Photo: Getty Images
Are you aerophobic?
Ever taken the bus? Taken an Uber? The train? How about a Bixi bike, or one of those new city scooters? If you’re anxious about air travel, and suffer from aerophobia, which is a purely emotional reaction, FlightHub and JustFly have some eye-opening, put-your-mind-at-ease stats for you. It’s a rational approach to conquering your fears.
FlightHub and JustFly’s advice on why you shouldn’t worry too much about flying.
- There are 5 million driving accidents per year vs. 20 flying accidents.
- A sold-out 727 jet would have to crash every day of the week, with no survivors, to equal the highway deaths per year in the USA.
- You’re more likely to get killed by a meteorite (1 in 700,000) or to drown in your bathtub (1 in 840,000), than to suffer a flight-related injury.
- Flying from coast-to-coast is 10x safer than making the trip by train.
- If you flew every day of your life, do you know how long it would take before you would encounter a fatality? 19,000 years!
- When you fly, you have a 000014% chance of dying compared to a 1 in 88,000 chance whenever you hop on a bike, or a 1 in 600 chance if you smoke.
If you’re still concerned about flying, consider the following numbers.
As far as causes of death go, the Bureau of Statistics and the (US) National Safety Board indicate that for every 100 deaths on a commercial flight, there are 850 fatalities from electrical current, 5,000 by fire, 8,000 pedestrian fatalities, and 12,000 due to falls in your very own home.
Before you bite your nails and breathe into a paper bag, take a second to consider the odds.
Down-to-earth advice about being at 30,000 feet.
Flying is the safest mode of transportation in proportion to the kilometres travelled. Despite that fact, nearly 30% of travellers say they’re anxious about flying. Humans are terrestrial beings, so it’s normal to feel uncomfortable when leaving the ground. Generally, periods of stress are more pronounced during takeoff.
This unpleasant feeling manifests itself in many ways, from simple discomfort to a categorical refusal to board an airplane. It’s then important to know how to recognize the intensity of the feelings, and the factors causing them. Whether it’s your first flight, an unknown destination, or a solo trip, your anxiety may be partly explained by stress factors outside the aircraft.
How to take your mind off takeoff.
There are many things you can do to occupy your mind when you’re settled into your seat and buckled up. Here are some recommendations from FlightHub and JustFly:
- Try lightly massaging your temples, or using an herbal anti-stress spray from a local health food shop.
- Make a calm playlist to tune into your zen. Instrumental music, classical, jazz, or music with lyrics that take you away can also do the trick.
- Play Sudoku, crosswords or word games. A ton of games are available on any mobile device. Just remember to put your phone in airplane mode.
- If you’re of a less digital, more creative mindset, then adult colouring books may work better for you. They’re available in stores or online. Pack one in your carry-on to get you from A to B relatively stress free.
Photo: Getty Images
Remember, the plane is a (really) safe place.
It’s important to be calm in stressful situations. Rational thinking is a good way to achieve this. As we’ve pointed out, air travel is by far the safest type of transportation. While the number of passengers has almost doubled in nearly 25 years, the number of deaths related to air travel is four times lower. We’d also like to remind you that aircraft safety protocols are strict and tested before each and every takeoff.
Air traffic controllers and pilots don’t just wing it.
Air travel safety relies on a combination of many carefully calculated factors. There are more than 100,000 commercial flights every day, and more strict rules and regulations in place than ever before to ensure safety. For example;
Modern flight critical systems protect against lightning strikes and extreme pressure changes.
Air traffic controllers now rely on advanced GPS for more precise aircraft locations in real-time to promote route efficiency and reduce the odds of collision.
Improved crashworthiness on all aircrafts ensure passenger safety and survival; stronger seatbelts, oxygen masks, seat cushions that are also floatation devices, inflatable slides, life rafts, etc.
Stricter pilot protocols call for pilots to receive 10 hours off before they fly, and insist that 8 of those 10 hours be spent sleeping. Pilot training has also been radically augmented with massively improved flight simulation training.
Frequent safety audits and the integration of data-driven insights also play a big part in checking, and double-checking, to ensure overall safety on a consistent basis.
What you can do to prepare for your departure
To better cope with air travel stress, FlightHub and JustFly recommend preparing for your departure by putting yourself in a state of relaxation. Make sure to minimize your external sources of stress by having your suitcase ready the day before departure. Sleep and eat well before leaving.
Wear comfortable clothing that makes you feel at ease. An herbal tea can also help you to stay calm. Finally, pay attention to your breathing and practice cardiac coherence if necessary, which consists of breathing in and out for 5 seconds each.
If you’re experiencing significant anxiety, inform the flight attendants. They’re prepared to answer your questions and provide assistance. In the long term, therapy can also be helpful. Finally, apps like Meditation Made Simple, Headspace or Calm are available to help you put things into perspective.
Once again, FlightHub and JustFly want to remind you to put your mobile device back in airplane mode before takeoff.
Before focusing on the possibility of things going wrong in the air, think of the probabilities instead. You’ll have less worries and more time to relax. The odds are in your favour.