What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained

  • By: Vlad Ivanov
  • Date: May 24, 2023
  • Time to read: 13 min.

Key Takeaway:

  • Aerophobia is the fear of flying which can hinder one’s ability to travel and experience new things. Understanding the causes and symptoms of aerophobia is the first step in managing and overcoming this fear.
  • Past experiences, lack of control, and psychological factors such as anxiety and claustrophobia can contribute to the development of aerophobia. Identifying these causes can help individuals address their fears and find coping strategies.
  • The physical symptoms of aerophobia can include increased heart rate, sweating, and nausea, while emotional symptoms can include panic attacks and feelings of helplessness or dread. Recognizing these symptoms and learning relaxation techniques, seeking support from professionals, and considering medication or exposure therapy can help individuals manage and overcome aerophobia.

Are you one of those people afraid of flying? Are you dealing with aerophobia? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Discover what aerophobia is and how to manage this fear in this article. You’ll be able to overcome your fear of flying and take off with ease.

What is Aerophobia?

What is Aerophobia?-What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained,

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Aerophobia is a fear of flying that can lead to panic attacks and anxiety in individuals who suffer from it. This phobia can be caused by a variety of factors, including past experiences, lack of control, and fear of heights. Symptoms include sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath. The fear can often be managed through therapy or medication.

Causes of Aerophobia

Causes of Aerophobia-What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained,

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Do you suffer from aerophobia? To help you understand the causes of this fear, we have a section called ‘Causes of Aerophobia.’ It’s split into three sub-sections:

  1. Psychological Factors
  2. Past Experiences and Trauma
  3. Lack of Control

These sub-sections explain the different factors that can lead to aerophobia. They also give you useful tips on how to start overcoming your fear.

Psychological Factors

The human mind plays a significant role in developing aerophobia, commonly known as the fear of flying. The psychological factors that trigger this fear include traumatic experiences with flights, fear of heights or enclosed spaces, and anxiety disorders such as panic attacks. Additionally, the feeling of not being in control and relying on others to keep you safe can cause mental distress.

Moreover, people who have experienced turbulence or have seen airplane accidents through media may also develop aerophobia. Such instances are enough to trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and agoraphobia (fear of open spaces). Furthermore, genetics and personality traits may also increase the likelihood of developing aerophobia.

It is crucial to acknowledge aerophobia as a real condition that affects many individuals around the world. Seeking professional help like counseling sessions can help one overcome their fear and enable them to travel freely without any worries. Don’t let your fear restrict you from exploring your surroundings; take control of your life and seek guidance to overcome it today!

How do you know if someone has aerophobia? They constantly ask the pilot if they got their license from a cereal box.

Past Experiences and Trauma

Studies suggest that negative past experiences and trauma can contribute to aerophobia, or the fear of flying. Traumatic events such as turbulence, mechanical failures, and 9/11 incidents have been found to leave a lasting impact on certain individuals, resulting in a fear of flying. These individuals often experience flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety attacks at the mere thought of boarding a plane.

Such trauma triggers their fight or flight response in an otherwise safe environment. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for aerophobia caused by past experiences. This treatment is designed to help individuals identify and challenge irrational thoughts associated with flying while promoting coping strategies to manage the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety.

Individuals who have experienced negative past events should seek professional help rather than avoiding air travel altogether. It’s also important for airlines to prioritize passenger comfort by providing adequate resources like therapy sessions, pre-flight briefings on safety measures, and in-flight entertainment.

Pro Tip: Grounding techniques like deep breathing exercises can significantly lower anxiety levels during air travel.

Flying is the ultimate test of trustfall – except instead of falling, you’re hurtling through the sky in a metal tube piloted by a stranger.

Lack of Control

A common cause of aerophobia is the feeling of being out of control. This can be due to a fear of crashes, turbulence, or not being in control of the aircraft. Many people find it difficult to deal with the lack of control they experience when they are flying.

The sense of helplessness can lead to panic attacks and anxiety. There are various techniques and therapies that can help combat this fear, though. One effective strategy is to educate oneself about flying and familiarize oneself with what happens during a flight. Visualization techniques can also help calm anxious thoughts.

