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Fear of flying

Fear of flying is a fear of being on an airplane (aeroplane), or other flying vehicle, such as a helicopter, while in flight. It is also referred to as flying phobiaflight phobiaaviophobia or aerophobia (although the last also means a fear of drafts or of fresh air).

Acute anxiety caused by flying can be treated with anti-anxiety medication. The condition can be treated with exposure therapy, which works better when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy.


Fear of flying is a specific phobia and is classified as such in the DSM-5


People with fear of flying experience intense, persistent fear or anxiety when they consider flying, as well as during flying. They will avoid flying if they can, and the fear, anxiety, and avoidance cause significant distress and impair their ability to function. Take-off, bad weather, and turbulence appear to be the most anxiety provoking aspects of flying. The most extreme manifestations can include panic attacks or vomiting at the mere sight or mention of an aircraft or air travel. Around 60% of people with fear of flying report having some other anxiety disorder.


The causes of flight phobia and the mechanisms by which it is maintained were not well understood as of 2016. It is not clear if it is really one condition; it appears to be heterogenous.


The diagnosis is clinical. It is often difficult to determine if the specific phobia of fear of flight should be the primary diagnosis, or if fear of flying is a symptom of a generalized anxiety disorder or another anxiety disorder such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia.


Acute anxiety caused by flying can be treated with anti-anxiety medication. The condition can be treated with exposure therapy, including flight simulator equipment, which works better when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. Relaxation techniques and education about aviation safety can also be helpful in combination with other approaches. Experience flying a full city-to-city sector flight following real-life airline procedures with take-offs and landings into realistic airports, building up threshold with turbulence, with one of expert educators.


  • 1 hour sit down education
  • 1 hour flight simulator session



Studies of interventions like Education and flight simulators have reported rates of reduction in anxiety, however there is little evidence that any treatment can completely eliminate fear of flying, without repetitive flying or exposure.



  • David

    July 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm Reply

    Massive thank you to Blake and Lewis! I completed this session in preparation for a recent overseas family holiday and felt far more at ease prior to and during the flight. Highly recommend to anyone who has a fear of flying, or would just like to feel more confident when they hop on a plane.

  • Lisa Goncalves

    July 23, 2019 at 3:45 am Reply

    Hi. I have been flying for 25 years but with each flight I take my anxiety of flying gets worse. So much so that I had panic attacks on the last two flights I took. I am meant to be going to Mexico next March but I am thinking of not going as I am so terrified of flying there and back. I am so upset that this fear is preventing me from being able to happily travel. My fear is of the plane crashing and falling from the sky. Even seeing planes in the sky from the ground causes me anxiety. I am desperate to get help to overcome this fear so if you can help people like myself I would love that help. Thank you.

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