Aerophobia: What It Is and How to Overcome It in 8 Steps

The aerophobia is specific phobia of flying, can produce results in tachycardia, sweating hands and panic attacks.

But if you want to visit friends or family and you have to fly or you just want to overcome this fear to visit distant countries on your vacation, there is good news for you: the aerophobia can be overcome.


Follow the tips at the end of this article and you will be able to board an airplane without exaggerated fears like the ones you feel today.

Differences between aerophobia and the fear of flying

There is actually a difference between the actual aerophobia and the simple fact of being afraid to fly.

People who are afraid to get on a plane may feel anxious and apprehensive when they should fly, but many manage to get on board and get on a plane anyway, even if they do not have a good time.

On the contrary, people who suffer from aerophobia directly cannot even approach an airplane. Anxiety causes tachycardia, sweating of the hands and panic attacks.

They simply cannot even think of getting on a plane, if they did, they would faint. To overcome this type of phobia you need to follow a therapy with professionals and perhaps take medication, in addition to following the advice in this article.

Why do some people panic to fly?

According to statistics released by aviation institutions, one in four people is afraid to travel on an airplane.

Also Read: Scenic Panic: 7 Tips to Overcome It Definitely

As mentioned before, there are different intensities in this fear of flying. There are those within a few minutes of taking off and feel better, while others suffer uncontrollable panic attacks.

The causes that cause the phobia to fly can be many, but practically all are of psychological origin:

  • Previous negative experiences: People, who have had a bad flight, rooted that bad experience. Faced with a possible repetition, the symptoms of phobia are activated.

Maybe the flight was not really bad, but it is associated with a negative fact. For example, a person who took a flight to attend a funeral. When I return to take a flight, the pain of that occasion may reappear. With it, the phobia can be activated.

  • Fear of the unknown: e l having to face an unfamiliar situation creates fear itself. In the particular case of airplanes, there are many myths and misinformation that causes fear in people.

It is scientifically proven, according to probabilistic laws, that it is less likely to suffer an accident by plane than by car. However, most people do not know or do not think about it, and so flying is very scary.

  • Personal Situations: People who suffer from depression or panic attacks may be more vulnerable in certain situations. These basic problems plus a share of fear can trigger the phobia to fly.
  • When flying is difficult to control anxiety: during a flight, the passenger naturally has a lot of free and few distractions, time unlike what happens when traveling by car.

Those who drive have their full attention focused on what they are doing, and who travels as a companion can find distraction by looking at the landscape for example.

On board an airplane it can be difficult to control anxiety. Many people suffering from aerophobia also have claustrophobia and acrophobia, that is, fear of closed spaces and heights.

Therefore, they find it difficult to feel calm inside a plane, thousands of meters high.

8 ways to overcome aerophobia

The first thing to do is to identify exactly what it feels like: Are you afraid or phobic? If you are very afraid to fly but still can get on a plane, these tips will help you a lot.

If on the contrary you have never been able to fly and when you have tried, you have had panic attacks, then in addition to putting these techniques into practice you should seek professional help.

1-attending specialized courses

There are very effective courses in controlling the fear of flying and usually last a few days.

A multidisciplinary team of psychologists and aviation technicians will explain technical aspects of the flight.

In this way they try to give you information for reasons about what it means to fly and to understand why it is safer than traveling by car for example.

When aerophobia is added or linked to claustrophobia or fear of heights, techniques to manage these fears are also included.


There are also flight simulators that can be useful to overcome the fear of flying. You put on a virtual reality helmet and you feel like you’re on a plane. The chair will move as if there were turbulences.

In this way, you gradually expose yourself to the stimulus that triggers your fear, until you completely overcome it.

2-Exposure in imagination

The technique of exposure is really that you expose yourself first to simple situations (like riding a plane without flying) and then exposing yourself to situations that cause you more anxiety (for example, first walk a few meters without flying and another Day fly).

However, in the specific phobia of flying, the actual exposure is complicated, since it is difficult for you to have an airplane at your disposal (unless you find a course in which you apply such therapy).

If you can make the exhibition in imagination: imagine the flight situation, from boarding, to sitting on the seat, take off, fly and land.

3-Use relaxation techniques

Yoga, among other techniques of relaxation or meditation, is very useful in the treatment of phobias in general.

The breathing methods used in these techniques are those that help control anxiety.

In addition to this, they decrease the feeling of dizziness that many people experience during the flight. These are all natural as a result of the difference in atmospheric pressure.

4-Travel accompanied or requested assistance in the airplane

Especially during the first flights, until the phobia is controlled, it is advisable to travel accompanied. Never take a long trip on your own.

Although it may seem like a challenge, aerophobia, like other phobias, should be treated gradually. Even the best thing would be to start with a short trip.

If you do not have the opportunity to travel with someone, do not be ashamed to talk about your phobia with your companion or with the flight crew. Keep in mind that the crew is specialist on these topics and have experience.

Sometimes it helps a lot to open up and try to establish contact with your companion. Maybe share your phobia or help calm art in some way, even if it’s chatting.

5-Bring entertainment for the trip

This is something that is not only recommended for children or adolescents. Carrying books or electronic devices is an excellent idea to pass the time.

Distracted will cause your attention to focus on other things, and leave your fears aside.

6-Consider pharmacological treatment

Never discard this option, because there are many drugs on the market to control anxiety.

Always under the medical prescription, taking a pill that helps you sleep or reassure you is advisable.

Many people, by the simple fact of knowing that they carry it with them, feel calmer. Some even never get to take it.

Anyway, medication should be a short-term remedy and be given along with other therapies.

7-Wears comfortable clothing

If you are going to travel by plane even if you are afraid, you should feel as comfortable as possible, to prevent unpleasant feelings from joining.

Therefore, you should wear comfortable and loose clothing, avoiding tight clothing and heels.

It is also a good idea to move your legs from time to time and take a short walk instead of sitting all the time.

In addition to releasing a little anxiety, this improves circulation in the legs avoiding cramps and possible thrombosis.

8-Book your ticket with time

This way you can choose the seat. If you’re afraid of flying, you’d better choose a seat over the aisle, near an emergency exit, as this generally helps to have a greater sense of control.

Choose your seat as far forward as possible, because in the front the plane moves less with the turbulence and you will feel calmer.


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