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RSS icon Comments on Morbid Thoughts As The Flight Crew Closes the Cabin Door


Depends on if I'm in the middle seat.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 23, 2008 12:49 PM

I had to go with Landing: It just seems you would make a bigger splatter on the runway. AND the media will wonder if the pilot was drunk when she/he missed the runway.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | January 23, 2008 12:51 PM

Ever since the first time I saw Mallrats, when Brodie tells the story about the plane full of people who think they're going to crash so they all start jerking off, I always thought "If I'm going to die on a plane, that's how I'd want to go: crash-landing with my dick in my hand."

Posted by Hernandez | January 23, 2008 12:52 PM

When I saw this poll at the beginning of this post I thought it was going to be "when are you more scared of crashing." Which is always on the landing for me.

So, I voted landing since at least I'd be expecting it then.

Posted by Julie | January 23, 2008 12:53 PM

I ALWAYS expect to die on Take-off, so for me I'd prefer to die on Landing because then I wouldn't be expecting it. I'd be suprised!

Posted by Suz | January 23, 2008 12:59 PM

Where's the Australian version of this poll which has the fourth option "while joining the Mile High Club".

Why die in bed when you can die making love in the air?

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 23, 2008 1:05 PM

No, Dan, the most interesting thing at LAX is the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which, unlike the rest of that hellhole, is new and attractively designed, and allows you to sit upstairs in extremely comfortable furniture and look down on the crowds of identical Korean Air and Asean flight attendants in their spectacular uniforms.

Posted by Fnarf | January 23, 2008 1:05 PM

Personally I don't really care which. Either way I'm dying in a plane crash and that makes me special, god damn it.

Posted by monkey | January 23, 2008 1:08 PM

It really does matter if you're in the middle seat. I'd hate to think of all my bones and organs and whatnot smushed into the bones and organs and whatnot of the fat fucking businessmen who are invariably seated next to me.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | January 23, 2008 1:11 PM

I'd say takeoff in the hopes of going out instantly in a massive explosion. With much less fuel on landing, this scenario isn't as likely.

Posted by Lonis | January 23, 2008 1:13 PM

If I'm in the middle seat, kill me as soon as possible. If I've got the window, I'd like to wait til landing. I always watch as the pilot brings us down, so I'd be watching as we all went to hell. That'd be kinda fun, I think.

Isle seats... well, I think those are a "on take off" option as well.

Posted by Phelix | January 23, 2008 1:13 PM

Definitely better to die at take-off. If I thought I had to spend the rest of my life in coach, I would kill myself. So better to skip those uncomfortable hours and go directly to that big, first-class cabin in the sky. And this is not a conclusion I came to today, but one that I reached in December.

As we approached Sea-Tac, our plane's landing gear was grinding and popping and it wasn't stopping. And then the plane started porpoising--sharply descending and bottoming out with extra Gs and lurching toward the night sky until we crested like a roller coaster and felt that nauseating weightlessness and then we would begin hurtling toward the ground again, and again, and again it happened. We all thought we were going to die, and I thought I had spent my final hours reading condo ads and drinking soda.

Posted by Dominic Holden | January 23, 2008 1:20 PM

Taking off you still have some of that residual adrenaline from the actual take off. You'd probably not even notice the fear of dying.

Posted by Dying | January 23, 2008 1:22 PM

I think takeoff, as I HATE flying and would rather just skip the whole thing. Except I hate takeoff especially and am always scared during it, and thus closing my eyes, and thus not able to see the giant fireball/nose-dive into the tarmac. Plus, crashing during the landing would be horrible- just when you think you've made it, when you're within a more natural range of the ground again- CRASH it's over.

This is all very uplifting, Dan. Now off to work. Would I rather die getting hit by a car (a likely proposition for crossing Pine and Pike on a sunny day) on my way to work or on the way home? Hmmmm...

Posted by C. | January 23, 2008 1:24 PM

Will Dan take a taxi/bus home from the airport or call somebody for a ride?

Posted by Jimmy Legs | January 23, 2008 1:26 PM

It seems likely that there'd be some kind of warning ahead of time in a landing crash that something was going very wrong. That would give me more time to panic and fear the crash. If it happens, I'd rather it just happen on take off and not have the notice. (I recognize that not every landing crash has a warning.)

Posted by Jen | January 23, 2008 1:28 PM

Not to state the obvious, but all crashes are defacto "landings," so I think the question is moot.

Posted by Stickler | January 23, 2008 1:34 PM

If a plane I'm on HAS to crash, I'd rather it be on the landing. It's not very well-known, but most fatalities from an accident are caused by the fire (and the concomitant noxious fumes from all that lovely plastic burning), not the crash itself. Less fuel, less fire. Landing. Enjoy the friendly skies.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | January 23, 2008 1:35 PM

We must really be wired differently. I love to fly. equal parts excitement about the trip ahead, and the pure fun of lifting off the ground into the air. I've never really experienced anything other than excitement flying, except when I was learning to sky dive. Stepping out of the plane onto the wing of a Cessna was half scary, half exciting.

Posted by DJSauvage | January 23, 2008 1:38 PM

I've always been confused about the notion that crashes always happen during takeoff and landing, because I don't know what exactly contitutes a "landing." I mean, of course crashes happen during the else would you ever crash?

What I mean is: If you're flying at 20,000 feet and something goes wrong, which sends the plane into a nose dive and crashes it into the Rockies, does that count as a "landing mishap"? After all, the crash happened when it hit the ground.

If so, should we really be that afraid of regular old airport landings, or have the stats been skewed?

Just asking.

Posted by Matthew | January 23, 2008 1:38 PM

Is Dan seated between two pit bull lovers?

