Pilot-Turned-YouTuber Disproves TikTok Theories on How to Survive a Plane Crash
Please just listen to your flight attendants
TikTok, in addition to becoming a launchpad for viral dances, recipes, challenges and reviews, has quickly become the go-to spot for travel industry professionals, both past and present, to drop tips and tricks for navigating the sometimes rocky travel terrain. Some of them, like this one from a former TSA officer, have proven moderately insightful. Others, like this one from a flight attendant … less so.
That said, arguably the craziest tips of all are now coming from TikTokers with seemingly no experience in the airline industry whatsoever — and on the topic of plane crashes nonetheless. But now Kelsey Hughes, a YouTube personality known as 74 Gear and, more importantly, an actual 747 pilot, has taken to the platform to set the record straight.
“It seems these TikTokers who have little to no common sense or knowledge about aviation are giving you tips, so before you watch one of these videos and do something that could kill me while I’m on a plane … watch this video,” Hughes says in the opening minute of the clip.
The first clip he addresses is one where TikToker @sugeneshin_ discusses how to ready oneself for a crash. Her advice, in short, is to completely disregard what the flight attendants tell you (she insists passengers should sit upright with legs braced against the seat in front instead of keeping the head down low to the knees), the theory being that if you actually survive said crash, you’ll then be perfectly positioned to sue for millions of dollars.
“They literally want you to die so you don’t sue the airline,” she says in the clip.
According to Hughes, this is false.
“The people who are more likely than not going to be the ones that are going to save your life are the flight attendants. They’re the ones who are going to be evacuating the plane and getting you off the plane, so if you’re there being a Karen to them the whole flight, you know how thats going to work out,” Hughes says.
“The airlines know that if they crash a plane, they’re getting sued no matter what,” he continues. “So whether you die or not, it’s either going to be you suing them or your family suing them. It doesn’t matter, they’re getting sued either way. This is America — we love to sue people.”
The second TikToker to take the stage, @the_official_ben_story, seeks to confirm @sugeneshin_’s suspicions.
“I can confirm that airline companies want you to die whenever you get into a plane crash,” she says. “I used to work for an aerospace company where we would make the airplane seats, and I can tell you right now that every single seat on that airplane, including first class and business class, are made up of metal frames, tiny screws, double sided tape and velcro and ties.”
“Those seats wouldn’t even withstand a car crash,” she continues. This point, Hughes says, is moot, as there is no risk of being in a car crash on a plane. Touché.
Secondly, he says, the seats are manufactured the way that they are, and with particular materials, for the sake of keeping them as lightweight as possible. Because air travel. But most importantly, he says, if a plane is going to crash into a mountain like @the_official_ben_story suggests, your chair, regardless of what it’s made of, isn’t going to save you. Point taken.
The third TikTok comes to us from someone who’s clearly seen too many movies and wants to provide passengers with the know-how to fly the plane themselves in the event something should happen to both pilots mid-flight. It’s not even worth addressing, as there are obviously several trained individuals on the flight deck in line to take control in such a situation (i.e. flight attendants) before it would ever come to a literal passenger getting into the cockpit, but … fine.
The first red flag comes just seconds in when the TikToker, @deltafox757, advises the passenger-turned-pilot to first get the plane down to 4,000 feet, at which point there will be access to cell service … to presumably call 911. Or to communicate with air traffic control. But it’s unclear what good the former would do given the circumstances, and the latter doesn’t require cell service. Also, at 4,000 feet, you’re at risk of hitting a mountain, so there’s that, too.
The last clip Hughes addresses actually has what he concedes to be a few valid points, like how the farther back in the plane you’re seated, the more likely you are to survive a crash. The last bit of advice TikToker @andrewivx2.0 shares, however, is that immediately following the crash, you should run as far away from the plane as fast as you can.
“What if you go out the right side and the engines are running on that side? Well, you versus the engines of a plane … that’s never going to work out in your favor,” Hughes says.
“Look out the window before you go running out of the plane. Is there a fire? No, theres no fire. Okay, then go out,” he continues. “Don’t just bolt out of the plane without listening to your flight attendants or taking a second to look. Have a good situational awareness of what is going on before you leave that aircraft.”
Moral of the story? Exercise caution where TikTok travel advice is involved. Hopefully, a lot of the points made in Hughes’ video are not ones that you needed clarified, but if they were? The best I can do is tell you to listen to your flight attendants. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t trained killers. Also, if it ever occurs to you that — in the midst of a plane crash — you should be the one in the cockpit? Trust that you probably are not.
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