The fear of flying is largely irrational, though not abnormal, in people who are perfectly adapted to travel in automobiles.There are two primary, primal roots to the fear of flying:
- The fact that humans do not naturally fly, and the closest natural analog the primal human has to flying (being suspended in the air) is "falling". Flying high in the air is interpreted subconsciously as falling high in the air, or being in danger of falling. Travelling in a car along the ground is less of an extrapolation from running fast.
- Poor risk assessment. Most people fear the macabre, catastrophic, yet improbable accident more than the mundane, less gruesome accidents. In nature, this is generally a quite safe assumption; gruesome accidents are generally a result of unnecessary risks or poor choices. But in our technology-laden, artificial society, this rule does not work so well. In fact, the chance of a mishap in a flight is far less than a mishap in a land vehicle, and an auto accident can be just as lethal even if not as dramatic and on a smaller scale.
If you have a fear of flying, the best course of action is to understand
and come to terms
with it. Plain facts, comparisons, and realistic risk assessments, as well as experience, breed confidence where confidence is appropriate
. For instance, you may well have a basis for preferring Northwest Airlines
to China Airlines
, even if the steerage
class conditions in Northwest are far inferior