Fear of Flying in an Airplane (Aerophobia): Symptoms, Characteristics, Treatment

Fear of flying in an airplane (airplane) or another flying vehicle, such as a helicopter, while in flight. It is also known as flying phobia, flying phobia, aviophobia, or aerophobia (although the latter also means fear of drafts or the outdoors).


  • People with a fear of flying experience intense and persistent fear or anxiety when considering flying and during flight.
  • They will avoid flying if they can, and fear, anxiety, and avoidance cause significant distress and impair their ability to function.
  • Takeoff, lousy weather, and turbulence seem to be the most anxiety-provoking aspects of flying.
  • It is very typical for people also to have symptoms such as irrational panic and vomiting simply by imagining the plane in the air.
  • About 60% of people with a fear of flying report having other anxiety disorders.

It causes

  • The causes of flight phobia and its maintained mechanisms were not well understood as of 2016.
  • It is not clear if it is a condition; it appears heterogeneous.


  • It is often difficult to determine whether specific fear of flying phobia should be the primary diagnosis or whether fear of flying is a symptom of a generalized anxiety disorder or another anxiety disorder such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia.

You can also read Fear of Work: Origin, Characteristics, Consequences, Treatments.


  • Acute anxiety caused by a flying can be treated with anxiolytics. The condition can be treated with exposure therapy, which works best when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy. [
  • The fear of flying was first discussed in biomedical literature by a doctor in the UK at the end of World War I, who called it ‘aeroneurosis’ and described pilots and crew members who were or were eager to fly.
  • It wasn’t discussed much until the 1950s and the rise of commercial air travel and fad in psychoanalysis.
  • In the 1970s, the fear of flying was addressed through behavioral and cognitive approaches.

Additional Information

  • Studies of interventions such as CBT have reported anxiety reduction rates of around 80%; however, there is little evidence that any treatment can eliminate the fear of flying.
  • Prevalence estimates ranged from 2.5% to 40%; Estimates at the lower end are likely generated through studies in which a professional diagnosed the condition. The upper end probably includes people who have diagnosed themselves.


  • Acute anxiety caused by flying can be treated with anxiolytics.
  • The condition can be treated with exposure therapy, including virtual reality equipment, which works best when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Relaxation techniques and aviation safety education can also be helpful with other approaches.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.