Air Transport World

Wooing the white-knuckle crowd.(fearful fliers)

Deregulation in the U.S. has brought the benefits of air travel to millions of people who otherwise never would have had a chance to fly on an airplane. U.S. airlines carried 528 million people last year, twice the population of the country. And according to ATA, one-third of all American adults fly each year and nearly 80% have flown at least once.

But there is one group that has been left on the ground: People who are afraid to fly. Fear strikes one out of six adult Americans, at least 25 million, and an even greater number suffer from a milder level of anxiety that limits their travel by air, according to the last major study on the matter, by the Boeing Co in 1980.

This group represents perhaps the last significant untapped market of potential fliers and airlines could benefit greatly by curing them, according to preliminary research conducted by United Airlines volunteers on behalf of the Fear of Flying Clinic. A San Francisco-based nonprofit organization founded in 1976, the clinic offers courses to help people overcome this fear. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.