Excerpts from “BA’s richest passengers let in on secret of surviving crashes”  Independent, Monday, 3 October 2011 Executive Club members given chance to exchange points for safety course

By Simon Calder, Travel correspondent

“Despite public perceptions, most aircraft accidents are survivable. But experience shows that passengers often perish in the chaotic aftermath of a crash. Research into emergency evacuations by the Civil Aviation Authority in 2006 found that a significant number of passengers struggle with the most basic of tasks: releasing the seat belt.

If fire is spreading, every second of delay is potentially fatal. Mr Clubb said that travellers who had been trained can accelerate the evacuation, potentially saving lives. “With other passengers around them reacting in a positive manner to the instructions being given by the crew, the few passengers that might have frozen might follow those who demonstrate that they know what they are doing,” Mr Clubb said.

BA developed a passenger-training programme at the request of BP, which sends staff into remote regions of the world where safety standards are less rigorous. The course covers basics such as practising releasing the seat belt and checking the location of the life jacket and concludes with a simulated emergency evacuation down the escape slides.”