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What Are Air Travelers' Biggest Fears?


It's not uncommon to feel a pang of anxiety when you board a plane or when the aircraft takes off. What's causing the anxiety? A new survey offers some answers.

Do you worry about flight delays and cancellations when boarding your airplane? If so, you’re in the majority of air travelers. Eighty-five percent of flyers feel anxious about these potential problems and 72% get nervous as a result of bad weather after take-off, according to Travelmath’s Flight Fears survey of 2,000 air travelers. An online trip calculator, informs you of the cost, distance, and travel time to your destination, in addition to a number of other facts.

Travelmath’s survey reveals that 29% of people don’t have any anxiety about flying. For the rest of us, the survey “proves” that having concerns—not the same thing as going bonkers onboard or refusing to fly—is normal. As a frequent flyer who has been known to grip a seatmate’s hand during heavy turbulence, I am reassured that other passengers also harbor moments of anxiety.

Other than when hurriedly searching for a barf bag, I pointedly push my fears out of my mind once seated and belted in. I give up control to the fates and hope for the best, a process made easier when I am asleep, my in-flight behavior of choice, followed by reading.

Forty-one percent of the survey’s respondents worry about the pilot becoming unable to fly the plane and 39% are concerned about hijackings. Seventy percent of apprehensive women and 54% of apprehensive men distract themselves with reading, music, and movies. Interestingly, 28% of fretting women pray and 15% of upset men drink.

According to Travelmath, “85% of passengers trust the people and processes they interact with during their air travel experience to keep them safe.” But many, apparently, worry anyway.

Who or what is trusted the most by respondents?

• 95% trust flight attendants

• 93% trust airline technologies

• 92% trust the pilot

• 91% trust the evacuation process

• 89% trust the grounds crew

This is good to know. I trust the pilot and the flight attendants. I don’t have much experience with the grounds crew in an emergency. After millions of miles in the air, I am less confident about technologies.

How about you? It’s okay to confess your flying fears. What do you worry about when on an airplane? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips. And check out an infographic from Travelmath below.

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