Did you know that 6.5% of Americans are afraid of flying in an airplane?  I wrote a feature for Quartz Ideas on aviophobia and rediscovering the joy of flying – or at least, curing the anxiety of it.  I got to talk to Boeing engineers who are changing airplane design to accommodate anxious fliers; to psychologists who treat aviophobia; and to passengers who have overcome their anxiety to become, if not comfortable, at least able to endure a flight.  The feature was fun to write & I was so happy to see it posted today: Check it out on!

A quote from the story is below:


Armed with binders full of diagrams and explanations, they tour air traffic control towers and maintenance facilities to see the complex ground systems that support flight. Some of the most common anxiety triggers for fearful fliers are crowds, enclosed spaces, and anticipation of motion sickness. So a psychologist teaches visualization, breathing, and body relaxation techniques to cope with those situations. A meteorologist explains why lightning strikes won’t harm an airplane. Pilots demonstrate the redundancies built into mechanical systems. Sanders particularly responded to understanding the science behind flying: “You’re arming yourself with knowledge,” he says.

Read the full story on!

Are you afraid of flying? Do you know anyone who is?  Have you overcome aviophobia or another phobia through exposure therapy?  Leave a comment and tell your story!

Photos by Chris Harrison & Prayitno via Flickr Creative Commons.

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