, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone

Germanwings Crash: five arguments to reassure your clients who are afraid of flying

1 our 4 French people have this phobia

Following the recent plane crashes that have left the air transport world mourning, many travelers are now afraid of getting on a place. gives you five arguments to reassure your clients who hesitate on booking their vacation.

Rédigé par Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher le Mardi 31 Mars 2015

Close to one French person out of four would be afraid of getting on a plane.

A fear that was revived by the recent crashes, such as those of Malaysia Airlines and the more recent one of the Germanwings plane.

This fear is problematic to companies.

According to Xavier Tytelman, President of the treatment center for fear of flying, 10 million professional trips have been canceled for this very reason.

He states that the loss in revenue to French companies could reach 5 billion euros per year.

However, the number of people who are affected by this phobia remains stable at 34% according to an Ifop study published on Sunday, March 20th, 2015, in Ouest France.

Simultaneously, it is the means of transport that is considered to be one of the safest for 41% of the answers, just after the train (46%.)

If despite this, your clients are still hesitating on booking their vacation, here are some arguments that should reassure them.

1 - The airplane remains the safest means of transport

It is a paradox. Despite the many tragedies that have left a dark sky in 2014, taking the plane has never been safer.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has accounted 1 accident for 4.4 million flights in the last figures published early March 2015.

It does not take into account the attack on the flight MH17 of Malaysia that was flying above Ukraine, because it is considered as a war accident.

The mortality risk onboard a plane is of around 0.06 deaths per 1 billion of kilometers traveled, just before the train (0.13 deaths per 1 billion of traveled kilometers.)

The car (3.14) but especially two wheelers (48.98) are by the far the deadliest modes of transport, as explained by the European Railway Agency. (see page 13 of the file.)

2 - Recommend a workshop to the most anxious

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

To efficiently confront this fear, various companies are offering structured workshops with a psychologist who helps to understand the origin of the stress and offer a personalized attention during the workshop.

Air France has been offering this type of service for over twenty years. Most of its 600 annual participants are professionals and its flight simulators are booked to capacity two months in advance.

Philippe Goeury, psychologist and coach in stress management at Air France, assures that the latest crashes have not led to a significant rise in requests.

“Phobias in the plane are mostly due to daily stress. The fear of being in a closed space and having an anxiety attack mid-flight is much higher than the fear of crashing.”

While Air France provides these workshops at a high price (€650), other companies have joined this market.

Fly Zen established itself in Bourget and its services amount to €595. Sky Training is in Nantes and offers workshops at €425. The workshops at Peur de l’Avion start at €380. And those of Peur en Avion start at €430.

In Aubagne, a former pilot just started a company of flight simulators, Sim Airways. His workshops start at €445 for the day, and take place every month.

3 - Reassuring books

Those without hundreds of euros to spend on a workshop can turn to literature. Around a dozen books address the topic.

The first « Surmonter sa peur en avion » published in 1997, and written by Marie-Claude Dentan, a former psychologist at Air France.

The famous aviator journalist, Michel Polacco, also published with the aircraft captain Noël Chevrier, along with a doctor in psychology Marie-Claude Dentan. Their book « Ne plus avoir peur en avion » is in fact offered at the end of the Air France workshop.

We can also find « Oubliez votre peur de l'avion » written by two pilots or « The Easy Way to Enjoy Flying» by Allen Carr, also known for his self-help books to quit smoking or lose weight.

Even the Novel Prize in Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa wrote a book called « How I Lost My Fear of Flying».

4 - How to optimize chances of survival

It is difficult to determine the best seat to survive a crash.

Because, according to the an investigation by the American channel CNN, the ideal seat does not exist.

But if we follow the advices of the Telegraph, it is better to sit at the back of the aircraft than at the center or by the wings.

Common sense would say that it is better to choose the aisles closest to the emergency exits, especially in the event of a fire. But the doors are sometimes blocked during an accident.

The only sure thing: listen closely to the advices given by the air crew, especially on wearing the seat belt.

It would avoid being projected to the ceiling during the impact and thus maximise the chances of still being conscious to get out of the aircraft.

5 - Put things in perspectives and buy a loto ticket

The first role of a travel agent is to reassure his or her clients. Show them that they're getting onboard a serious company, that isn’t blacklisted.

Incite them to discuss with the flight attendants on the flight conditions, the weather, and the eventual turbulences to come.

And if they’re still hesitating, tell them about the many miracles, of Rob De Knecht who escaped two accidents in one week, the incredible landing of the Airbus A320 on the Hudson river, or that of Lion Air in the Bali region.

Finally, if they’re still not convinced, remind them that they have more chances of winning the loto than dying in a plane accident.

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