Covid causes phobia of flying for just 8% of people - here’s why 85% of aerophobics miss their flights

Team Hoo
26th January 2021

Our latest research has revealed that just 8% of people have been deterred from flying due to Covid, however, simply getting off the ground itself is enough to deter 45% of people with a fear of flying. 

Hoo surveyed over 48,000 people across the UK on the fear of flying, how it impacts their personal travel and what the driving causes of their fear were. 

The research shows that for 85% of us, the thought of flying isn’t an issue. However, for 15% of those asked the fear is real. 

We asked those with a fear of flying if it had ever stopped them from travelling by plane. 45% stated that it had, with the fear of flying preventing 20% of people from boarding a plane on occasion, while 25% never travelled by plane due to their fear. 

So what are the driving factors?

The latest airline industry data shows that Covid has had a huge impact on passenger numbers. The ICAO has revealed that airlines offered 51% fewer seats in 2020 when compared to the previous year, with 2.851bn fewer people flying.

As a result, pandemic induced travel restrictions have cost airlines around the world more than £288bn. 

But while Covid has caused a reduction in the number of us flying, the fear of catching Covid itself doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. Just 8% of those scared of flying stated that the potential risk of catching the virus while on a plane was a driving factor. 

The fear of being confined on a plane brought 20% out in cold sweats, although you could argue they’re claustrophobic rather than aerophobic. 

The issue of flying itself and the altitude were the main deterrents for 28%, however, the most common cause where the nation’s fear of flying is concerned is the plane crashing (37%). 

But should they be worried? 

Separate research found that the chance of being in a plane crash is just one in 11 million. 

While it’s certainly possible, you have more chance of being crushed by a meteor, hit by lightning, being involved in a fatal workplace accident, winning an Olympic gold medal, dating a supermodel or finding a four-leaf clover. 

That said, the bad news is that the odds of winning the EuroMillions comes in at 1 in 139 million. So, unfortunately, you’re much more likely to be involved in a plane crash.

Our co-founder, Adrian Murdock, commented:

“It’s estimated that there may be as many as one million people in the air at any one time, but while the fear of flying doesn’t impact everyone, the prospect of boarding a plane can be a terrifying one for some - and it has little to do with COVID-19. 

While the statistics show that you’re far safer on a plane when compared to a car or motorbike, plane crashes continue to be the driving reason behind this fear and it’s easy to see why, with a number of high-profile incidents being seen in recent years. 

While it won’t bring much reassurance to those with aerophobia, the data shows that plane crash fatalities have halved year on year, and you're far more likely to be crushed by a meteor or hit by lightning than being involved in one.”

Survey of 48,259 people carried out by Find Out Now (January 15th 2021).

Q1 - Are you scared of flying?AnswerTotalsNo85%Yes15%

Q2 - If yes, does your fear of flying stop you from travelling by plane completely?AnswerTotalsAll the time25%No55%Sometimes20%

Q3 - What are the main reasons for your fear of flying?AnswerTotalsThe plane crashing37%Heights and flying itself28%I don't like confined spaces20%Catching Covid8%Other7%

DescriptionScenarioProbabilitySourceLottery - EuroMillionsWin Jackpot1 in 139,838,160LinkPlane crashBeing killed in a plane crash1 in 11,000,000LinkLightning strikeBeing fatally hit by lightning1 in 2,000,000LinkMeteor showerBeing crushed by a meteor1 in 700,000LinkOlympic goldWinning an Olympic gold medal1 in 662,000LinkSupermodelOdds of dating a supermodel1 in 88,000LinkOn the jobDying in a workplace accident1 in 48,000LinkLucky cloverFinding a four leaf clover1 in 10,000Link

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