It’s also possible to gain more control by choosing seats closer to the front or the wing, where passengers experience less turbulence. Some people feel comforted by wearing noise-canceling headphones or bringing familiar objects onboard, like a favorite blanket or book.

In addition, there are prescription medications that can reduce anxiety during flights and make the experience less stressful. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medication.

Ultimately, understanding how aerophobia develops and affects our behavior empowers us to overcome this fear and enjoy air travel like others do without being held back by unnecessary fears.

Flying is the only time you pray for turbulence to distract you from the terror of being thousands of feet in the air.

Symptoms of Aerophobia

Symptoms of Aerophobia-What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained,

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Do you experience chest tightness, a rapid heartbeat, or nausea? These could be physical symptoms of aerophobia. Fear, panic, and anxiety are common emotional symptoms of this fear. Let’s gain some insights into these symptoms of aerophobia.

Physical Symptoms

The fear of flying, also known as aerophobia, can cause various physical manifestations in those who suffer from this phobia. Commonly reported physical symptoms include increased heart rate and blood pressure, shallow breathing, sweating, tremors or shaking hands and legs.

Individuals experiencing aerophobia may also feel nauseous or dizzy, develop headaches or muscle tension. In extreme cases, the individual may experience a panic attack during the flight.

It is important to note that each person’s experience with aerophobia may differ. Some people may only experience a few physical symptoms while others may be more severe.

Pro Tip: Practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help alleviate some of the physical symptoms associated with aerophobia during flights.

Flying is the only way to truly experience turbulence both physically and emotionally.

Emotional Symptoms

As a result of aerophobia, individuals may experience various emotional reactions when they think about flying or are in an airplane. These reactions are related to their fear of flying and can be debilitating for many.

Some of the common emotional symptoms of aerophobia include anxiety, panic attacks, feelings of dread or apprehension, excessive sweating, and hyperventilation. In some more serious cases, these symptoms may progress into a full-blown panic attack.

Other emotional symptoms that individuals with aerophobia may experience include extreme nervousness before takeoff or landing, intense anxiety during turbulence or unusual sounds on the plane. Additionally, they may also feel isolated and disconnected from others who don’t share their fear of flying.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms while traveling by air, it’s important to seek medical attention to manage your anxiety and receive treatment options that work best for you.

Pro Tip: Deep breathing exercises can help reduce feelings of anxiety during flight. Consider practicing them before and during take-off as well as throughout your flight journey.

Being strapped into a metal tube thousands of feet in the air may sound scary, but with these coping strategies, aerophobia will be just another airfare annoyance.

Coping Strategies for Aerophobia

Coping Strategies for Aerophobia-What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained,

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Cope with your aerophobia? No problem! Utilize various strategies to lower anxiety and conquer the fear. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, relaxation techniques, and medications can be effective solutions. This section provides guidance on coping strategies to help you manage your fear and make flying a pleasant experience.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

For those suffering from fear of flying, a popular treatment approach is a therapy that focuses on cognition and behavior. This type of therapy involves identifying negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive ones, adjusting reactions to triggers by practicing relaxation techniques, and gradually increasing exposure to flying-related activities. Through cognitive-behavioral interventions, individuals can develop coping mechanisms that reduce their anxiety and ultimately increase their confidence in flight.

This therapy is often implemented by trained psychologists or licensed therapists who work with the individual to develop a tailored treatment plan. Behavioral strategies may include setting manageable goals for overcoming fears or practicing visualization techniques. Cognitive strategies help individuals identify negative thought patterns and replace them with more rational and positive ways of thinking. By working through these skills in a structured environment, people can decrease the severity of their phobia over time.

In addition to professional counseling sessions, self-help approaches such as online courses or support groups may also be beneficial for individuals seeking treatment. Many organizations offer programs that provide online resources, virtual reality simulations, or group meetings where individuals can share experiences and solutions.

