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Flying without fear: How to overcome a phobia of air travel

Research into plane accidents can help dispel fear and so can pills and breathing exercises

Published on May 4, 2014 11:54 AM
The fear of flying affects up to 30 per cent of people, but a severe phobia to the extent of avoiding air travel completely affects only 2 to 3 per cent of the population. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

After Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing in March, teacher Lim Shu Ling begged her travel companions to rework their plans for an upcoming holiday to Europe.

That trip next month would have involved five flights within the continent. Ms Lim, 29, managed to convince her friends to limit it to just one flight and travel instead by train to 10 cities in Italy, France and Scotland.

"I've always had a massive fear of flying and every air disaster frightens me so much," says Ms Lim. "I've tried many ways to overcome it but I always break out in a cold sweat on flights. Once, when turbulence was really bad during take-off, I started crying in my seat."

The high-profile disappearance of the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight in March - as well as other recent plane malfunctions reported in the news - has intensified the fears of many already-anxious fliers.

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