Boarding an airplane has never been safer.
The past decade has been the best in the country's aviation history with 153 fatalities. That's two deaths for every 100 million passengers on commercial flights, according to an Associated Press analysis of government accident data.
The improvement is remarkable. Just a decade earlier, at the time the safest, passengers were 10 times as likely to die when flying on a U.S. plane. The risk of death was even greater during the start of the jet age, with 1,696 people dying - 133 out of every 100 million passengers - from 1962 to 1971. The figures exclude acts of terrorism.
Sitting in a pressurized, aluminum tube 7 miles above the ground may never seem like the most natural thing. But consider this: You are more likely to die driving to the airport than flying across the country. There are more than 30,000 motor-vehicle deaths each year, a mortality rate eight times greater than in planes.
"I wouldn't say air crashes of passenger airliners are a thing of the past. They're simply a whole lot more rare than they used to be," says Todd Curtis, a former safety engineer with Boeing and director of the Airsafe.com Foundation.
There are still some corners of the world where flying is risky. Russia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia have particularly high rates of deadly crashes. Africa only accounts for 3 percent of world air traffic but had 14 percent of fatal crashes.
All fatal crashes in the United States in the past decade occurred on regional airlines, which are separate companies flying smaller planes under brands such as United Express, American Eagle and Delta Connection. The most recent deadly crash involving a larger airline was American Airlines Flight 587 in November 2001. It crashed moments after taking off from New York, killing 265.