A Sky High Fear for Travelers

Gabriella Rodriguez-Sanchez, Reporter

Aviophobia is the fear of flying, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health, it affects currently about 6.5 percent of the population, which equals more than 20 million people in America.
Despite the fact that the odds of a plane crash are one out of every 1.2 million flights, and the odds of dying are one in 11 million, the anxiety that often engulfs flyers is what the fear is really about.
The reason that people are more afraid of flying than other forms of transportation, such as driving cars or riding on trains, is because of risk perception. When someone sees a plane crash on the news, it sticks in their head more than other accidents do. They grab public attention and induce fear. This gives people a false impression that occurrences, like plane crashes, happen more often than not. People tend to feel more anxious when facing uncontrollable or involuntary threats.
For junior Patricia Murria, her fear sprouted from watching movies as a kid about plane crashes.
“I remember watching Snakes on a Plane,” Murria said. “It was about someone rigging a plane with venomous snakes and it almost crashing in mid air.”
Murria said that she has a fear of heights, which adds to her anxiety.
“The main root of the fear is the distance between me and the ground,” she said. “I’m not afraid of roller coaster heights, but I’m afraid of being that high up.”
Murria said that her mom recently told her her family would be going on a trip to a place with a beach. Even though she is not prepared to go by plane, she will be going anyways.
“My mom said you can get on the plane and won’t even notice you’re scared until you look out the window,” Murria said.
According to Murria she still plans on attending the family trip despite her timidness.
“I’m going, but I’ll be really scared boarding that plane,” she said.
Murria said she feels that if she gets on a plane she might die.
“Planes might have an engine issue, and I’m just scared I might get caught in the middle of that,” Murria said.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are several ways that a person can cope with their fear of flying, like latching onto triggers that set off one’s anxiety, stepping onto the airplane with knowledge, anticipating the anxiety and separating fear from danger.
Senior Jasmine Khamnouane said she found out she was afraid of flying at a young age.
“There was this one time where I almost fell off a roller coaster as a kid,” Khamnouane said. “I got scared of getting on anything high since then.”
According to Khamnouane, she has few methods of easing her fear of flying.
“I try to walk away and avoid anywhere high,” Khamnouane said. “I close my eyes and I take deep breaths, so I don’t start passing out.”
Khamnouane said she will never get on an airplane won’t be facing her fears head-on.
“When I can’t see the ground, I am terrified,” Khamnouane said.