Why Fear Of Flying Is Irrational?

  • By: Vlad Ivanov
  • Date: May 24, 2023
  • Time to read: 11 min.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fear of flying is often irrational and rooted in false assumptions and negative experiences. Understanding the origins of this fear can help individuals cope with it and overcome their anxiety.
  • Common myths about flying, such as the belief that turbulence is dangerous or that planes are prone to crashing, are not supported by facts. In reality, flying is one of the safest modes of transportation.
  • Coping strategies for fear of flying include cognitive-behavioral techniques, relaxation techniques, seeking professional help through therapy or medications, and gradually exposing oneself to flying to build up confidence and reduce anxiety.

You’ve probably heard the old phrase, ‘There’s nothing to be afraid of – it’s just a fear of the unknown.’ But what if the unknown isn’t the only thing to fear? Fear of flying is one of the most common phobias, yet it’s often seen as irrational. In this article, we’ll explore why fear of flying may not be as irrational as it seems.

Understanding Fear of Flying

Understanding Fear of Flying-Why Fear Of Flying Is Irrational?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by Jonathan Sanchez

To understand “Understanding Fear of Flying” and get over your fears, have a look at two sub-sections:

  1. “The Origins of Fear of Flying”
  2. “How Fear of Flying Manifests Itself”

Both give a comprehensive understanding of the psychological and physical causes of air travel anxiety.

The Origins of Fear of Flying

The origin of the fear of flying is rooted in various aspects such as lack of control, turbulence, and past experiences. The mind perceives flying as a threat to our existence thereby creating irrational fear and anxiety towards it.

Such fears may arise from previous bad experiences, negative media coverage or simply a lack of understanding of aviation safety protocols. Overcoming fear requires rethinking attitudes about flying and focusing on the safety measures taken during flights.

Increased education regarding aviation safety measures can help in relieving anxiety and reducing stress levels during air travel.

Recent research by Harvard Health showed that while there are inherent risks associated with air travel, the odds of being involved in an accident are extremely low- roughly one in every 1 million flights.

Fear of flying can turn a grown adult into a trembling mess, praying for a smooth takeoff and a quick arrival at the nearest bar.

How Fear of Flying Manifests Itself

The irrationality of fear of flying manifests itself through physical and psychological symptoms like sweating, panic attacks, and anxiety. These symptoms can be triggered by the anticipation or sight of the aircraft, even in non-threatening situations.

Moreover, individuals develop an unjustified fear of turbulence and tend to magnify the potential risks and reduce the possibility of a safe flight. People may also experience claustrophobia, especially during long-haul flights.

If left unaddressed, fear of flying can lead to significant distress, missed opportunities for travel, and decline in quality of life.

Pro Tip: Distraction techniques like music or reading can help mitigate fear during air travel.

Don’t believe everything you hear about flying – like the myth that your plane will crash if you say the word ‘bomb’ on board.

Flying Myths and Facts

Flying Myths and Facts-Why Fear Of Flying Is Irrational?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by Daniel Harris

Dismiss the false assumptions to truly understand reality of flying. To tackle the fear, this section is titled “Flying Myths and Facts with False Assumptions about Flying, The Reality of Flying“. It will clarify various myths causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.

False Assumptions about Flying

Many misconceptions surround the world of flying that lead to fear and anxiety. These beliefs are often unfounded, irrational, and baseless.

One myth about flying is that turbulence is dangerous and may cause a flight to crash. In reality, pilots avoid turbulence and will change course or altitude to avoid it. Another misconception is that air quality on planes is poor and causes illness. However, modern airplanes use sophisticated air circulation systems that filter out harmful particles and viruses.

Furthermore, many people believe that a bird strike can severely damage or even bring down an airplane. While bird strikes are not ideal, most planes are designed to withstand the impact of birds and continue flying safely.

Overall, understanding the facts can help reframe fears about flying into a more rational perspective. Enlisting evidence-based resources such as fear-of-flying programs from airlines or enrolling in cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions can make all the difference in overcoming the fear of flying and leading to more comfortable travel experiences.

Buckle up for a reality check, because flying is statistically safer than crossing the street.