One person who benefited from cognitive-behavioral therapy for aerophobia said they had always avoided flying until they decided to try treatment after missing an important family event due to fear of flying. Following several months of counseling and gradual exposure to air travel activities starting with visiting airports without boarding planes all the way up to taking flights across the country, the individual eventually gained the courage to fly without excessive anxiety. Thanks to cognitive-behavioral therapy, they now look forward to traveling on future vacations rather than dreading it.

Take a deep breath, envision a tranquil beach, and remember that statistically, you’re more likely to be struck by a coconut than to die in a plane crash.

Relaxation Techniques

When dealing with the fear of flying, one beneficial technique that aerophobes can use is to employ calming methods. These relaxation methods are useful in reducing anxiety and preventing panic attacks, thereby helping individuals feel more comfortable during flights.

One relaxation technique that aerophobes can use is deep breathing. This involves taking slow and deep breaths from the diaphragm to promote a sense of calmness and relaxation. Another technique is progressive muscle relaxation, which entails tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in the body.

In addition to these techniques, individuals may also find guided imagery helpful. This involves visualizing oneself in a peaceful setting or scenario, such as lying on a beach or walking through a forest, to foster feelings of tranquility and ease.

It’s important for individuals struggling with aerophobia to experiment with various relaxation techniques and determine what works best for them. Whether it’s deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery, employing calming strategies can make air travel more manageable and enjoyable.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to travel to new places due to your fear of flying. Try implementing these relaxation techniques before your next flight and give yourself the chance to experience all that air travel has to offer.

Taking medication before a flight won’t cure your fear of flying, but it will guarantee you’ll nap through the whole thing.


The use of pharmacotherapy is a potential strategy for mitigating symptoms of aerophobia. Antianxiety medications such as benzodiazepines, including diazepam and lorazepam, can calm central nervous system activity to lessen anxiety levels. Also, some antidepressants may have anxiolytic properties that could help manage the fear associated with flying.

It is important to note that the use of medication should be under the supervision of a healthcare provider who can closely monitor any side effects or contraindications with other medications. Additionally, medication alone should not replace other coping mechanisms such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy which have been shown to effectively reduce fear of flying in the long term.

It should be emphasized that self-medicating or indiscriminate drug use can lead to dependence and adverse outcomes. Medication should only be considered after a thorough discussion with mental health professionals and physicians.

Experts at Harvard explain how benzodiazepines work by “enhancing the action of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps communicate signals.”

Don’t worry, flying is statistically safer than driving. Unless you’re driving a clown car. Then maybe stick to walking.

Overcoming Aerophobia

Overcoming Aerophobia-What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained,

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For ‘Overcoming Aerophobia’, this article – ‘What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained‘ – discusses the solution. It’s about using 3 methods: exposure therapy, gradual desensitization and seeking help from professionals. Use them separately or together to manage and defeat aerophobia!

Exposure Therapy

This type of therapy is aimed to help individuals overcome their fear of flying. It involves gradually introducing the person to more and more aspects of flying in a controlled setting, so they can learn how to manage their anxiety better.

During this process, a person may start with looking at pictures or videos of planes before eventually moving on to touring an airplane cabin or sitting in a cockpit simulator. The goal is for the individual to become desensitized to the fear triggers they previously associated with flying.

Research indicates that exposure therapy has been successful in treating aerophobia. A study conducted by Stanford University found that 80% of participants who underwent exposure therapy were able to fly again without excessive fear or anxiety.

Interestingly, one possible explanation for why exposure therapy works is because it reconditions the brain’s response to certain stimuli. According to Dr. Martin Seif, a clinical psychologist and co-author of “Overcoming Flight Anxiety,” the brain starts realizing that there are no negative consequences associated with flying, which ultimately reduces fear.

Aerophobia can be debilitating, but there are viable solutions available through treatment methods such as exposure therapy, helping sufferers regain control of their lives.

Don’t worry, gradual desensitization isn’t as scary as it sounds – unless you’re afraid of baby steps.