Posted by Heather | January 23, 2008 1:43 PM

If all has gone according to plan and I have taken enough Ativan and wine, it hardly matters when we crash.

Posted by Ken | January 23, 2008 1:52 PM

My parents and I are all divided on this question. Since the last plane ride my mom took was unpleasant, she'd rather die during take-off. Since we usually travel during the afternoon at the end of a vacation, I'd rather die during landing. Orlando looks really pretty at night, so at least I'd get to see all the pretty lights before I died. My dad said he'd rather not be on that flight at all, even though I told him that option wasn't available!

Posted by Anna | January 23, 2008 1:55 PM

Do we have to keep this exclusively about dying? Because, as a couple of previous posters have noted, if the crash happens during a landing procedure, you might actually have a chance of surviving, for the reasons stated, but additionally because the plane is decelerating, so there's the additional probability of suffering somewhat fewer blunt trauma injuries.

Unfortunately, while airplanes are very well designed in terms of getting into the air, and staying together at high altitudes, they're not so good in the "hitting things at high-speed" department. So, for me, the less speed involved before the hitting of things, the better chance you have of surviving.

And I'd totally take the middle or aisle seat: in the event my row's window blows out, the catastrophic depressurization is going to suck the closest person right out through that tiny opening. So, I'd rather it be the fat broad or businessman on the outboard side than me. If I'm really lucky, they'll just plug up the hole and prevent any of the rest of us from being sucked out behind them.

Posted by COMTE | January 23, 2008 1:56 PM

I'm with Fifty-Two - You do have a better chance of surviving on a crash landing because there's less fuel.

That said, I voted for crashing on take-off; If I'm gonna bite it, I'd rather make my peace at 3,000 feet than 30,000.

I have great faith in the big machines, though. I love taking off and landing. I love the grace, raw power, performance redundancies and command of physics that the big machines put on display on both take-off and landing. Goose bumps every time. I always swoon over the people that designed and built the machine (of typically more than a million parts) and of course the people that goddamned get to fly it.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | January 23, 2008 1:57 PM

Matthew, crashes don't ALWAYS occur on landing. MOST crashes occur on either takeoff (hopefully you know what that is) or landing (that period of time when the plane is on final approach to the rumway). All the rest are called mid-air crashes, and yes, they do happen - just not as frequently.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | January 23, 2008 1:59 PM

Just let it be instant and not involve prolonged violent movement, however it happens. God, do I ever hate turbulence. I know it's a totally irrational fear and that turbulence is totally normal and nothing to worry about and that flying is still ultimately safer than driving, and it still freaks me the fuck out.

Posted by tsm | January 23, 2008 2:11 PM

depends on if I'm in the middle east

Posted by J | January 23, 2008 2:13 PM

Dan, I'd make fun of you for this post, if I didn't have similar thoughts every time I fly. (I swear!)

Ever since a couple of crashes years ago that happened just before landing, due to wind shear, I've been completely disturbed by the thought of crashing as the plane is coming in.

Think about what a place is like as you're preparing to land. Everyone's happy to be getting out of the cramped quarters, folks are excited to see friends or loved ones, or they're excited to start a vacation or get back to the comfort of their own beds after a trip, etc.

Then, WHAMMO!, game over, man... *SHUDDER*

Posted by Mickymse | January 23, 2008 2:26 PM

I'll choose whatever option lets me take out the most Ford Mustangs with my hyperaccelerated corpse.

Posted by chocotaco | January 23, 2008 2:55 PM

If I really have a choice, I want to be on one of the planes that is hijacked to take out the White House or some equally valuable propaganda target.

Posted by Gurldoggie | January 23, 2008 3:37 PM

That "sucked out the tiny opening" is a myth. Yes, there's a pressure differential, but it's not THAT great, and unless the hole is the size of a door, no one's getting sucked anywhere. Well, maybe in the toilets, or one of those fancy new cubicles on Emirates.

Posted by Fnarf | January 23, 2008 3:49 PM

Defintely on landing. The plane isn't loaded with fuel, so you might have a better chance of not dying right there. If you are going to die either way, I'd still choose landing because then perhaps my body wouldn't be as charred?

Posted by dulce | January 23, 2008 3:51 PM

On landing, but only if I didn't die sitting in the middle seat between two hambeasts or weird German ladies in chincilla-fur coats.

Posted by Aya | January 23, 2008 5:56 PM

actually, you are more likely to die at take-off than at landing. . . more fuel

Posted by mssmith | January 23, 2008 6:47 PM

This just made me remember a related question. A few years ago, I was on a plane that had to make an emergency landing immediately after takeoff (leaking hydraulic fluid). I was sitting next to a guy who is now a good friend of mine, but then I didn't know him well.

Well, he was asleep. And I had to decide whether to wake him up given the fact that we were potentially about to be toast. I ended up not waking him up, and obviously, we're fine, but I've always wondered whether I made the right decision.

Would you have wanted to be woken up?

Posted by Julie | January 23, 2008 8:09 PM

no. not even a little bit.

Posted by lauren | January 23, 2008 9:36 PM

Why no "Midair breakup with a 30,000 foot fall to the ground" option?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 23, 2008 10:22 PM

Takeoff, definitely. I would hate to have survived a tortuous 8 hours in coach (an accomplishment for someone who hates flying as much as I do) just to die before I get off the plane. What a joke.

Every moment of life a precious, precious gift? Please. If I haven't lost the will to live after the massive lines and the security check, it's usually gone by the time I see the choice of movies. If it's all going to end, let it be sooner rather than later.

Posted by Kristen | January 24, 2008 2:14 AM

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