Millions of people have a flying phobia. This phobia may well prevent sufferers from getting on an aeroplane, disrupting travel plans and stopping them – and their families – enjoying the overseas holiday they would like. Here, Christopher Paul Jones, aka ‘The Breakthrough Expert’, debunks some common myths about flying, from engine failure to turbulence.
Even for people who don’t have a phobia, many of us will admit to being a little nervous when flying. The fact is that the chances of being hurt when flying are one in 11 million. Flying is actually the safest way to travel! If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some facts to debunk those myths:
Flying is dangerous
Hands up who thinks that flying is dangerous?
Even those of us who don’t have a phobia will probably raise our hands for this one. But when you are told, as above, that the odds of you actually being involved in an accident when flying are so slim, it might make you question why you are even scared in the first place.
However, phobias are not based on logic, and that is why they are irrational. Irrational and illogical they may well be, but for some of us, they feel very real indeed.
It does happen to somebody
Of course it does, things happen, but – and here is the big BUT – if you are going to use this junk logic, you would need to worry about driving 220 times more than you would flying and five times more about sleeping.
If an aeroplane crashes, it’s over
Here’s a fact for you: you have a 95.7% chance of walking away from a plane crash.
This changes the conversation that so many of us have had with friends, where we suggest that driving is so much safer because you can walk away from a car crash.
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The airline companies aren’t affected if we crash
Actually, the plane you are flying in alone is worth around £100 million and the compensation that an airline company would need to pay out to survivors, or the families of lost loved ones, would also cost millions. No company worth their salt would want an accident to happen as it could mean them going bust.
If an engine fails, the plane will fall from the sky
A plane is simply a big glider and planes can be flown and landed without an engine. So, even if your worst nightmare does happen and the engine fails, you can relax, safe in the knowledge that your pilot will have gone through rigorous training to land this big glider.
Turbulence is dangerous
Contrary to what you may think, turbulence does not increase the odds of an aircraft accident. For most of us, turbulence is just annoying, but for some people it can bring on a real fear that the plane could be brought down. Actually, the worst you can expect from a bout of turbulence is spilling your in-flight glass of wine.
Lightning can bring down a plane
No modern plane has been brought down by lightning and modern planes are designed to withstand a lightning strike. So, all you need to do if lightning does strike while you are flying is sit back and enjoy the view. It can be pretty spectacular seeing things from that height.
The wing of the plane might fall off
Highly unlikely, actually. Wings are stress tested before a plane is even allowed to ever take flight.
Boeing conducted a ‘wing flex test’ that had the wings of a Boeing 787 flexed upwards by approximately 25 feet. This proved that the wings of a plane can handle even the most extreme forces.
Worrying keeps me in control
You cannot control everything and trying to do so creates stress and OCD, which will only makes things worse. The best thing that you can do is to seek help for your phobia.
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Plane crashes happen a lot because I keep seeing it on the news
You see them on the news because they are so rare, that when they do happen, they make the front page. There are 100,000 flights per day, in comparison to how many actual crashes you hear about.
If enough people tell you flying is safe, you will stop being afraid of it
The part of your mind that deals with fear, is not the same part that deals with logic. A phobia is an irrational fear, and that can make it all the more frustrating for the person who is experiencing it because, on a logical level, they know that their fear may not have any substance behind it. This is based on emotion rather than logic – yet the human brain still does its best to rationalise everything and make sense of it.
Unfortunately, emotions aren’t always logical, so a fear of flying is often not changed by information alone. You may also need to tap into the part of yourself that creates negative emotions: the subconscious mind. This is where talking to a skilled phobia specialist can help.
Stop being the one who misses out on overseas travel. Life is short and there is a wonderful world out there waiting!
Christopher Paul Jones is a therapist who specialises in helping people let go of their fears, anxieties and even their phobias. From a fear of public speaking to anxieties around work, Christopher has helped hundreds of people ‘let go’ and get their lives back. For more information, visit christopherpauljones.net.