pt en es
How cabin crews can deal with fear of flying

Dr Cristina Albuquerque

Several studies show that fear of flying among passengers is a phenomenon with epidemic proportions, affecting  a huge proportion of the adult population. According to Van Gerwen & Diekstra (2000) about 10 to 40% of air travelers from industrialized countries experience a certain degree of fear of flying.  Although air safety is generally increasing and the latest data of  IATA (2012) testify that accident rates are the lowest ever recorded, the high prevalence of flying phobia remains high up to the present time.

Responding to the increasing demand for treatment of fearful flyers in Portugal, Voar Sem Medo was founded in 2011 and provides  people with fear of flying a highly specialized therapeutic intervention with the support of a multidisciplinary team, made up of psychologists, airline pilots, air safety specialists, cabin crew, aeronautical maintenance specialists and air traffic controllers. Based upon an initial psychological assessment, and according to each patient’s specific needs, the therapist determines which therapeutic approach is most suitable: individual or in group. For some people, the inclusion in an intensive therapeutic group lasting for 3 days has been the most suited therapy. Therapeutic intervention includes: Information on psychological mechanisms underlying aerophobia; Information about aviation technical aspects; Systematic desensitization; Anxiety management techniques; Therapeutic flight; “Voar Sem Medo” kit; Post-treatment follow-up for 2 years