How Fearful of Flying Are You?

Find out how fearful flying makes you by watching this short video of a take off from Gatwick.

As you do so imagine, as vividly as possible, being on that aircraft. In your mind’s eye picture yourself sitting by the window and looking out as the jet taxis onto the runway and speeds down it before lifting into the sky. Feel the sensations as the plane judders slightly during take off. Listen to the increasing road of the engines as they build to full thrust. Observe the landscape spreading below you as the jet lifts off. Notice as the ground disappears beneath the clouds before you emerge into the blue sky high above them. Observe if there are physical changes in your body. Does your mouth start to dry? Does your heart start to race? Do your palms begin to sweat? Is your mind filled with fearful thoughts about what could happen if anything goes wrong?

After watching the video, answer the following questions. If you felt unable to watch because you knew it would make you too anxious go directly to Question 5

1] While watching the video I:

(a) Had to stop before the end due to rising anxiety.

(b) Experienced great anxiety but watched the entire video.

(c) Felt slightly anxious throughout.

(d) Remained completely calm and relaxed.

2] While watching, I felt my anxiety rising:

(a) Within the first minute.

(b) After 1 or 2 minutes.

(c) Towards the end.

(d) At no time.

3] I experience some or all of the following – heart beating faster, mouth going dry, palms starting to sweat:

(a) From the start.

(b) As the aircraft taxied.

(c) When the plane took off.

(d) At no time.

4] Watching the video brought to mind:

(a) News stories about aircraft crashing.

(b) A scary flight I once had.

(c) Happy memories of holidays in the sun.

(d) No memories relating to previous flights.

5) When I think about having to take a flight I feel?

(a) Sick with dread.

(b) Mindful of the possible dangers.

(c) Mildly apprehensive at the prospect.

(d) A sense of pleasurable anticipation.

How to Score

Bear in mind a flight in the imagination, even when assisted by the sights and sounds of a video, will never generate the same levels of anxiety as an actual flight. Nevertheless, clinical experience suggests that a high level of anxiety when experiencing any potentially anxiety-arousing activity in the imagination suggests a similar response will arise in real life.

If you were unable to watch the video, add 12 points to your score from Q5.

There are 3 points for each (a); 2 for each (b); 1 for each (c) and 0 for each (d) response.

What Your Score Reveals.

0 – 3: You are unlikely to experience any great anxiety over flying.

4 – 7: You are mildly apprehensive about making a flight.

8 – 11: Fear is likely to spoil your enjoyment of any flight.

12 +: You have a fear of flying so intense it may stop you from ever doing so.

Any score above 8 suggests you might derive great benefit from my Fly Without Fear self-help programme.