Seeing your family after spending a term abroad can be overshadowed by anxiety, also known as aerophobia: a fear of flying by plane. Holiday trips planned in advance suddenly seem less attractive than staying at home away from the airport. That was exactly my case for six years in Switzerland. The fear of flying appeared out of nowhere and has made my life more challenging, so I decided to understand what causes aerophobia and how to eliminate the fear.

Most likely, having aerophobia means being scared of crashing, but can be an outcome of claustrophobia: the fear of being trapped in the closed space for some time with no possibility of getting out. People are often scared of having a panic attack in the air. Some cannot even explain what it is they fear exactly, and the anxiety just takes over.

A majority of people may not have an instant fear of flying; however, it can develop overtime. The fact of suddenly being afraid with a history of traveling by plane can confuse flyers.

A bad flight might be a starting point for aerophobia. For example: experiencing strong turbulence or change in plans due to some technical or organizational issues, making people feel as if they had just escaped a dangerous situation.

Another reason could be hearing about unfortunate flights in the news. Plane crushes often get huge media coverage, which makes flying seem dangerous. A lot of people got aerophobia after the events of 09/11. However, plane crashes are rare, that’s why they get so much attention.

These suggestions have worked for me personally and helped me to get over my aerophobia. Try them and, hopefully, you will be able to order a tomato juice in a calm voice during a strong turbulence, just as I did during my recent trip home.