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I am planning for my 2nd flight.

The first flight was in November 2017 from Beirut to Istanbul which took 1h45min. I asked this question on this site, explaining my Phobia to professionals on the site.

The flight was good enough, but the crew was rude, the safety guidance was in Turkish though 90% of passengers were English and French speaking Lebanese. I couldn't understand anything, so I was concentrating on their hand movements to understand what they are saying and trying to catch a few things. The pilots were speaking to us several time during the flight in Turkish and even the hostess weren't reacting to what the captain is saying. So it was a little bit confusing.

I was calmed down, maybe because of the Xanax 2.5 mg that I already took before take-off.

Now I am preparing for my next flight next week to Paris on another Airliner. I don't know if I am allowed to mention the name of the airlines, but it have a really great reputation. I was searching in this wikipedia link on crashes related to the airline and the last one was in 1976 due to a terrorist attack. More info in this link.

I know the following may not be logical for most of you:

My problem now is that the huge clean sheet of the airline company makes me more scared to fly with them. If an airline didn't have any crash since 40 years, is it good to fly with ? Does that add pressure on companies responsible and pilots and even flight engineers which may make mistakes concluding to crashes or problems ? The flight time is 4h40min, and that adds more pressure on me and considering 90% canceling my flight.

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    $\begingroup$ You'll be absolutely fine. They have a clean sheet because they know how to properly operate an airline. Statistically, once you board the airplane, the safest part of the journey starts. So while your fear is real, it is irrational. I would recommend taking a nervous flyer course, so that you will know better what to expect and will not be thrown off by completely normal things. And whatever you do, don't cancel your flight. The best way to get over any irrational fear is exposure. $\endgroup$ – Sanchises Mar 2 '18 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Sanchises thank you. Yeah. I've been told that after my first flight, the things will better in the next ones. Apparently for me, the phobia is increasing in my second flight especially after the 2 crashes in Russia and Iran which conducted to killing all passengers on the both flights. $\endgroup$ – alim1990 Mar 2 '18 at 7:49
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget there are over ten thousand flights in the air at any given moment. Per hour, it's four times safer than driving a car. Per kilometre, it's sixty times safer than driving a car. $\endgroup$ – Sanchises Mar 2 '18 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ A good safety record means that the airline spends time training their pilots, maintaining their airplanes and fostering a safety culture. Logically it should make you feel safe. However, when you have a phobia your brain's normal logic doesn't apply, I recommend you get some cognitive therapy on this issue to help you move on. $\endgroup$ – GdD Mar 2 '18 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ You'll be fine. $\endgroup$ – zeta-band Mar 2 '18 at 16:20
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Your question looks like it's more about statistics than anything else.

It's a common misconception to think that in a random lottery where event E has X% chance of happening, if there is N draws without any occurence of E, E is more likely to happen.

This is completely wrong.

If you flip a coin, you have 50% (X) chances of getting heads (E). If you flip it 5 times (N) and get 5 Heads, you don't have "more chances" to get tails on your 6th draw.

In other word, se sequence Heads Heads Heads Heads Heads Heads is as likely as the sequence Heads Heads Heads Heads Heads Tails.

As for your flight, all airlines authorized to fly into EU are considered safe, and any difference in safety record is a rounding error, and statistically insignificant.

You can read more about this misconception on wikipedia Gambler's fallacy

Have a nice flight.

PS: For the safety instructions, please refer to the pamphlet provided at your seat, it contains all, if not more information about the presentation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot. I get your point. By the way, the pamphlet provided was in Turkish too, so that was disappointing :( $\endgroup$ – alim1990 Mar 2 '18 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ @droidnation all Pamphlets are more or less the same (except emergency exit locations). You can look up one in your native language. If you want the exact pamphlet as the plane your are flying, please ask a new question; including either the flight number or if you know it, the aircraft type your are going to fly with. $\endgroup$ – Antzi Mar 2 '18 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ I will ask about it. Thanks. What make my phobia increased in the last few days is because hearing about 2 airplane crashes in Russia and Iran which led to more than 130 fatalities. The year started too bad for the aviation. last year the fatalities was less than 100 persons. We still in March and we have more than 100. That make me more nervous. $\endgroup$ – alim1990 Mar 2 '18 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ @droidnation The cards are designed such that they can be understood be illiterate people. You won't miss any important information if you can read the pictures. $\endgroup$ – Sanchises Mar 2 '18 at 7:55
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    $\begingroup$ @droidnation You're reiterating the Gambler's fallacy. Those incidents just coincidentally happened close to each other in time. $\endgroup$ – Sanchises Mar 2 '18 at 7:59
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Air crews don't think about their past safety record because they know that it could change with the next flight. That might not be the most comforting thing for you to hear but you know it's true - it's extremely rare, but planes can crash if the wrong actions are made.

But this is the mindset that makes an airline safe. Some people with a fear of flying believe that only they think about what could go wrong with the plane, but that's not true. Crews and management spend a lot of time thinking about what can go wrong, so that they can take action to prevent that scenario from happening. An example of this is that before every single flight the pilots will discuss the takeoff path and what they will do in an emergency, eg "if an engine fails below 2000ft we won't be able to climb over that mountain, so we will turn right to avoid it, and keep climbing until at least 6000ft". Aircraft designers and engineers have a similar mindset, so lots of redundancy is built into everything they do. Management think about all of the ways a pilot might make a mistake, so designs specific training programs to help prevent them, as well as mandating special procedures to be followed.

If an airline has been flying for 40 years since its last accident, it is probable that they have a good culture of thinking about what could go wrong on the next flight. You as a passenger don't need to think about any of that though. You just need to think about what meals you're going to have in Paris.


I don't know if this might help or not, but I suggest viewing FlightRadar24.com. This will help you visualise just how many aircraft are flying around the world at any point, and that last year not a single commercial jet crashed. It's quite amazing just how safe flying in a plane is.

Secondly, you can also watch airline safety videos on youtube. They all contain the same basic information, but each aircraft and airline has a specific video which you should watch on your flight. Do not be alarmed that the cabin crew didn't react to the pilot announcements. They usually just consist of information they already know, like flight time and the weather, and are more focused on serving their passengers.

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  • $\begingroup$ So if you were me, you cancel the ticket or just hop on the plane ? Thanks anyway for the explanation. $\endgroup$ – alim1990 Mar 4 '18 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ @droidnation if I were you I would acknowledge that I have a fear of flying, realise that so many other people have the same fear, and then seek professional help for it. There are many classes you can take to help overcome this fear. You don’t need to worry about the safety of commercial flying - it is more safe than walking down the street, so I hope you do get on the plane and have a great time. $\endgroup$ – Ben Mar 5 '18 at 7:12

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