I came across your site while researching fear of flight and thought you could be of great help.
My boyfriend and I have been together for about 3 years and we have never been on a trip together. He is 33 and has never left the country; I am 28 and have been to all 7 continents and over 40 countries. I work in travel, I eat sleep live and breathe travel, and I somehow managed to fall in love with the one person who hates what I love most - because he is afraid.
His reasons vary from being uncomfortable on long flights, to fear of a plane malfunction/crash, to terrorism, to traveling to unsafe places, to fear of the unknown. But travel is such a huge part of my life that I want to figure out a way to make him less afraid.
It's a touchy subject between us, because neither one of us will budge but I don't want to pressure him TOO much. We are going to Africa in a few months and he is invited... but saying no.
My parents even got him a passport holder, luggage tags, TSA locks and all the paperwork needed for passport as a Christmas gift. But still.
This will be the 3rd trip he has been offered by my family and me that he has turned down and I'm just not sure what I can do to make him feel better.
He's traveled here and there for work, but always domestically, never internationally, and he even hates that.
Is there anything you can suggest?
Thank you so much.
I believe you may have read some of my answers in this website on fear of flying and I would probably tell you the same story again. I am not an expert but it appears your boyfriend may have a chronic fear of flying.
I know of an ex-airline captain who has treated many chronic fearful flyers successfully. He is based in the USA and he is Captain Tom Bunn. You can contact him for a course for your boyfriend here or get a copy of his book on Fear Treatmenthere You can also read one of his latest article ‘Fear Can Make You Believe the Worst Will Happen. How?’ here.
Alternatively, I know of a very good Fear of Flying Forumhere. This Forum was set up by Carlos Roberto. Incidentally, Carlos was once a fearful flyer and used to visit my website about 15 years ago. He is now a very confident flyer and has gone on to help others. Get him to participate in this Forum.
If you have not read my very simple book for the layman, LIFE IN THE SKIES, everything you want to know about flyinghere, I have mentioned him as one of the person who encouraged me to write my book. Perhaps you may want to give him a copy of this book!
Maybe you can also encourage your boyfriend to read some of the answers in my Fear of Flying column here.
This is what I have written many times about fear of flying in my site...
"Flying is many times (around 10 times or more – depends on the airlines) safer than driving. I know statistics does not mean much to someone who is afraid to fly but think about this. Everything we do in life involve some degree of risks; going to the supermarket, crossing the road, walking up the staircase or having a shower. Although there is some risk in flying, it is just one small risk. I feel safer flying on a commercial airplane than driving to work!
So while flying is safer, it is not risk free. We must not think safety means an absence of accidents."
Encourage your boyfriend to read more widely about aviation but avoid watching videos on Air Crash Investigation in the National Geographic Channels. Knowledge is one of the antidote of flying fear.
All the best to your effort in helping your boyfriend! I hope he will fly with you one day!
If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here