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As aviation safety issues persist, are you more afraid to fly than before?

Technicians look at the damaged engine of Qantas Airways A380 passenger plane QF32 after it was forced to make an emergency landing at Changi airport in Singapore. (Reuters).

This morning, two major stories on air travel dangers hit the news cycle.

Australia-based airline Qantas grounded its Airbus A380 fleet after one of its superjumbo jets blew out an engine (see video here). The 433 passengers aboard the flight sat for 90 minutes before the plane landed in Singapore.

In a story that hits closer to home, Chicago-bound packages that investigators pulled off cargo planes in England and the United Arab Emirates on Friday were in danger of exploding -- one of the packages was 17 minutes away from detonation, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said this morning. The two bombs contained up to fives times as much of the industrial explosive PETN as the bomb stuffed into a terrorist suspect's underwear on a Detroit-bound plane last Christmas.

But even as reports on flight safety issues around the world pour in, it's clear that Americans are still choosing to fly to get where we need to go. The holiday travel season just ahead is expected to be more crowded and expensive than it was last year -- 41 million Americans are expected to take to the skies between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Are you planning to fly in the near future? How does the recent focus on in-flight dangers influence your decision to buy a ticket or your plans to travel? Are you nervous about security threats or other operational errors? Tell us on Twitter by using the hash tag #flightfears or in the comments below.

By Katie Rogers  | November 4, 2010; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  Your Take  
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I'm not nervous about flying in general, but I have stopped booking any flights on Airbus planes. This is true even if I have to make 2 stops. I will not fly the A330 (since crashes and other incidents have not been resolved) and now the A380 engine failure makes me think Airbus is throwing these planes together in response to Boeing's growing dominance. Since each aircraft is subsidized by the European alliance, more and more airlines are choosing Airbus models to replace aging McDonnell Douglas and some Canadian built CRJ regional 50 seaters. I think they're skimping on quality to meet the increased demand for an inferior product. On that note, I also don't feel that in light of these serious quality issues with Airbus, the US Government should be considering any Airbus product for the Air Force Tanker Replacement Project. There is too much at risk to make such an irresponsible procurement that the US Air Force will be stuck with for several decades. So no, I'm not afraid of flying, except on anything Airbus manufactures.

Posted by: tallyphil | November 4, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I think for most people fear is so detached from logic and reality that it has become one of the most significant and powerful tools of economic and political influence for both corporations and politicians. I am more afraid of the dehumanizing "security" screening and the rude, condescending folks that treat us like trash before boarding a flight, than I am of being blown up. Yes, terrorism is a real threat that we must address, but not nearly as big of an actual threat to our lives and health as a thousand other things that we don't think twice about, such as dying in an auto accident (over 33,000 people in 2009), or heart disease caused by cheap, fat filled govt. subsidized junk food. No, I don't fear flying, despite the terrorists, maintenance issues and drunk pilots. Liberty always requires a certain amount of risk. My questions is, why do we disproportionately fear things that statistically aren't near the top of the list of real potential harm to our health and happiness?

Posted by: 32Blue | November 4, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

c'mon....planes are designed with this very incident in mind. (an engine/engines exploding in mid-flight over the middle of the ocean hours from anywhere)

statistically, every single one of us is more likely to die the next time we go on the interstate when compared to a lifetime of flying.

Posted by: stringcheese | November 4, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm not at all afraid to fly. The odds of some terrorist action targeting or succeeding on an airline are beyond low.

I don't like the new robo-rape machines, mainly because I don't think the exposure to radioactivity does me any favors at all. I don't like the data that's been presented about it, and I don't think it's been honestly presented either. I don't think the machines are good for a person, and they are not neutral either.

Posted by: Nymous | November 5, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Fly from Singapore to DC tomorrow and not afraid at all. More likely I would get killed in a car crash on the way to the airport than from a terrorist or engine failure. Everyone should read the book "Gift of Fear" to learn when one should really be afraid, and not just paranoid because they watch to much tee-vee.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | November 5, 2010 4:13 AM | Report abuse

I think the Post's request to readers (Are you fearful of flying?) is really out of line. Is anyone fearful of a plane crashing: yes. Do you expect to crash: no. The Post's question seems aimed, intentionally or not, to generate/feed fear. This should not occur. The Post is a news reporting agency, not a news generating agency.

Posted by: sitspin | November 5, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't fear flying. I fear products designed and produced by state controlled companies that have far too much national pride vested in their commercial success of their products.

This thing is the Titanic with wings.

Posted by: ADNova | November 5, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Nervous about flying? Absolutely not; this plane with the busted engine stayed in the air for over an hour and came down OK. Concerned that the theatrical erosion of human dignity required to enter an airport these days hasn't done anything to address the real problems (cargo packages and the like) and yet will never be rolled back, and that commercial pilots are poorly paid and poorly rested? Yes.

I refused an electronic strip search (they can call it a "millimeter wave scan" all they want) at the airport last weekend, and despite then having to endure a public patdown it still felt good to be able to say no to *something*.

Posted by: MaxineofArc | November 5, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

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