The Fear of Flying Dilemma: You need to get on an airplane for a business trip or vacation. Maybe someone you love is waiting to see you in some far off place. No matter what the reason, the thought of stepping on a plane triggers all the alarms. No thinking required–just instant panic. You don’t want to tell anyone because whenever it comes up, people just don’t understand how bad the fear is. They start telling you about the statistics of dying in a car crash and how they’re higher than dying on an airplane.
Personally, I like to say that if God had wanted us to fly, he have made it easier to get through Airport Security.
Of course you can!
Turns out, there really is a genetic component to our flying phobia. A number of studies have been done on parents who suffer from “simple phobia” and the genetic link is undeniable. If you have a parent who suffers from an intense, panic-like, fear response to a specific object, aka phobia, your chances of having your own phobia goes up by 25%-59%. It seems to be related to genes specifically. For instance, a genomic study (Gelemter, 2003) suggested there may be a marker on chromosome 14 linked to simple phobia.
I remember asking my mother, “Why are you standing up on that chair?” “Rats!” she screamed. To this day, I can’t be anywhere near a rat.2. Children who are not exposed early to specific events, in this case flying, have less exposure and therefore a greater chance of feeling scared when they have to get on a plane as adults. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If your parents took you on airplanes starting when you were an infant, and you took a trip every year, you probably would feel more comfortable on a plane than someone who starts traveling at age 30.Maybe that will help us feel more compassion for those parents with crying babies on the next flight we take. Oh, and we will be taking that flight–it’s our new commitment to one another!