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Air Travelers Train for Emergency Situations

  • George Putic

Advanced aircraft technology and stricter security make flying one of the safest ways to travel today. But, for people who still feel nervous when they board a plane, British Airways offers a class about flight safety where they can learn exactly what to do in case of emergency.

Since it began in 2004 as a workshop for oil company employees who frequently traveled to remote locations, some 15,000 people have been trained here for emergency situations. Most of them are sent by their employers, but the class near London's Heathrow Airport is open to anyone willing to pay $265 for a half-day hands-on experience.

The workshop is held inside a full motion cabin simulator, the same type used for training the British Airways cabin crew. The sensation of being aboard a plane in flight is authentic.

The course begins like an ordinary flight.

But soon, things go very wrong.

After an emergency landing, passengers are instructed to evacuate the plane.

"Get that way! Move! Come this way!"

Safety instructor Andy Clubb says actually going through the safety procedures increases confidence in flying.

“We start with an emergency and evacuation exercise - it makes people think about it - and what they learn from that is to really tune into the safety demonstration," said Clubb.

The participants also practice landing on water, removing emergency doors and sliding down the inflated chutes, and watch demonstrations of emergency equipment.

“Knowing what could go wrong and more importantly knowing what to do about it, it just gives people a little bit more of a feeling that they're in control," said Clubb.

Sarah Pearson says the experience changed her view about the routine safety demonstrations before the flight.

“After doing this course, it's made me completely look at it in a different way and realize I've got an appreciation for the safety and what the cabin crew do," said Pearson.

Pearson says next time she boards a plane, she will have a clear plan about what to do in an emergency.