5 Ways Fear of Flying Can Influence Travel Planning


When planning trips, those who are nervous or fearful flyers can find themselves affected by their phobia in a variety of ways, so examining how and why this happens is a good first step toward addressing and overcoming that fear. Here are five of the most common:

Influence on the Choice of Destination

Aerophobes may avoid destinations which require long flights or connections to get to, opting for places that are closer – and especially if they´re reachable by other means of transportation such as rail or driving. Needless to say, doing this limits travel options and affects the variety of experiences a person can enjoy.

Route Planning and Direct Flights

If they absolutely must get on a plane, many fearful flyers will opt for direct rather than connecting flights, even if this means paying a little more. The perceived safety of a direct flight often outweighs any inconvenience or additional cost incurred. And of course, such a course of action can also affect flexibility in itinerary planning.

Anticipation and Coping Strategies

Anxious flyers will quite often work themselves up in the run-up to a flight creating more stress for themselves. So they may resort to coping strategies such as choosing flights at certain times of the day; preferring specific seats; and using relaxation techniques during travel.

Impact on Career

In the workplace, the fear of flying can influence decisions related to job opportunities which require plane travel. Some people may turn down valuable career opportunities simply because they involve flying. If this is you, needless to say that this can have a negative long-term impact on your career and professional advancement.

Effects on Personal Life

Relating back to my first point – about choosing destinations based on how long the flight would be, or whether there are transportation options which doesn´t involve flying – can greatly limit the destinations they allow themselves. And by extension, this has the effect of limiting long-distance options of places to move to, as well, whether for personal or job-related reasons. It´s also worth noting that this self-limitation can also have effects on relationships with significant others who do not suffer aerophobia, as a potential source of tension.


The key to expanding options and enjoying richer experiences lies in addressing and overcoming this fear of flying. And if you´re a fearful flyer I would encourage you to look into effective therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, graded exposure, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These can truly help change your negative perceptions associated with flying, and result in enriching your life immensely.

Happy – and fearless – flying!

David Lanzas is a psychologist specialising in anxiety and trauma, and founder of the Lanzas Institute.