Fueling the fear of flying

There has been a lot of attention on air travel in recent months. First it was the Malaysia airlines plane that disappeared, and still hasn’t been found.

Then, another Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down over eastern Ukraine, and Thursday, another passenger plane disappeared overseas; this time in North Africa. Officials say it “probably crashed.”

Does a rash of issues like this cause a fear of flying? We’re finding out how people’s psyche can be impacted by things like this.

Three planes, three tragedies, just months apart: It’s enough to rattle anyone’s nerves.

“It’s probably the largest contributing factor to a fear of flying.”

Cody Williams is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He says watching constant coverage of these events can fuel people’s flying phobias.

“People could not even be afraid, then after watching some of the stuff, there’s that thought that goes through your head of, “what if, what if my plane goes down?”  It can make people kind of nervous,” explains Williams.

He says he wouldn’t be surprised if people opt to not travel by air because of these events.

“You look back just the last 15 years, there hasn’t really been any crashes of major airlines. Therefore we got through a time where people really weren’t thinking about it, and now this has happened again, so I think there’s going to be some fear.”

When he has clients come in who have that fear, Williams likes to reassure them that traveling by air really is one of the safest ways to travel.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 36,000 people per year on average die in car accidents, versus just 138 from flying.

Williams says having facts like these on hand is a great way to talk to your kids about their fears of flying.

“You can go online and get some facts, some statistics stuff like that about how safe air travel really is, and that there’s redundancies put into airline travel,” Williams adds.

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