5 things people who aren’t afraid of flying should know about those who are

5 facts about people who are afraid of flying

Some might say it is odd that I chose a career in travel given that I am as afraid of flying as I am of Donald Trump’s comb over and that weird cheese that comes in a can. 

But it’s not actually flying that terrifies me, it’s crashing. Something I think is reasonable given there’s no bigger downer on a holiday than dying horribly in a flaming ball of twisted steel. Add chronic claustrophobia to the equation and for me flying is right up there with skinning myself and frolicking in a salt mine.

Before you start to judge me for my neuroses, I’d like to point out that I’m in pretty darn salubrious company. It is estimated that around 25 per cent of people suffer from a fear of flying to varying degrees, and you may find it surprising that there are a staggeringly high number of professional travel writers, clocking up hundreds of thousands of air miles every year while being card carrying aviaphobes. And there are, and have been, stacks of celebrity aeronautical scaredy cats too, including Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Elvis and Muhammad Ali.

Jeez, even William Shatner is afraid of flying, and he was Captain freakin’ Kirk!

I know that flying is one of the safest modes of transport and that, statistically speaking, I’d have to fly every day for an average of 123,000 years before being in a fatal air crash. But logic isn’t the issue. I mean how logical is the person who tried to convince me that walking over hot coals at one of those motivational boot camps would cure my fear of flying? With hundreds of flights under my belt, I can assure you I’ve yet to board a plane that has burning hot coals in the aisle.

Look, I know that I’m statistically more likely to die of food poisoning but you know what else I know? Reason doesn’t always conquer fear.

Five facts people who are not afraid of flying need to know about people who are. 

1. We’re phobic. Not stupid

People who cite statistics and facts, as condescendingly as possible, only serve to wind up the already jittery aviaphobe further. We’re not uneducated and have usually spent many anxiety-filled hours on Google researching exactly how safe it is.

2. We’re not adverse to a little liquid courage

You may not know that travel insurance doesn’t cover you from the searing death stares you’ll get from anxious flyers who just want you to stop talking to them like they’re morons. Seriously if you’re not offering to shout us a stiff drink in the airport lounge or hurrying the flight attendant along to fetch us a bottle of something alcoholic. Just. Shut. Your. Trap.

3. We’ve heard it all before

If we had a dollar for every time someone told us that we have more chance of dying in a car crash, we’d all own our private jets to panic in.

4. We’re not irrational

As far as phobias go, a fear of flying isn’t really all that irrational. I mean you’re sitting in a flying tube, thousands of feet above the ground, without a net. I just dropped my iPhone from a height of two feet and the frigging thing splintered into a thousand pieces. You do the math.

5. We’re really rather brave

People who board flights with a phobia of flying are actually incredibly brave. My mate Nelson Mandela once said “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

So there.


13 Comments on 5 things people who aren’t afraid of flying should know about those who are

  1. Anna Brophy
    September 20, 2016 at 2:22 pm (8 years ago)

    Well I am feeling quite impressed with myself, now. I am completely rational (on a good day), but still HATE flying. I concur with each damned point!!!! So much advice out there. GGGrrrrrr!!

      October 5, 2016 at 5:23 pm (8 years ago)

      I know they mean well but seriously, phobic doesn’t mean stupid!

  2. Hugzillablog
    September 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm (8 years ago)

    Hahahahhah OMG yes to all of this!! My fear of flying emerged only after I had kids. I guess it was that whole cliched “you have something to live for now” nonsense that messes with your brain. What? Like I had nothing to live for before kids. GAH. The human brain MAKES NO SENSE. But thank you for reassuring me that I am somewhat normal.

      October 5, 2016 at 5:25 pm (8 years ago)

      The brain is weird. I’m actually less scared when the kids are with me. How stupid is that?

  3. Maxabella
    September 20, 2016 at 5:20 pm (8 years ago)

    So there!! Love this. It’s a crack up, but it’s also truuuuuue. I used to be deathly afraid of flying (probably the wrong choice of adjective there). I was the full-blown get-drunk-get-it-over-with, white-knuckle flyer. I don’t know what changed, just something. These days I barely think about it. But one never forgets.

      October 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks Lovely. I doubt my fear will ever go but I’ll just keep on flying in spite of it.

  4. Shari from GoodFoodWeek
    September 22, 2016 at 9:29 am (8 years ago)

    Oh man, I love the feeling of getting on a plane. It’s the excitement of the unknown and the trip you’re about to be on. Although I do know a lot of people who you couldn’t pay to get on a flight.

      October 5, 2016 at 5:23 pm (8 years ago)

      People either love it or hate it! I’m definitely the latter Shari

  5. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    October 6, 2016 at 10:11 am (8 years ago)

    I have so many phobias I don’t tend to judge others. And thankfully I’m not afraid of flying but I do know people (you included) that are and it’s quite normal to be scared of crashing!

  6. Sarah @sarahdipity
    October 8, 2016 at 8:30 pm (8 years ago)

    Ha! Being a fearful flyer I can totally relate to this post! Distraction works best for me, that and putting down the shutter on the window and pretending I’m just on a bus.

  7. Capt Tom Bunn LCSW
    March 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm (7 years ago)

    Fear of Flying Help
    VIDEO goo.gl/oBZJi3
    APP goo.gl/lNVXnq
    BOOK a.co/0n0P5v2

      March 4, 2017 at 12:57 pm (7 years ago)

      I stopped counting when I hit my 500th flight. I don’t need help. Thx anyway.

  8. Rachel Heller
    September 24, 2017 at 10:56 pm (7 years ago)

    I SO agree! I wrote a post with advice for dealing with us fearful flyers: rachelsruminations.com/5-tips-for-helping-a-fearful-flyer/


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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