1. Take a last look around and remember exactly where the emergency exits are.
2. Put your head down cover it with your arms and brace for impact.
3. (If the crew is disabled or killed,#3-#6) When you hit, if you aren’t immediately killed or severely injured, get out of the plane! If you are with a child, help them escape (or a loved one if they are sitting near you) but as for everybody else, they need to make their own exit. Sorry if that sounds cold, but you will probably die in the resulting fire after the crash if you don’t immediately get clear of the aircraft. And forget trying get laptops or any of that nonsense; get out of the plane.
4. Get at least 100 yard (>90 meters) away from the airplane as quickly as you can and assess your injuries. If you are uninjured and you can assist any survivors, do that without getting closer to the aircraft. There will be fuel , both leaking and burning, and getting closer will put you in jeopardy of being killed.
5. Try to flag down any assistance if you can and direct them towards the crash site.
6. If you are injured, make as much noise as possible so people will be to locate you. If you can escape, try to. Forget about any “valuables”; just try to get out of the plane.
7. (If the crew is alive, #7-#10) Follow the instructions of the crew. They are trained professionals and they will attempt to assist you in leaving the plane. Do not waste time trying to retrieve valuables; just get out of the plane as quickly as possible.
8. Get as far as possible from the aircraft and assist survivors in that range, if possible. Do not try to go back into the aircraft. Listen carefully to any instructions given to you by the flight crew.
9. If you are injured, make as much noise as possible so people will be to locate you. If you can escape, try to. Forget about any “valuables”; just try to get out of the plane. The crew will try to assist you.
10. Do not try to go back into the aircraft. NOTHING that you have left in the plane is worth risking your life and the airline will replace any valuables that you do lose.
Remove everything sharp from your pockets. Loosen your belt and remove your tie or scarf. Remove high heeled shoes. Take glasses off for landing so they don’t fly off so are available to help you see your way out if you need them.
Know where your closest exit is and a backup for the type of landing… some exits can’t be used in water landings. Count the number of rows to those exits and try to identify any protrusions that you might use to find them if the cabin is full of smoke.
Stay in your seat until instructed. Do not open a door or window exit without direct instructions from a flight attendant.
Have a piece of cloth (preferably damp) to assist in breathing if there is smoke. If there is smoke during evacuation, stay as low as possible.
Follow the instructions of the flight attendants in their pre-landing briefing. If everyone is on the same page and understands what is expected of them, people will be working together to get everyone out. Don’t waste your time taking video with your camera…. LISTEN and PAY ATTENTION. If you survive with a video, it’s cool. If you die because you were more interested in taking a video than paying attention, it’s not so cool.
If a water landing DO NOT inflate your lifevest until you are actually at the doorway. If you inflate it and the aircraft fills with water, you will get trapped on the ceiling and not be able to swim underwater to get out the exit. If this happens, get out of your lifevest to be able to swim out and hang onto someone once out. Lifevests easily buoy 2 people.
Although you didn’t ask, after exiting the aircraft, move well away towards the wind so that smoke and fire move away from you. Do not lie down in tall grass. Do not completely leave the area so that you can be accounted for.
All that being said, most catastrophic crashes are not anticipated so it is rare to get much advance notice. In those cases, if you survive, follow the flight attendants’ directions and don’t take anything with you.