Are you a fearful flyer? Does your heart race or your palms sweat at the mere thought of getting in a large metal tube that weighs as much as 395,000 lbs. at takeoff, is 159 feet long (more than half the length of a football field), and somehow manages to stay in the air 35,000 feet above the earth’s surface? If so, you have plenty of company. If you have doubts about that, next time you are in an airport observe the number of people in bars and lounges, even early in the morning, who need a little “liquid courage.”

Surveys conducted by Boeing and USA Today since 9/11 indicate that one out of every six travelers is highly fearful of air travel, and millions more experience some degree of anxiety. Even frequent flyers commonly experience increased heart rate, nausea, heavy sweating, shortness of breath and panicky or uncontrolled thoughts. With today’s heightened security procedures, tightly packed planes and an increasing number of flight delays, the logistics of air travel itself are becoming ever more stressful. Add aerophobia or fear of flying to the mix and air travel can be an absolute nightmare.
Fear of flying seriously impacts those who struggle with it. It not only sabotages family vacations, school trips, family and class reunions, holiday trips and honeymoons, it cripples or interferes with the careers of millions of Americans. There are countless numbers of people who have been forced to pass up promotions or miss out-of-town meetings, conferences, training sessions or sales presentations because of their terror of flying. You may be one of them.

There is a cost to employers as well in terms of decreased productivity and strained working relationships. According to Jim Abelson, director of the Anxiety Disorders Program at the University of Michigan, “The cost to employers is substantial. Many employers don’t know the price they are paying because the cost is hidden.” Some of the costs are not so hidden. Consider the case of John Madden, former commentator on Monday Night Football, who traveled to games in a plush $800,000 private bus because he could never conquer his fear of flying.
Aerophobia is miserable and easily triggered. Even the sight of an airport, the smell of the plane, the closeness of seatmates, or a child’s loud screaming can send someone over the edge. It is a complex fear involving many different aspects. While each person’s fear is unique, some of the most common components are fear of being out of control, fear of falling, claustrophobia, fear of heights, fear of being trapped, and fear of the plane breaking apart in turbulence.

There are numerous classes and programs offered by airlines, psychologists and even retired pilots to address aerophobia. Although these can be quite effective, they also tend to be time consuming and expensive. Most of these programs offer various relaxation techniques and concentrate on safety statistics and demonstrations of why the plane stays in the air. While relaxation strategies and knowledge of aerodynamics are certainly helpful, they do not does not address the fear itself which lies in the subconscious mind where it is fueled by the underlying belief that air travel is dangerous and unsafe.

Because our subconscious mind controls 95% of our decisions, our lives are literally determined by what we unconsciously believe. Negative associations formed around disastrous events and frightening experiences often result in emotional “short circuits.” These can transform into beliefs in the subconscious mind that can influence our behavior for years or even a lifetime. The belief that air travel is unsafe can develop for any number of reasons. It can result from a frightening on board experience, an incident that is heard or read about, the personal experience of a relative or friend, or even a scary movie about an in-flight crisis. This belief is further reinforced by the news media that are quick to dwell on the nuances of every air disaster, near miss and air traffic control incident around the world. However, considering the hundreds of thousands of flights that operate without incident day after day, the reality is that the actual number of airline accidents is so small it is nearly insignificant. Statistically the chances of being in a plane crash are approximately one in eleven million. That means there is a far greater chance of dying from a traffic accident on the way to the airport or from eating airport food than in a plane crash.

Fear of flying can easily be eliminated and is not something anyone has to live with. Various therapies such as Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, PSYCH-K® and Emotional Freedom technique (EFT) are all highly effective ways to neutralize and release this fear at the subconscious level. While many of these require the assistance of a practitioner or therapist, EFT is something everyone can learn to use for themselves. EFT involves tapping the fingertips on key acupuncture points on the head and upper body. Tapping increases the flow of electricity, instantly attuning the body and mind to a unique state of receptivity and relaxation. Repeating a carefully chosen pattern of words and phrases while tapping reaches the subconscious on a deep level where fears can be eliminated and beliefs changed. EFT is easy to learn and can be used any time, anywhere, not just for fear of flying, but for any emotionally based problem. The effects are long lasting and usually permanent.

If you have been avoiding air travel because of your fear, take a step toward freedom today. Whether you learn to use EFT or seek out other therapies, you can open the door to a whole new world. No longer will you have to turn down promotions or job assignments and avoid vacations to distant places because they are beyond driving distance.

Author's Bio: 

Judith Albright, MA, EFT-ADV is an Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner and PSYCH-K® facilitator in Ft. Collins, CO who helps people neutralize stress and release emotional issues that are limiting their lives. She is also a veteran air traveler who spent more than 35 years in the travel industry. She regularly schedules fearless flying workshops for groups. For more information visit or call 970 218-8643.