Medical Q&As

Fear of flying - help?

I have a fear of flying. What can I do about it?

Fear of flying is extremely common and has been estimated to affect one in ten people. The fear can be experienced in many forms. Some people experience a form of claustrophobia and are very apprehensive at the prospect of being enclosed in the confined space of the aircraft. Some might be fearful of mechanical damage to the plane from turbulence while others might be fearful and embarrassed about having to visit the toilet in flight. Interestingly, less than half of those who are fearful of flying are actually afraid that the plane might crash. Sometimes fear of flying may simply be a further symptom of a chronic anxiety state. We have already posted a comprehensive article on the subject of fear of flying, which you can access at: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=3283. You might also find it helpful to visit a UK site devoted to the subject. It can be accessed at: http://www.airfraid.com/. Gill and Macmillan have also published a book on this subject in recent years entitled “Conquering Your Fear of Flying” written by psychologist Dr Maeve Byrne-Crangle. Aer Lingus used to run a “fearless flying” programme at Dublin airport but I understand that the programme has been discontinued.