Fear of Flying is Common

Fear of Flying image of an-148 airplane

Fear of flying increases whenever there is news of an airplane crash. It is a common reaction to imagine yourself aboard the plane and empathize with those aboard. Recent news of a Russian airliner crashing near Moscow killing the 71 souls on board was tragic, but it is an exception, not the rule. Even if you have not previously felt fear when flying an accident in the news can trigger an empathetic reaction.

Two Events Cause Fear of Flying

Developing a fear of flying, or any fear for that matter, is due to two events in our lives. An initiating event triggers the fear and then a reinforcing event embeds it.

Let’s say you watch a movie and empathize with someone on a plane. The movie plane crashing affects your feelings.  It embeds the thought. Later when a plane you are on hits a downdraft… Viola! You just embedded a fear of flying which gets re-enforced with every airline crash story you hear about.

What Can You Do About It

Fears are not always bad. They keep us safe, but when a fear is unrealistic it can interfere with your quality of life. If you want to travel far away for a visit somewhere, you want to be able to take a plane without freaking out or panicking.

The first thing to do is rationalize. While rationalization may not be good if you are giving in to a habit you want to quit, it is a way of calming the mind and allowing yourself to utilize your intellect to overcome the dread feeling.


There are a tremendous amount of fatal car crashes every year in the United States, yet people who fear flying have no problem driving. Statistically you are more likely to die in a car accident than a plane crash… even if you fly regularly.

Understand your triggers. The fear of flying is not often a single fear, but rather an amalgam of several factors. Each factor will have varying degrees of severity for different people. It is your thoughts that trigger the Fear of flying anxiety.  Even when you know your thoughts are not rational, the anxiety prevails.

Triggers could be thinking about how high off the ground you are; The  possibility turbulence could cause the plane to fall out of the sky; how cramped into a space you are without the ability to get off when you want; how likely it is a terrorist is on board… and the list goes on and on.

What to Do and What Not to do

Knowledge can help. Read about the airline industry, it’s safety record and how the plane is designed to handle turbulence.  Remember every one of the crew members fly every day without a hitch. Do not drink alcohol or medicate (unless under a doctor’s direction), this can make matters worse. Some people have found that meditation can help. They close their eyes and imagine one of their triggers happening and then associate a thought which can help calm them.

Hypnosis is an effective way to overcome the fear of flying.  I offer a free consultation to see if hypnosis can help you overcome your fear.  You can book your session on-line by clicking here.