Fear flying

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Frightened of flying?

Flying around the world now seems to be norm. With international markets constantly growing and the lure of cheap continental holidays we need to get to grips with our phobias. 

The fear

The fear associated with commercial air travel has now become a real issue for lots of people and causes great anxiety, even though the statistics show that driving around in a car or public transport could be far more dangerous.

There are quite a lot of reasons why people are frightened of flying: -

* Fear of heights (acrophobia)
* The fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia)
* Turbulence
* Hijacking
* Terrorism
* Deep vein thrombosis

All of the above and many more reasons will be considered by a person who has a fear of flying and will play on their minds for hours or even days before a flight.

Can't get on a plane

Some people can't even get on a plane. They are forced to use other modes of transport like coaches, cars, boats, or trains which are usually much slower. They will got to great trouble to find another way of getting to their destination even if it is going to cause them great deal of inconvenience in doing so.

Blame the media

Some blame the media as a reason behind their fear of flying. They make claims that they always seem to sensationalize an air crash and it's high casualty rate,  but give a very small coverage about automobiles, which cause millions of accidents worldwide each year.

Panic attacks

A lot of folks with a really bad fear of flying report panic attacks even when talking about aero-planes, or if they see one flying overhead. They can't even watch a film about a plane, or TV programs that may contain any aircraft footage.


Many travel operators and some airline companies are now trying to help people overcome their phobias by running courses that you can attend, an example of this is Virgin Atlantic.

Other methods

There is a method called Progressive Muscle Relaxation, where people focus on how they relax by varying the tension on various muscle groups. Medication can also be used to help combat a fear of flying.

For those who have anxiety related to a phobia, psychoactive medicines can be prescribed. Benzodiazepines or other relaxant drugs are often used. 

A lot of Psychiatrists are quite reluctant to prescribe such drugs due to their intermittent usage.


An increasing number of people will use alcohol to give them some Dutch courage both before and during a flight. 

This can give rise to other problems due to the fact that the cabin pressure can cause a person to behave differently. 

The thin oxygen content can cause the alcohol to have an enhanced effect, making the person intoxicated very quickly, which in turn could lead to antisocial behavior problems resulting in very serious consequences.

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Source:  Article was submitted by Anthony George for publication.

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© Anthony George 2005 Fear of flying