More Common Than You Might Think

If you are anything like me, you know better than to be afraid of flying...and yet...you still are. I started flying from Montana to Michigan at a very young age and since then have spent more hours than I can count on airplanes. Nonetheless, my heart rate still exceeds 100 bpm every time I step onto an aircraft. Every time.

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I have read a variety of articles on the subject, some of which say that 1 in 4 people have a fear of flying, others saying that 1 in 5 do. Either way, it's an extremely common phobia. We are not alone.

Credit: Jaci Bjorne, TSM
Being escorted by fire trucks after landing is not a top ten favorite experience. Credit: Jaci Bjorne, TSM
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Therapy Helps, Definitely Try It

I had a wonderful therapist give me both cognitive and behavioral coping strategies for alleviating anxiety in these situations, things like distraction, deep breathing, counting the number of blue items that I can see, etc. While these have helped, they never felt like quite enough.

Waiting to re-board the flight that had turned around midair and been escorted by firetrucks. Credit: Jaci Bjorne, TSM
Waiting to re-board the flight that had turned around midair and been escorted by firetrucks. Credit: Jaci Bjorne, TSM
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I have realized something about myself recently. In order to trust something, I need to know how it works (that applies to people, as well). Maybe you're the same way. Hopefully, this will help you.

Some Facts For You

First things first, something we probably all know, travel by airplane is the safest form of mass transportation. The likelihood of anything dangerous happening during your flight is so low, it is hard to comprehend. The odds of something bad happening while traveling in other ways are far higher, but I don't want to increase your fear of other vehicles.

A few police officers were waiting for us to deplane in SLC during my most recent flight. Credit: Jaci Bjorne, TSM
A few police officers were waiting for us to deplane in SLC during my most recent flight. Credit: Jaci Bjorne, TSM
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Airlines calculate weight distribution with extreme accuracy, to ensure safe takeoffs. They have safety procedures for anything and everything that might go wrong. Their pilots have required continuing education in simulators every 6 months. An airline's top priority is safety.

The thing that gave me the most peace was learning that an aircraft's engines are simply designed to create thrust, they are not what keeps the airplane in the sky. It can operate perfectly normally with only one engine, and an aircraft can glide for 100 miles with no engines at all. Landing with no operational engines is perfectly safe, and is something that pilots are highly trained to do.

The following video brought me a great deal of comfort:

Hope This Helps

Don't let fear keep you from getting out of Montana and going on a holiday vacation. I hope your next flight is a more comfortable one thanks to these interesting facts about air travel.

Offbeat adventures: Travel to the coolest hidden wonders in every U.S. state

Fuel your offbeat travel dreams. Stacker found the coolest hidden wonders in all 50 U.S. states (plus D.C.) using data from Atlas Obscura.

[WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter private or abandoned property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing.]

Gallery Credit: Sandi Hemmerlein

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