Four in ten frightened flyers miss out on exotic holidays

Lauren NasirogluAssociate Director
March 16, 2017, 11:48 AM UTC

Four in ten (41%) people with a fear of flying say their phobia is so severe that they are unable to go on exotic holidays that require long-haul flights, new YouGov Field & Tab research among aviophobics reveals.

The data shows that the majority (60%) of people with a severe fear of flying can’t go on exotic holidays, while nearly a quarter (23%) of those with a moderate phobia also miss out on such trips.

YouGov’s research among nervous flyers shows that their fear is preventing them from enjoying a vast array of experiences. One in six (17%) have missed out on visiting friends and relatives abroad, a figure that rises to almost three in ten (28%) among those with severe anxiety of flying. Furthermore, one in fifteen (7%) have had to miss overseas weddings. Overall, YouGov Omnibus found that in total one in six (16%) Britons suffer from aviophobia. 

YouGov interviewed a total of 500 GB adults aged 18+ with a fear of flying between 1st – 7th February 2017.

The research explored what this niche group does in order to get around their fears. Over half (57%) make themselves get on a plane despite their anxieties, although this figure decreases to just 39% among those with severe aviophobia. Meanwhile, over four in ten (43%) nervous flyers avoid planes completely, a proportion that increases to over six in ten (61%) among those with the most severe fear.

The majority (63%) of those who refuse to fly only go on holidays within the UK or Europe so that they don’t need to go up in the air, while one in five (21%) have to use other modes of transport – such as a boat - to travel long distances for a holiday.

Among those that do fly, four in ten (38%) say they feel safest with British Airways, ahead of Virgin Atlantic (24%) and Emirates (16%).

Fear of flying can have a deep emotional effect on sufferers as well as a knock-on impact on friends and family. Not only are those scared of flying losing out on new experiences abroad, but they are missing out on seeing friends and family as well as important events including weddings. Although many with a moderate fear do still travel, airlines and travel operators need to be aware of this significant group of travellers and make sure they know they are being catered to.

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