Fear of flying is a fear of being on an airplane (aeroplane), or other flying vehicle, such as a helicopter, while in flight. It is also referred to as flying phobia, flight phobia, aviophobia or aerophobia (although the last also means a fear of drafts or of fresh air).
Fear of flying may be a distinct phobia in itself, or it may be an indirect combination of one or more other disorders, such as claustrophobia (a phobia of being restricted, confined, or unable to escape) or acrophobia (anxiety or dread of being at a great height). It may have other causes as well, such as agoraphobia (especially the type that has to do with having a panic attack in a place they can’t escape from). It is a symptom rather than a disease, and different causes may bring it about in different individuals.
This phobia receives more attention than most other phobias because air travel is often difficult for people to avoid—especially in professional contexts—and because it is common, affecting a significant minority of the population. Inability to maintain emotional control when aloft may prevent a person from going on vacations or visiting family and friends, and it can cripple the career of a business person by preventing them from traveling on work-related business.
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