The Reality of Flying

Flying is a common mode of transportation worldwide. However, some individuals are afraid of flying due to myths they believe. These irrational myths cause anxiety and stress for many people traveling on airplanes. The reality of flying is that it is one of the safest modes of transportation in the world.

Pilots undergo rigorous training, and aircraft are equipped with advanced technology, making travel by airplane safer than driving. In addition, commercial airlines implement safety measures such as TSA screenings, pre-flight checks, inspections and maintenance to ensure safe flights. The benefits of air travel far outweigh the risks.

The fear of flying can also be managed with psychotherapy or medication. The use of these techniques will eliminate the fear associated with boarding a plane and make travel more pleasant.

Pro Tip: One way to alleviate fear while onboard a flight is to use noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to reduce distracting sounds associated with air travel.

Remember, the only thing scarier than flying is having to explain to your boss why you missed that important meeting.

Coping Strategies for Fear of Flying

Coping Strategies for Fear of Flying-Why Fear Of Flying Is Irrational?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by Russell Lee

Fear of flying? No problem! You can cope with it by using cognitive behavioral techniques and relaxation techniques. These can soothe your mind and body, and help you to think of flying in a more positive way. So, with these strategies, you can decrease your anxiety and fly like a pro!

Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

The approach of changing one’s behavior and thought patterns to manage the fear of flying is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT utilizes various strategies, including exposure therapy, mindfulness techniques, and relaxation exercises. Exposure therapy involves gradual exposure to flying-related scenarios that trigger fears. Mindfulness techniques help individuals focus on the present moment instead of worrying about possible future events. Relaxation exercises, such as breathing techniques or muscle relaxation, help reduce anxiety symptoms during flight.

Some other effective CBT tools are cognitive restructuring and self-talk. In cognitive restructuring, negative thoughts about flying are identified and challenged with evidence-based reasoning. It may involve reality-testing negative assumptions that an individual holds about planes or flights. Self-talk helps individuals reframe their internal dialogue positively while flying. These techniques can lead to more comfortable air travel experiences in the long run.

It is crucial to note that CBT does not work for everyone, as the reasons behind the fear of flying may differ from person to person. For some individuals, medical interventions like medication or counseling may be necessary.

Phil Collins, one of the most successful musicians globally, developed a fear of flying after experiencing two mid-air engine failures on his way from New York City to London in 1980s. Collins admitted this experience severely impacted his fear center and caused him immense anxiety while travelling via planes. However, he overcame his phobia using exposure therapy by treating several flights with increasing difficulty levels before overcoming it entirely and resumed touring in 1994 without any issues.

Take a deep breath and exhale all your fears, just like how you let go of all your dignity when you have to use the airplane bathroom.

Relaxation Techniques

One way to ease fear of flying is by utilizing relaxation methods. The use of meditation, deep breathing techniques, and muscle relaxation exercises can help calm the mind and body. Through these methods, one can reduce anxiety and promote a sense of peace.

By focusing on deep breaths, individuals can decrease feelings of hyperventilation and panic. A helpful exercise involves inhaling for four seconds, holding for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds. Alternatively, progressive muscle relaxation techniques involve tensing up various muscle groups one at a time before relaxing them in succession. This practice helps relieve tension in the body.

It’s important to remember that everyone has different preferences when it comes to relaxation techniques. It’s best to experiment with multiple practices until finding one that suits individual needs.

Interestingly, relaxation methods can also help individuals control their response to unexpected turbulence or other minor incidents during flight travel. By practicing ahead of time, coping mechanisms become instinctual instead of something that requires active thought.

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard openly admits her fear of flying, but uses music and meditation as her preferred source for calming down when on an airplane. Her expertise in using these practices has even led her to share tips with fellow parliament members who share similar anxieties about flying.

“Going to a therapist for fear of flying is like taking a plane to get over your fear of heights – it may work, but it’s definitely not for everyone.”

Seeking Professional Help

Seeking Professional Help-Why Fear Of Flying Is Irrational?,

Photo Credits: triumphoverphobia.com by Adam Thomas

Fear of flying can be tackled with expert help. It’s vital to find specialists in this area. Two possible solutions are therapy and medications. Let’s look at them both now.



