2017: what a year for flying.
Last year, you were less likely to die in an airplane crash, but pretty likely to have a terrible time as a passenger.
2017 was the safest year on record for commercial air travel, according to a review published by Dutch aviation consultants To70 on Jan. 1. Released annually, the Civil Aviation Safety Review examines accidents involving larger passenger aircraft, whether they’re caused by technical failure, human error, or unlawful interference.
Get this: Not one fatal crash was recorded in large commercial passenger jets in 2017.
It’s not a squeaky clean slate, though. There were 111 recorded regional airline accidents, including two fatal accidents, both involving small turbo-prop planes (2016 saw 71 civil aviation accidents, six fatal). These two crashes saw the loss of 13 lives — an Embraer Brasilia reportedly suffered engine failure in Angola, and a Czech-built Let 410 crashed on landing at Nelken in Russia.
People are flying more these days too, with To70 reporting an estimated 3 percent growth in air traffic for 2017 over 2016. Even so, according to the report, the fatal accident rate has fallen, and is now sitting at one fatal accident for every 16 million flights. Not bad.
So, passengers are safer in the skies — this is seriously good news. But that’s not to say everyone had a great time this year jetsetting around the place.
Here’s a little round-up of what passengers had to deal with this year:
Delta threatened parents with jail for trying to use a seat they bought, and conservative commentator Ann Coulter called Delta the “worst airline in America” for moving her out of her “extra room seat” she had booked. Migos was also kicked off a Delta flight, and threatened to sue.
Randi Zuckerberg alleged that a man seated next to her on an Alaska Airlines flight sexually harassed her repeatedly. But when she told a flight attendant, her complaint was brushed off.
A man who ordered gluten-free meal on All Nippon Airways was given a single banana (with cutlery).
American Airlines delayed a flight because the plane smelled like pee, which was a more heroic move than removing its in-seat screens. But then they tried to charge a mother $150 for traveling with breast milk.
The Federal Aviation Administration was asked to investigate the case of ever-shrinking airplane seats.
AirAsia staff were accused of “screaming” as a plane plummeted 20,000 feet in minutes.
Qantas banned Ugg boots from its lounge, scandal.
A man elected to sue Sunwing Airlines for advertising a “Champagne service” when, in fact, he was served a cheaper sparkling wine instead. (We know, right?)
But United, fine purveyors of apologetic PR, truly won the year’s Treat Passengers Like a Steaming Pile of Garbage Award. Let’s see, they:
forcibly removed a passenger from an overbooked flight.
banned two women wearing leggings for not being “properly clothed.”
had the most animal deaths of all U.S. airlines two years in a row.
threatened a passenger with handcuffs for refusing to give up his $1,000 seat.
kicked off a bride and groom headed to their wedding, obviously.
separated ScHoolboy Q and his dog on different flights after a layover in Denver.
made sure your fragile luggage was loaded safely and thoughtfully.
most spectacularly came under fire after a video emerged showing an employee pushing a 71-year-old passenger to the floor.
So, we’re safer in the skies, but are essentially scum between the toes of airlines. Where to next?