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Updated on July 23, 2013


"Planes and boats and planes", as the old song told us, encapsulated the dreams of travel and exploration of the world held by most people. In the 20th Century rapid progress in means of travel put the opportunity to explore within the reach of more than ever before and now into the 21st Century the possibilities continue to increase with even travel to space on the horizon.

The development of the jet engine and subsequent integration into commercial flying machines has been one of the most significant developments of the past 100 years or so. Nowadays, most of us think nothing of hopping on to a plane and jetting off to all types of exotic locations to say nothing of daily use for business purposes.

However, for some, the fear of flying drops an insurmountable iron curtain to prevent them taking the opportunities, so eagerly snapped up by others. The fear of flying is ,for some, a real and ever present barrier which they cannot overcome. In earlier Hubs I have described how, after a crash landing in Montreal in 1968, I had to fight a personal battle and force myself on to planes to avoid losing the benefits they clearly offered to me.

Some people however, cannot win their own personal battles and their fear of flying is never overcome causing distress to the sufferer and placing restrictions on those close to him or her.


Fear of flying is an emotional problem that does not respond easily to being contradicted by known facts. Even so, the facts are worthy of note and may help at least a little.. Today, the chances of being involved in an air crash are calculated as 11 MILLION TO 1. SOME ODDS !

Even knowing the above is scant comfort to most fearful flyers. Neither is the fact that the chances of injury or death are far greater if travel is by car or even bicycle. Taking away forms of transport and relying on walking and crossing roads or maybe going for a leisurely swim crank up many more opportunities for personal disaster then flying at 36,000 feet above the Earth.

The term for those who fear flying is AVIOPHOBICS and as one of those who suffered for over 20 years, I can confirm that knowing the odds made not a scap of difference to me. I would sit in fear, with perspiration dripping from my palma on take off. So illogical when you recall my crash was on landing, but as I say, logic is not a factor in fear of flying.


These days there are various ways offered to the sufferer to assist them in overcoming their fear. Not all work for everyone for sure, but that is no reason to dismiss them.

Hypnotherapy is often put forward as the best option, but again it will not work for all. Familiarisation courses are offered by some airlines as a way of providing the sufferer with a more relaxed enviroment before actually flying. Clearly, as we all have instinctive fear of the unknown, this type of familiarisation can only be positive to some extent, though again it will not work for all.

Familiarisation relates not only to being aware of the cabin but also to changes in engine sounds, wing movements and landing gear operation etc as well as knowing how turbulence feels together with the fact that is is not an abnormal activity.


Outside help is very useful but what the individual does is vital to eventually overcoming the fears. In my experiece there is no "quick fix" and I found that the more I flew the easier it got to keep hold of myself and my fears.

Allied to the above, certain techniques or practices became part of my preparation for flying. None of these were especially mind blowing but basically introduced common sense into a scenario where previous events had removed it. I list below things that helped me :

1. Focussing on the benefits. Most flights I took after my crash were for holiday purposes, so I would concentrate my thinking on what was at the end of the trip rather than the trip itself. That way I was seeking to avoid thinking of things that might possibly go wrong by seeking to think of all the good things waiting for me later and seeking to relax into them.

2. Concentate on Breathing.At the time I was a sufferer, I also had Asthma and had been taught to breathe properly in Hospital. I found that concentrating on the breathing excercises I had been given aided a relaxation generally. Avoiding quick shallow breaths and instead concentrating on slow deep breathing, {In through the nose and out through the mouth is the key}.

3. Control the Imagination. Imagination is a powerful thing but needs to be controlled lest it runs away with you. On a plane this will inevitably introduce aspects of disaster and generate real fear. My way of control was to talk almost incessently to my wife and get her to talk back to focus my mind away from the reality of the situation at the time.

I think this arose because after my crash in Montreal, Air Canada shipped me back to London on a flight where I was paced at the rear of the plane with an Air Hostess either side of me who between them talked me over the Atlantic Ocean and down safely to Heathrow. Without that experience just hours after the crash, I doubt I would have ever flown again.

4.Avoid Avoidable Stresses.

Planning the journey makes sense. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail is often said and taking care to avoid stress prior to flying is well worth the effort. Again it is not rocket science. Make sure you have plenty of time to get to the Airport and check in etc. Do not spend too long in Bar or Lounge but make sure you arrive at the Gate in good time. It goes almost without saying not to drink too much alcohol before or on the flight. In this aspect also take into account any prescribed relaxant drugs tou may have taken.

5. Be positive in thoughts and words.

Earlier, I referred to the way in which imagination can be controlled by talking to your partner etc. It is important when so doing that both parties focus on positive aspects unrelated to the flying experience. If you can develop a strong conversation on a topic totally removed from the situation this can be of tremendous benefit in producing a relaxed position. Some, on some airlines prefer to immerse themselves in the on board entertainment problem whilst others turn to Tablets or Suduko type puzzles to retain detachment and positivety.






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    • profile imageAUTHOR

      j w adams 

      5 years ago from Essex/ Alanya/ Hurghada

      Exactly my own view. If a visual image enhaces the substance of the prose then by all means use it but if not it is just redundant. I like to think my readers have gone beyond the "Janet and John " reading stage to be honest.

    • Abecedarian profile image


      5 years ago from These United States, Texas

      Wow. Very interesting way of putting it. Many years ago, when I took my first flight, I almost ran out of the plane, but calmed myself and said what the heck. Glad I did, I love flying everywhere when possible. Actually flew into NY the day they found the bomb in that car, if I have to go, it's gonna be on my own terms--doing what I like.

      I think this hub is good, I like pictures when it's about something that needs visuals, but a plane falling out of the sky does not make for an interesting hub, the content does..bravo.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      j w adams 

      5 years ago from Essex/ Alanya/ Hurghada

      Have to tell you I have no interest in earning from my Hubs at all but maybe those who do would benefit from your observations.

    • ameliam.michelle1 profile image

      Ameliam Michelle 

      5 years ago from London, England

      Quite a good point adams, Most of the highest earning hubbers have multiple ad capsules. Hope your suggestion is taken into due consideration.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      j w adams 

      5 years ago from Essex/ Alanya/ Hurghada

      MAYBE I ONLY WANT TO INTEREST EYE BALLS THAT PUT SUSTANCE BEFORE DESIGN ? Put another way, eyeballs interest me far less than intellect. Maybe it is time that Hub pages thought on those lines as well.

    • ameliam.michelle1 profile image

      Ameliam Michelle 

      5 years ago from London, England

      Hmmmmmmmm, clever comparison, I must admit jw adams, It is not about style, but with that your hub will look more attractive and will grab more eyeballs.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      j w adams 

      5 years ago from Essex/ Alanya/ Hurghada

      Not my style I am afraid. The prose either works or not. I suppose the works of Shakespeare would look quite " dull and bland " to some

    • ameliam.michelle1 profile image

      Ameliam Michelle 

      5 years ago from London, England

      J W Adams, the hub was quite informative, but I am little disappointed by the organization. No pictures, it was looking so dull and bland. May be, you should try incorporating some relevant pictures, videos and amazon capsules so that your hub is not only informative but alluring as well. But, loved your hub


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