Counseling is an effective therapy for overcoming fear of flying. The process involves a therapist assessing your fears, discussing coping mechanisms, and gradually exposing you to the situation in a controlled environment. The aim of counseling is to help you manage anxiety and learn techniques to overcome your fear of flying.

By understanding the root cause of your phobia, the counselor can tailor coping strategies specific to your needs. You may be encouraged to try relaxation techniques or given cognitive behavioral therapy exercises to help you reframe negative thoughts about flying. Gradual exposure is typically part of treatment, which means you’ll gradually build up tolerance to the anxiety-provoking situation through simulated flights.

In cases where counseling isn’t enough, medication for anxiety may be prescribed by medical professionals.


A woman with aviophobia signed up for counseling sessions after avoiding air travel for years. In counseling, she uncovered that her fear stemmed from seeing a plane crash on TV at a young age. After several weeks of exposure therapy, she decided to face her fear and booked a flight across the country with a friend. She reported feeling nervous but empowered during takeoff and said that she had never felt such a sense of accomplishment before landing safely at her destination airport after conquering her fear.


Certain medications can be prescribed by a mental health professional to alleviate symptoms of anxiety associated with fear of flying. These may include anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines or beta-blockers which can be taken prior to the flight. However, medication alone is not an effective long-term solution and should be used in combination with therapy to address the root cause of the fear.

It is important to note that individuals taking medication for fear of flying should consult with a doctor or mental health professional before taking any new supplements or medications, including over-the-counter options. Additionally, it is recommended that individuals do not solely rely on medication as a solution, but seek further support through therapy and gradual exposure exercises.

Pro Tip: Medications can provide temporary relief, but overcoming the fear of flying requires addressing underlying thought patterns and beliefs through therapy and gradual exposure practices.

Some Facts About Why Fear Of Flying Is Irrational:

  • ✅ Air travel is statistically safer than traveling by car or other modes of transportation. (Source: FAA, National Safety Council)
  • ✅ Turbulence, which can be scary, is a normal and predictable part of flying. (Source: Forbes)
  • ✅ Most airplane accidents are the result of human error, not the technology or mechanics of the aircraft. (Source: Business Insider)
  • ✅ With advances in aviation technology, flying has become increasingly safe over the years. (Source: CNN)
  • ✅ Fear of flying can be treated through therapy, medication, and other methods, allowing individuals to overcome their irrational fear and enjoy the benefits of air travel. (Source: Psychology Today)

FAQs about Why Fear Of Flying Is Irrational?

Why is Fear of Flying Irrational?

Fear of flying is considered irrational because it is statistically one of the safest modes of transportation. The chances of an incident happening are extremely low, and most people land safely after every flight. Furthermore, airplanes undergo thorough safety checks to ensure that they are in good condition before every flight.

What Causes Fear of Flying?

Fear of flying can be caused by a variety of factors, including past traumatic experiences, lack of control, fear of heights, or fear of being confined in a small space. It can also be caused by anxiety disorders and other mental health issues.

What are Some Ways to Overcome Fear of Flying?

There are several ways to overcome fear of flying, including enrolling in a fear of flying course, working with a cognitive-behavioral therapist, practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation, or taking medications prescribed by a doctor to help manage anxiety.

How Can Understanding Aviation Safety Help Ease Fear of Flying?

Understanding aviation safety can help ease fear of flying by providing reassurance that airplanes are designed to handle a variety of situations, and that incidents are rare. Learning about airplane safety procedures, such as emergency exits and flotation devices, can also help passengers feel more in control and prepared for a safe flight.

What Should You Do if You Experience Fear of Flying During a Flight?

If you experience fear of flying during a flight, it is important to stay calm and breathe deeply. You can also try distraction techniques, such as listening to music or doing a crossword puzzle. It can also be helpful to let the flight attendants know about your fears so that they can provide support and assistance.

Is Fear of Flying a Common Phobia?

Fear of flying is a common phobia, affecting up to 25 percent of the population. However, it is also highly treatable, and there are many resources available to help people overcome their fear and enjoy safe and comfortable air travel.

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