4 Myths About Fear of Flying Debunked


Folks who are nervous or fearful flyers can sometimes have misconceptions about the strategies and actions that can affect their inflight experience.

Using a Mobile Is Dangerous

Passengers are asked to switch off all electronic during takeoffs and landings to avoid potentially interfering with electronic communications during these key manoevres – it’s even been suggested an aircraft’s operating system could be hacked and controlled by a mobile phone. However, current inflight systems are so sophisticated that they are unaffected by mobile phones; this rule dates from the time when mobiles still had covers.

Alcohol Relaxes & Alleviates Stress

There are a number of studies that indicate that to the contrary, it can actually increase nervousness. Among other things, alcohol raises blood pressure, which in turn makes its absorption faster, causing it to affect drinkers more quickly.

Turbulence Is Dangerous

Anxious flyers may become even more anxious when it gets a little bumpy up there and the “Fasten seatbelts” sign lights up. Some may thingk, “OMG are we about to go down?” But air turbulence caused by weather phenomena including clouds, air currents, and storms couldn’t be more common, and aircraft are designed to withstand even severe meteorological conditions and hazards such as windshear (a sudden change in speed and/or direction of wind) . Therefore some degree of turbulence is routine in any flight, although to what degree depends to some extent on the destination/air corridor and also on the time of day. First thing in the morning, currents are gentler, so turbulence is likely to be less. It’s also more likely on short-haul flights, since these fly at lower altitudes. For more about turbulence, click here and here.

If Any System Fails, There’s No ‘Plan B’

The nervous flier often obsesses about “what could go wrong” in the systems controlling his or her flight, or if there is some kind of technical error.  But most of an aircraft’s essential systems are duplicated – sometimes triplicated – so that any chance of multiple failure becomes vanishingly small. This is known as redundancy, and the systems most often made redundant are the engines, fly by wire controls (cockpit electronics), and hydraulic actuators (used in landing gear, wing flaps, and wheel brakes).

As 20th-century U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt once famously AND wisely said. “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – a sentiment that’s especially apt when it comes to flying, which is one of the safest forms of transportation invented by human beings. So go ahead and reserve a flight now!

Photo| skyNext