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?
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