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Overcome fear of flying

(Photo Credit: Nikao Media)


by Agnes Chung


Fear may fill our world, but it doesn’t have to fill our hearts.” – bestselling Christian author Max Lucado.

Every day we face situations that stoke our fear. Perhaps, it is news of political unrest, economic slowdown, wars, or even as mundane as spider webs hanging off the wall. Fear protects and warns us of danger, and influences our relations with the people and world around us. But too often, we allow fear to rule and define our lives, depriving us of life’s joys, aspirations and travels. Take for example, the fear of flying.  Seeing the world is an enjoyable and enriching experience, but for some it can be agony to take a flight.

A wholesome fear is an ally that keeps you moving forward, a reaction to avoid ‘real’ danger. But how does one overcome this powerful natural emotion when it goes into overdrive? An unhealthy fear interrupts and can be crippling to your life. It’s the ‘imagined’ thought (or danger) turned into irrational fear that includes fears of height, dogs, spiders, mice or even loose buttons.

Overcoming Fear of Flying

Fear of flying is a common irrational fear that Chaplain Layne Daggett has addressed for over three decades in his work at Vancouver International Airport.   Daggett approaches the phobia by empowering the individual with information, and desensitizing activities. “Knowledge is power and I’ll give you lots of information to prove modern commercial jet travel is the safest means of transportation. Even safer than walking!” Daggett shares. In his role, he takes the time to talk and walk with folks who are fear-filled when it comes to flying. He will discuss calmly what can be expected from a routine flight – the noises, turbulence and bumps, three-dimensional movement, and how a plane flies safely.

“Gradually, and to the degree you feel comfortable, we’ll confront the things about flying that bother you,” says Daggett. “We’ll walk through the terminal, go through security, walk on planes, sit in seats, talk to pilots and flight crews, ‘make peace’ with the plane that is going to become a friend to get you to places you long to visit.”

In an understanding, non-judgemental way, Daggett works through the process of addressing the fear of flying step by step, and at the individual’s own pace. If need be, he collaborates with health professionals to support the individual. “Sometimes, an experiential education is all an individual needs to alleviate their anxieties,” he explains.

Daggett shares a story of how he helped a woman whose fear of flying grounded her for over 20 years. She has boarded 58 flights since taking his sessions on Flying-without-Fear ( His program caters to people of all backgrounds. He is the only person in Vancouver that offers a ‘walk-on’ exposure and air traffic control tour.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2Tim. 1:17)

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