Knee-jerk ideas on how to survive a commercial plane crash

As we all know by now, tragically, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down in Ukraine today. 295 people onboard have perished. It is the second Malaysian Airlines plane to go down in the past few months.

The General and I were watching the news on our HD television, critically discussing the event, plane crashes, and the survivability factor involved. Eventually we asked the question, “What do you do to try to survive a plane crash?”

We determined that simply sitting buckled in your seat as the giant, flying tube goes down hasn’t proved particularly successful in surviving plane crashes. So, what are some alternative ideas?


1. Overhead Compartment Mummy Method

A Sammy Riggs original, this idea has been pondered every time I have boarded a plane for roughly the past 5 years. The idea is to stand up from your seat, remove the luggage from the overhead compartment above, jump in, close the door, close your eyes, and remain in the mummy position while the crash unfolds.

Upon hearing this idea, The General responded, “There’s no fucking way that would help you survive a plane crash.”

While I admit that this idea adds no protection that scientifically makes it safer than the traditional sit-buckled-in-your-seat method, it just feels safer. You lay on your back with your feet pointing towards the cockpit. This protects your head from taking the blunt of the blow with a nose-first impact. Lying on your back protects your face, private parts, and belly button from an explosion that presumably would come from underneath the plane, launching you into the sky in a protective case.

It’s not perfect, but that’s the overhead compartment mummy method.

2. Use Inflatable Slide As Parachute Method

This one is tricky. You know those giant, yellow, inflatable, fun-looking slides that automatically pop out of the doors they always show during the safety video? Well, this method involves you sprinting up the aisle, opening the door, grabbing the inflatable slide as it automatically inflates while simultaneously being sucked out of the doorway, then holding the slide as kind of a parachute/pillow combo to slow your fall and then cushion your landing.

This one comes with lots of variables. You’re really going to struggle to convince the other passengers to just let you go and grab the slide alone. You’re also really going to struggle to grab anything at all when you’re sucked out of the door. If you’ve ever seen a plane hijacking movie you know that whenever there’s a breach in a plane’s shell — whether it be a window, a door, or a hole in the wall — shit gets real. Things get sucked out of the jet plane faster than Kim Kardashian… eh, nevermind.

I don’t know if you can realistically pull this off. The General thought he could. That’s the inflatable slide becomes a parachute/pillow combo method.

3. Always Carry-On A Parachute Method

Again, this one is tricky. The idea here is that your carry-on bag is just always, 100% of the time a parachute.

Now, this is going to appear quite sketchy. Going through security having packed just a parachute. Sitting at the gate with just a parachute. Boarding the plane with just a parachute. Asking someone if you can slide in next to them and just storing a parachute underneath the seat in front of you. These things are going to draw some looks, and you may have some explaining to do.

Also, if your plane goes down and you parachute out and just come gliding down above the wreckage, you’re going to have a lot of baggage (lol puns) to deal with. You will, again, have a lot of explaining to do.

This is an absolute hardo move. Flying commercially with a parachute is unheard of and would be a total game-changer. It might work, it might not, but it seems like the best idea to realistically survive a plane crash. You just may not survive the aftermath and the controversy.

And that is the carry-on a parachute method.


As the title states, these are just knee-jerk ideas for surviving a commercial plane crash. The situation has its obstacles and, as history and statistics show, this isn’t an easy problem to solve. None of these ideas are foolproof, but it’s a start and it’s better than remaining buckled in to just see what happens — because we all know what happens.


Have some ideas of your own? Please, chime in in the comment section below.

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