Is Our Flight Phobia Getting Worse?

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The thought of flying is enough to send many of us into a panic. Given that the chances of dying in a plane are around one in 5.4 million, it’s difficult to judge why. But, whatever the reason, it’s thought that 1 in 3 Americans are afraid of jetting away.

And, things don’t look set to improve anytime soon. In fact, recent years have done nothing to allay our fears. It would be impossible to write about this without mentioning 9/11. None of us will ever forget the images of that day. The risk of terrorism has been at the front of our minds since. It’s not exactly a good footing on which to tackle the fear.

And, this isn’t the only issue which invites flight phobia. While improvements in technology should increase feelings of safety, the opposite is true. This year has seen a worrying increase in large-scale technological problems. Notably in the flight world, British Airways in the UK had to cancel flights over the May bank holiday. The idea of a technical error on board is petrifying to many of us. Luckily, British Airways acted fast and grounded their flights. But, the damage is done for those with a phobia. The incident provides further proof that flying’s not a good idea.

Our ability to share on social media has also increased fear. On Saturday 5th of this month, footage from an American Airlines flight revealed a distressing scene after severe turbulence. Passengers appeared disoriented, and baggage was strewn across the cabin. To make matters worse, ten people were taken to hospital on landing. Is it any wonder that we prefer to keep our feet on the ground?

But, what can airlines do to allay these fears? Many would say that increased security in airports goes some way towards easing terrorism worries. There’s no denying that significant improvements have been put in place. Liquid is now forbidden in hand luggage, and there are extensive checks on all bags. You can also rest easy that airlines will be on top form when it comes to technological security. None of them will want a repeat of the British Airways disaster.

But, the responsibility doesn’t all fall on airlines. We also need to face up to our fears. A lot of the time, the main issue is misinformation. We see these terrible events and assume the worst. But, a quick look at the statistics will be enough to prove how safe flight is. Educating yourself about aircraft engines and their workings will also go a long way to putting your mind at ease. After all, you’ll then have a much better understanding of how unlikely they are to fail.

In extreme cases, you may need to get help to overcome your worries. Rational or not, fear of flying is real to the person experiencing it. In extreme cases, your brain will convince you of a risk that might not even be there. In these cases, the only way forward is counseling.

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