This thread needs Redbelly to chime in...
I actually sat down and typed a long response after the OP was made but thought I'd wait a bit...
A lot of great posts have been made and for the most part echo my thoughts.
The first thing I say to myself when I see a news report like this is, "dear God. here we go again!" Not because of the tragedy itself but because of the 24/7 news cycle, everyone with a tie is an "expert" something, how do we prevent this from happening in the future type knee-jerk reactions... and the surface hasn't even been marginally scratched to uncover the enormous amount of details that will eventually come to the surface to explain why this accident (or any accident) has happened. We have come to expect (demand) answers immediately after a tragedy like this and when we can't have it (and we can't, at least not an accurate or informed one) we turn to the media to give us (possible) answers and they are (to someone in the profession) nauseating in the shear numbers and WTF are you talking about hypotheses!
I don't know what happened in this particular crash. If what is being reported is true it is one of the rarest types of accidents I can imagine. It just doesn't happen. Pilots invest an enormous amount of time, money, and personal sacrifices to reach and maintain their employment and their licenses. I was employed at my current job after about 11 years of doing anything and everything to build the flight hours necessary to become employed at a major carrier. And I was fortunate! Before that I was making 20,400 (gross) annually working for a commuter. Why? Because we "love" to fly! The consequences of a mistake are extremely high. 99.9 percent of pilots become pilots because its a passion and we truly love what we do... and when we compare the number of accidents to flights we do it exceedingly well.
In this case, horrifying as it appears to be, you have one pilot that may have locked himself inside and committed, to me and every other pilot out there, the unimaginable. However, just in the post 9/11 era we have had numerous attempts to breach the cockpit by all sorts of individuals. Some stopped by passengers and some by this reinforced door. Giving any way to access the flight deck from the cabin would be immediately exploited by individuals intent on gaining access to the cockpit for destructive purposes. As horrific as this situation appears, pilots are some of the most trusted professionals that I can think of and you want us protected on the inside of that door.
I dont usually look this stuff up but there is somewhere around 93,000 flights a day to commercial airports around the world. Nearly 34 MILLION flights a year! Accidents are extremely rare! This particular accident, while tragic and unthinkable, is not something I would even think about getting on any carrier anywhere in the world and I fly around A LOT in the back of airplanes.
While I don't know how this might have changed the circumstances of this particular flight, I was surprised to find out that most non-US carriers allow the pilot to be alone in the cockpit when the other needs to use the restroom. Normally I would expect a flight attendant to replace the exiting pilot leaving two individuals in the cockpit. I believe that I saw that many foreign carriers have immediately started implementing this procedure.
I use to be reluctant to go out on the road on a Friday/ Saturday night for fear of drunk drivers. I can honestly say that my biggest fear now is that I will be taken out by a cellphone distracted texting driver. The shit I see on the road (as we all do) is truly terrifying to me. The ability for most drivers to keep their lanes because of self-induced distractions (cellphones) is literally unbelievable to me. No kidding, yesterday I passed a school bus driver that was texting on their phone. If the situation was possible I would have tracked that guy down! I just could not believe it. THAT is where your fear should be in getting to the next Meet-Up!
A lot of things are frustrating, and tend to give people pause, when choosing air travel... SAFETY and wondering IF I'm going to get there is NOT one of your concerns! You will!
Enjoy your next flight! It's a wonderful and amazing world we have access to!