Aerophobia: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

The  aerofobia  is specific phobia of flying, can cause tachycardia, sweating hands and panic attacks. People who are afraid to get on a plane may feel anxious and apprehensive when they must fly, but many manage to control themselves and get on a plane anyway.

On the contrary, people who suffer from aerophobia directly cannot even approach an airplane. Anxiety causes rapid heartbeat, sweaty hands, and panic attacks .

They just can’t even think of getting on a plane, if they did they would pass out. To overcome this type of phobia it is necessary to follow a therapy with professionals and perhaps take medication, in addition to following the advice in this article.


The main symptoms of aerophobia are:

-Thoughts about possible accidents or misfortunes when taking a flight.

-Sweating when thinking about getting on a plane.

-Tachycardia at the possibility of thinking about taking a flight.

-Anxiety about the possibility of thinking about taking a flight.

-Panic attacks at the possibility of thinking about taking a flight.


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

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

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

Previous negative experiences

People who have had a bad flight, take root that bad experience. Faced with a possible repetition, the symptoms of the 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 you take a flight again, the pain from that time may reappear. With it, the phobia can be activated.

The fear of the unknown

The fact of having to face an unfamiliar situation creates fear of its own. In the particular case of airplanes, there are many myths and misinformation that cause fear in people.

It is scientifically proven, according to probabilistic laws, that it is less likely to suffer an accident in a plane than in a car. However, most people do not know or think about it, which is why 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 of flying.

When flying it is difficult to control anxiety

During a flight, the passenger naturally has a lot of free time and few distractions, unlike what happens when traveling by car.

Those who drive have all their attention focused on what they are doing, and those who travel as a passenger can find distraction looking at the landscape for example.

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

Therefore, it is difficult for them to feel calm inside an airplane, thousands of meters above sea level.


The first thing to do is identify exactly what you feel: do you suffer from fear or phobia? If you are very afraid of flying but can still get on a plane, these tips will help you a lot.

If, on the other hand, 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.

Attend specialized courses

There are very effective courses when it comes to controlling the fear of flying and generally last a few days. A multidisciplinary team made up of psychologists and aviation technicians will explain technical aspects of the flight.

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

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

There are also flight simulators that can be helpful in overcoming the fear of flying. You put on a virtual reality headset and feel like you are on an airplane. The chair will move as if there is turbulence.

In this way, little by little you expose yourself to the stimulus that causes your fear, until you completely overcome it.

Exposure in imagination

The exposure technique is actually based on first exposing yourself to simple situations (such as getting on an airplane without flying) and then exposing yourself to situations that produce more anxiety (for example, first walking a few meters without flying and another day fly).

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

If you can make the exhibition in imagination: imagine the flight situation, from the moment you board, going through sitting on the seat, taking off, flying and landing.

Use relaxation techniques

Yoga, among other relaxation or meditation techniques , is very useful in treating phobias in general. The breathing methods that are worked in these techniques are those that help control anxiety.

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

Traveling accompanied or requesting assistance on the plane

Especially during the first flights, until the phobia is controlled, it is convenient that you travel accompanied. Never submit to taking a very long trip by yourself.

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

If you don’t have the opportunity to travel with someone, don’t be ashamed to discuss your phobia with your companion or flight personnel. Keep in mind that the crew is specialists in these subjects and they have experience.

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

Bring entertainment for the trip

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

Distracting yourself will focus your attention on other things, and put your fears aside.

Consider drug treatment

Never rule out this option, as there are many drugs on the market to control anxiety. Always under medical prescription, carrying a pill to help you sleep or calm down is recommended.

Many people, for the simple fact of knowing that they carry it with them, feel calmer. Some never even get to take it. In any case, the medication should be a short-term remedy and should be given alongside other therapies.

Wear comfortable clothing

If you are going to travel by plane even if it scares you, you should feel as comfortable as possible, to prevent unpleasant sensations from adding up. Therefore, you should wear comfortable and loose clothing, avoiding tight clothing and heels.

It’s 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 bit of anxiety, this improves circulation in the legs avoiding cramps and possible thrombosis.

Book your ticket in advance

This way you can choose the seat. If you are afraid of flying, it is best to choose a seat in 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 at the front the plane moves less with turbulence and thus you will feel calmer.


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