Fear of Flying

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This topic contains 59 replies, has 37 voices, and was last updated by  BigDog. 11 Aug 2014
at 14:37

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  • Anonymous


    There have been quite a few posts recently about safety in flight and various airlines.

    I’ve often felt there is some primordial fear in all of us who it come to taking flight and I’m wondering what it is, if anything, that worries or frightens us when in the air. I’m not talking here about security delays, bad service, poor announcements etc, but that deep rooted fear that I’m sure has worried most of us at some time or the other.

    In my case it’s turbulence, taking off at night when there are thunderstorms all around (JNB in summer springs to mind here) and my perpetual fear, even though I know it won’t happen, of the wings falling off!

    Anyone else like to share their fears?


    I have no problem with turbulence over a sea or countryside but for some reason it terrifies me when I am flying over built-up areas. For me, an approach to LCY during windy conditions is hellish.


    I have no formal training but I work on the other side i.e. reassuring passengers of safety. Common comments I hear are along the lines of:

    “this thing can actually cross this atlantic”

    “where is the inflight refueling rod”

    “is it safe”

    ….everyone is different and different “fears” always appear.

    The best solution appears to be a reassuring pilot who takes 5 -10 minutes explaining things to a nervous passenger and in some cases invites people onto the jump seat for landing/take (still possible in some private charter flights).

    I know the jump seat is off limits 100% of the time in Europe and the US, which is a shame, but nervous passengers should never be afraid to ask crew questions. In the cruise, when travelling on the airlines, I still see an occasinal pilot doing a walk around and chatting.

    Happy to try to assist anything specific.


    Hi, I do have issues with turbulence and can hardly eat or sleep when this is happening. From time to time, I also think about the technical and mechanical workmanship… will it work? But a good flight for me, is a flight with no turbulence. Save journey everybody.


    I am not frightened of flying, I am frightened of crashing. Used to have major problems so Inlearned to fly. My rational side finds 50 miles from airfield on take off or landing the worst as it is statistically the most dangerous. I do however get the odd panic attack on long oceanic flights at high altitude in small planes. I really hate the LAX – hawaii flights with old 757’s. Half way you are further from land than anywhere else on planet. Mind you if the plane breaks up or lands at 300 mph doesn’t realy matter if land or sea. Just irrational fear. Cannot tell you why but I feel safer on bigger 4 engined planes and safer on Boeing than Airbus. I know this is irrational but it is my feeling.


    BA as well as other airlines run their own fear of flying course xx



    I used to be intimidated by turbulence and then a pilot I know helpfully pointed out that the plane could take greater force than a human being – so, in his words “by the time the plane is in trouble you’ll be dead twice over”. I think I was reassured by that.

    There are certain airlines I would avoid but that is because of an objectively poor safety record and a justifiably poor reputation rather than any fear of flying per se. Flying is indeed dangerous if the airline has a cavalier attitude towards safety.

    Apologies if off topic but has anyone done the BA Flight Safety Awareness course? It was advertised in last month’s High Life and I’m thinking of going to one.


    Here is the link to the testimonials from previous students x



    Fortunately there’s also a choice of courses for anyone who isn’t in the immediate vicinity of LHR.


    I believe the alternative is rather better with a higher success rate.


    It is odd i find light chop sends me to sleep. Obviously heavy chop or CAT drops or windshear are something very different.


    An alternative for those who are the other side of the channel (if any !!!)



    I never used to be afraid of flying but ever since I was on a turboprop that lost an engine on takeoff I am now a little nervous until I hear the engine note reduce from take off power and we settle into the climb. Nothing a G&T in the lounge before boarding won’t sort out though!


    I am not afraid of flying, but definitely do not like turbulences,flying during storms/monsoon rains or landings when windy.

    I know that AF has an excellent anti stress training, and the assistance to those passengers on board is an example.


    I used to volunteer on the fear of flying courses, and of course be in uniform, what an eye opener those courses were! There was normally around 90 people on each course, they would spend the morning having a talk by some BA pilots, how an aircraft manages to fly etc, then people would ask questions, which was usually about crashing! After lunch there was a pychologist who would talk about fear, anxiety etc, then everyone would practice breathing techniques. The end of the day was the exciting bit, a short flight on the 737! Special dispensation was given for people to visit the flight deck, (whether this still happens I’m unsure). Usually around 4-5 people wouldnt board the aircraft, and it was quite usual to push back, then have to go back on stand several times as people panicked and some would disembark. A pilot would talk constantly about all the noises that could be heard, what the flaps were doing etc. On take off people would scream and cry, but once in the air, most people were elated that they had actually done it, getting up and moving around, going in to the toilet and locking the door. After the flight, I would get hugged many times, not being able to fly really affected people’s marriages, and careers, and I spoke to a couple of people who had been in plane crashes, (one very brave gentleman had been on the manchester airtours disaster and had not flown since). It is an amazing course, and is highly recommended to anyone frightened of flying, as it is run by BA pilots, I really enjoyed helping out on it, not being able to fly can cripple people’s lives.

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