It's time to stop worrying about dying in a plane crash! Sure, the inconvenience and unpleasantness of flying may sometimes make you wish you were dead, but, according to new statistics, air travel is becoming increasingly less likely to actually kill you.

Paul Hayes, director of safety for an aviation consulting company called Ascend, says 2011 was a very good year for air travel: "The number of passengers killed was down considerably." So what exactly are one's chances of falling from the sky these days?

On a global basis, there have been 401 fatalities on commercial and charter aircraft so far this year, down from 726 in 2010. With the world's airlines carrying almost 2.9 billion passengers this year, that works out to one fatality for every 7.1 million passengers flown, the lowest rate since the company began tracking the data in 1990.

One in 7.1 million sounds like pretty good odds! And, according to a former pilot Steve Cowell, it's only going to get better in the future:

Those airplanes are going to improve people's experience as passengers and consequently improve the safety of the system as a whole.

Could it be that at some point in the not-too-distant future we're going to be able to fly without fear of death, without fear of having to spend 17 hours stuck in the Atlanta airport, and without fear of catching some kind of Contagion-y disease? Fingers crossed! (And legs too, since there's not enough room between the seats to have them uncrossed.)


Air-travel fatality rate hits all-time low [MSNBC]

Image via Ilja Mašík/Shutterstock.