Flight or fright: More than half of young Aussies fear flying (and their fears are growing)

A female passenger on a jet aircraft grips the seat armrest from fear of flying.

New research has revealed that 37 per cent of Aussies are afraid of flying, with the fears higher among those under 30, at 59 per cent.

Worse still, our anxiety about flying is growing, despite statistics suggesting that air travel has become measurably safer over the past three decades.

The findings come from a survey commissioned by Aussie travel insurance company InsureandGo.

The 37 per cent of Aussies who admitted to having fears about flying experienced anxiety when taking off, landing or due to turbulence, the study found.

For 56 per cent of Aussies who fear flying, the fear has increased in the last five years, which contradicts a decrease in the risks posed by flying over the same period.

Which age groups fear flying the most?

The survey results found that the younger the traveller, the more likely they are to fear flying internationally, with 17 per cent of under-30s declaring their fear, followed by 17 per cent of those in their 30s, nine per cent of 40- to 49-year-olds, six per cent of those aged 50 to 59, and only four per cent of over-60s.

However, the results show at least half of respondents, regardless of age group, reported they have come to fear flying more now than they did five years ago.

Fear of flying has increased for 50 per cent of under 30s, 70 per cent of 30- to 39-year-olds, 58 per cent of those in their 40s, and 51 per cent of those over 50 years old.

Which planes do we fear the most?

The survey respondents were asked which types of planes they fear flying with the most. Surprisingly, there was negligible difference between the proportion of travellers who fear flying on small planes and large planes.

Among travellers who fear flying, just over one in three (35 per cent) fear small planes with exposed double propellers used for regional flights.

Thirty-one (31) per cent fear flying most on medium-sized passenger aeroplanes, normally used for domestic flights. Thirty-three (33) per cent most fear large passenger aircraft, like those used for international flights, such as the Boeing 747 or Airbus A380.

What causes our fears?

Hearing news of plane accidents heightened the fear of flying among 39 per cent of respondents – and 56 per cent of under-30 respondents. In contrast, 73 per cent of over-60s and 66 per cent of those in their 50s weren’t affected by such news.

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