exactly what happened, or why. But there is no need for people to freak out, place blame prematurely, or spread false news.
Of course, we too are hoping for a miracle, although unlikely. Unfortunately, accidents happen. But we can’t let fear keep us from living our lives.
Exactly Liz, couldn’t agree more. I’ll join you in that hope for a miracle, no matter how unlikely. But in the meantime as you say it is important to keep things in perspective and view this as the isolated – if tragic – incident that it is. Thanks so much for commenting.
The hysteria that follows an aircraft accident always confuses me. There are countless car accidents everyday yet nobody stops driving. Given the number of flights per day, these rare aircraft accidents always cause unnecessary panic.
I think it’s very selfish of people whose first thoughts are “I’m never flying with this company again”, rather than “my thoughts are with the families affected”.
Well said Fabio. Thanks for the comment.
I agree that it isn’t the time for knee jerk reactions -for now I think our thoughts should be, as you say, with the families of those passengers. I flew Air Asia just a month ago and was certainly satisfied with that flight.
Exactly Shikha, Air Asia is a great airline that has so many safe flights. One accident does not change that fact.
In my opinion, people’s panic is not triggered by Air Asia QZ8501 alone. What actually happened to MH370? Accident? Evidence? Just gone. Why relate with MH370? Because they are both Malaysia’s, and both are “missing”. People would be far less paranoid, families would be more content — although sad and hurt — if it’s clearly an accident rather than “missing”.
It’s indeed because our hearts go with the families of the passengers and crew of the “missing” flight. We feel for them. Furthermore, a person doesn’t have as many lives as the number of safe flights. It doesn’t matter how many safe flights survived the sky, when a loved one has gone “missing”. That hurts beyond imagination. You don’t know how to mourn. You don’t know how to hope. You have nothing to bury.
Everyday car accidents happens. True. People don’t stop driving. True. But, are those who got accidents exactly one hundred percent the same as those who don’t stop driving?
Everyday car accidents happens. True. What if driving a car of a certain manufacturer causes the driver to go “missing”? Wooosh.
I flew Air Asia many times (one of my favourite Airlines) and will use them again next February. I have no worries whatsoever and will be perfectly safe, as I’ve been before. This is a tragic incident and I hope they find out what happened to the plane in sake of the relatives and friends of the passengers.
Couldn’t agree more.
I’m a big fan of Air Asia. If not for Air Asia l would never have been able to reach the amount of destinations l have in the past 7 years. They have received the award for best budget airline in the WORLD for the past 5 years. Everything about Air Asia from booking, checkin, flight service, staff, everything is of world class. I am so saddened for the families of the passengers & crew at this time of year. Words can never console.
But it will never deter me from flying with Air Asia or Malaysia Airlines.
Well said. I just wish everyone thought like that instead of jumping on the usual conspiracy theory bandwagon or declaring they will never fly with them again.
I’m flying Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, Australia in just a few hours and have no worries about it. My family and friends are in a panic, but not enough to pay for a new flight on a different airline lol. These events are unfortunate but wouldn’t keep me from traveling or spending precious dollars to switch airlines. I feel like chances are rare of it constantly happening. I do hope the families get the closure they need after these events.
I hope they do too. Thanks for commenting.
Michael, great post. AirAsia is like Ryanair or Southwest in the US; same model, professionalism and standards. Malaysia Airlines could be any legacy carrier – I won’t be slowing down or curtailing flights with them at all and hope for the region as a whole and the two carriers specifically, they can just get back to normal operations, put this behind them and start accruing all the years of safe incident-free flying they had until 2014.
Thank you. 🙂 Couldn’t agree more! I’ll definitely be using them again the next time I am in the region later this year.
We’ve flown with Air Asia plenty of times – and will continue to do so. It is a terrible accident and the media’s scare mongering doesn’t help the situation. Thanks for this article, people need to be reassured once in a while. Rather then wound up and scared shitless in the name of ratings!
Exactly! Thanks for the comment.
I probably still would fly AirAsia as they have already gone through so much that I am sure new safety precautions will definitely be put in place. People still fly American Airlines right? That company still hasn’t gone out of business and they were arguably in the worst/most publicised event – AirAsia will be fine. A little tidbit – I did receive a phone call last night from AirAsia offering 50% discounts – so it looks like they are in full damage control mode.
That’s just my point Stephen, safety procedures were already in place, Air Asia has a great track record on safety. This was just a single tragic accident that no one could have predicted. It is terrible I agree but these things do happen. And I think Air Asia have handled this incident as well as they possibly could have too.
To be honest, this is something very few people other than those close to me or people I have travelled with know but I am scared of flying… and a travel blogger too so yeah, my brain hates me sometimes! But I don’t let it stop me, it’s an awful feeling but I know the odds and know I need to travel but the stress at times is not nice!! Things like this do bring it into focus much more though!
I suppose everyone is scared of something. The trick is not to let that fear control you. Just think how isolate these rare incidents actually are compared to how many flights land safely every single day. 🙂
My fear of not flying is far greater than my fear of flying!
I think I know what you mean! ;D