There’s nothing like the exciting anticipation of booking a holiday. Unfortunately for some, that feeling soon turns into anxiety when they begin to face the reality. To reach those remote sandy beaches you have to first travel hundreds of miles – and you’re not going to do that on foot!


For some of us, this is the unthinkable. Flying is a source of fear that holds us back from making family memories, experiencing new cultures and of course sipping cocktails on the beach. But why do we fear flying so much? The incentives are there, we just can’t quite get over the barriers that stop us from flying.


We decided it was time to uncover the real reason why so many of us fear flying. What is it that really makes us feel so uneasy on one of the safest modes of transport? 


Surveying 750 people, we delved into the real reasons people fear flying


Here are the top five answers we received


Malfunction 32%

It tops the list for the most common concern and with good reason. Whilst many minor malfunctions can lead to delays, some gain a little more media attention. This of course creates great fear around modern air traffic and particular airlines.


Most recently, the investigation into the AirAsia Flight 8501 plane crash ruled that the crash could have been avoided. With the disappearance of flight MH370 still fresh on everyone’s minds too, it’s no wonder why so many people responded to our survey in this way.

General anxieties 26%

“I’m generally anxious” and “I suffer panic attacks” were common amongst our respondents. It seems many of us expect to fear flying due to our underlying general anxieties. This is often why those who have never feared flying before, may feel triggered upon boarding and experience an overwhelming, unexpected wave of worry. Interestingly, women were more likely than men to answer with this response.


Lack of control 23%

Unlike driving your car, when you’re flying you put someone else in charge. The person flying the plane is in control and should something go awry, you can’t jump in to save the day. Men were more likely to state this reason than women.


Keeping the kids entertained 13%

In flight entertainment can be a nightmare for some parents. Not everyone can afford first class plane seats with TVs in the back of seats. However, for some parents the thought of entertaining young children can be a serious source of stress.


But surely this shouldn’t lead to fear? Actually, the heightened tension from family feuds and grumbling passengers can induce panic attacks. For some people, the very thought of jetting off abroad with their children can trigger a great deal of anxiety.


Weather conditions 6%

Adverse weather conditions will in most cases ground a flight before you even have chance to take off. Our software has become so sophisticated that we can now predict how the weather will turn, with great accuracy.  Pilots are supported by a team of analysts on the ground who can arrange diversions and give them up to the minute details of oncoming conditions. We found that it was the over 35 age categories that were most afraid of adverse weather conditions.


Our tips for coping with aerophobia

  • Address the issues

  • Like the survey respondents we spoke to, try to find out exactly what it is about flying that scares you. This will help you face the fears directly as you’ll know exactly what to target.
  • Don’t drink alcohol in the waiting lounge

  • It can be tempting to drink so much that you sleep through the flight, but this actually leaves us less in control of our emotions and more vulnerable to anxiety.

  • Take a fear of flying class

  • Simply gritting your teeth and baring it will not help you overcome your fear. In fact, you will most likely reinforce your fear by doing so. Many airlines offer fear of flying classes which address your fears and give you an idea of what technology is used to keep you safe. Giving you an insight into how planes fly safely will help you understand how unlikely it is that something could go wrong.

  • Prepare in advance

  • Make sure you have all the necessary documents printed off and that you pack your suitcase well in advance. A last minute rush can put you off flying and make the situation more tense. It also makes you mentally prepared for what’s about to happen.

Whilst there might not be a magic cure for aerophobia, there are so many options out there for those who suffer. If you are willing to go in with an open mind, you will be sipping cocktails on a sandy beach in no time!