Gradual Desensitization

One way to overcome a fear of flying is through the process of gradually reducing sensitivity to flying-related stimuli. This can be achieved through a technique called systematic desensitization. A therapist will guide you through the process by correcting your negative beliefs about flying, teaching relaxation techniques, and exposing you to flight experiences in controlled environments. By slowly increasing exposure, your anxiety response decreases over time.

To become comfortable with flying, one might try ‘progressive exposure therapy’, where they are exposed to pictures of planes or small-scale models of aircraft before progressing on to taking short flights or even visiting airport terminals. Over several sessions (and often with the help of medication), gradual approach to air travel can result in a noticeable reduction in anxiety getting onto an airplane.

It’s crucial that anyone worried about air travel speak honestly with their doctor about their fears before seeking treatment. No two people are alike, so the approach must be personalized according to individual patients’ needs and fears. Mental health specialists can tailor a treatment plan that takes into account a patient’s concerns as well as planning for specific situations like passing turbulence and long waits at airports.

Amanda was afraid of flying after experiencing severe turbulence during a flight from Boston to New York. The idea of boarding another plane was too stressful for her until she started seeing Dr Richard Bell, who specializes in phobia treatments. After structured therapy sessions over several months, Amanda was finally able to take many flights without her usual panic attacks – something she never thought she could do again.

Seeking Support from Professionals

Individuals who experience an irrational fear or extreme anxiety when flying could seek the help of professionals. Support from therapists and counselors can enable a person to address the root cause of aerophobia, providing methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy to reduce fear levels. Developing an action plan and utilizing coping mechanisms during flights can also be useful. Seek professional guidance if you need additional support in overcoming aerophobia.

Five Facts About Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained:

  • ✅ Aerophobia, or fear of flying, is a common phobia that affects approximately 25% of people in the United States. (Source: Verywell Mind)
  • ✅ The fear of flying can be caused by various factors, such as a traumatic experience, fear of heights, or a lack of control. (Source: Cleveland Clinic)
  • ✅ There are various treatments available for aerophobia, including therapy, medication, and self-help techniques. (Source: Medical News Today)
  • ✅ Exposure therapy, where patients are gradually exposed to flying situations, has been found to be an effective treatment for aerophobia. (Source: Psychology Today)
  • ✅ Aerophobia can be managed and overcome, allowing individuals to travel and experience new destinations. (Source: Healthline)

FAQs about What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained

What Is Aerophobia: Fear Of Flying Explained?

Aerophobia, commonly known as the fear of flying, is an anxiety disorder that triggers an irrational and excessive fear of traveling by plane. People who suffer from aerophobia might experience intense panic attacks, sweating, or nausea when they are at the airport or inside a plane.

What Causes Aerophobia?

Several factors can contribute to the development of aerophobia. Fear of flying can arise from a traumatic experience, such as turbulence or a plane accident. Other people may develop the fear of flying because of a lack of control or a fear of enclosed spaces. Some people may also have a fear of heights or a general anxiety disorder that makes them more prone to develop aerophobia.

How Common Is Aerophobia?

Aerophobia is a relatively common condition, affecting up to 25% of the adult population. It is estimated that 1 in 20 individuals has some degree of fear of flying, while 1 in 10 will experience significant anxiety when traveling by plane.

Can Aerophobia Be Treated?

Yes, aerophobia can be treated. There are several treatments available, including therapy, medication, and exposure therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common treatment option that involves identifying and changing negative thoughts or beliefs that may cause anxiety. Exposure therapy is another effective treatment where individuals face their fears in a controlled and safe environment to reduce anxiety.

How Can I Cope With Aerophobia?

Besides professional treatment, there are several things you can do to cope with aerophobia. You can try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization, to calm your anxiety. You can also distract yourself during the flight, for example, by watching a movie or listening to music. It is also helpful to educate yourself on how planes work and the safety measures in place to reduce the risk of accidents.

Should I Avoid Flying With Aerophobia?

Avoiding flying altogether is not recommended as it can reinforce the fear and make it more difficult to overcome in the long run. However, if the anxiety is too severe, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor or therapist about possible alternatives or ways to reduce the anxiety, such as taking medication or using relaxation techniques.

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