In news to calm your preflight nerves, a Dutch aviation consultancy that tracks airline accidents just deemed 2017 the safest year in commercial aviation history, with no fatal accidents on any passenger jet flights. (The most recent fatal crash of such aircraft occurred in November 2016 and involved the Bolivian charter company LaMia.) Beyond passenger jets, the group, called To70, found only two fatal accidents coming from any type of passenger aircraft commonly used by most travelers. They excluded the smallest classes of aircraft such as a seaplane in Sydney and a Cessena Caravan in Costa Rica that killed a combined 18 people, including two American families.
The reassuring data comes even as the number of total flights continues to climb to an estimated 4 billion passengers boarded by the global airline industry in 2017, up from 3.81 billion passengers the prior year.
While 2017 marked a record year for airline safety globally, it was more of the same for U.S. carriers. According to CNN, the major U.S. airlines have not recorded a fatal crash since 2001, with no fatalities occurring on any smaller U.S. carrier since 2009.
But while American carriers continued to uphold strong safety records, the year did feature a few PR disasters. The most notable occurred aboard a United flight in April, when security personnel forcibly dragged a passenger out of his seat and off the plane when he refused to give up his seat for a crew member. Another incident that same month featured an American Airlines crew member forcefully wresting a stroller from a woman carrying her baby aboard a flight. Both incidents went viral on social media, with the United incident sparking the major U.S. carriers to change their overbooking policies.