Flying Safety Statistics

fear of flying statistics


Many people have a deeply ingrained fear of flying. No matter how they came to develop this phobia, what many of them share in common is a preoccupation with plane crashes, airplane safety, and the risk of death or injury. However, the best weapon against fear is knowledge. With that in mind, here are some statistics that may help people who are nervous about getting on a flight.

Pilots, airplane technicians and flight traffic controllers are all highly educated and possess a large amount of specialist knowledge. Pilots face a rigorous training program in order to achieve nationally recognized certification. They must also earn thousands of flight hours before they can even begin flying commercial planes. They must also go through regular training and re-certification throughout their careers. Essentially, every person who is involved with flying a plane is very, very good at their job. In addition, backup systems in every plane provide for safety during emergencies that would have been fatal just decades ago.

According to statistics provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there are 30,000 flights a day within the US alone. The fact that we can only recall two or three major accidents a year is a testament to the airline industry’s dedication to safety.

Nearly 1 in 3  adult Americans is either: Anxious about flying (18.1%)

  • Afraid to fly (12.6%)

Of Those Afraid To Fly:

  • 73% were fearful of mechanical problems during flight
  • 62% were afraid of being on a flight during bad weather
  • 36% were afraid of mechanical problems on the ground
  • 36% were afraid about flying at night
  • 33% feared flying over a body of water


Women are twice as likely as men to experience fear of flying Source: “Fear of Flying: Impact on the U.S. Air Travel Industry.” Robert D. Dean, Kerry M. Whitaker. Study sponsored by Boeing Commercial Airplane Company.


Fear Of Flying Statistics | Plane Crash Statistics

Average Deaths Per Year

  • 1000: Bicycle accidents
  • 1,452: Accidents involving guns
  • 3,000: Complications from medical procedures
  • 5,000: Accidental drownings

Sources: Bureau of Safety Statistics, National Transportation Safety Board  

Now compare those stats with this one: 3,288: airplane related deaths from the 1982-2010. These numbers are not from one year, like the above statistics, but from a combined 28 years.


A person would have to fly on average once a day every day for 22,000 years before they would die in a U.S. commercial airplane accident according to recent accident rates

 (Source: Dr. Arnold Barnett of MIT)




Plane Crash Statistics

There is a 1 in 11 million chance of being involved in an airplane accident

96% of passengers survive airline accidents

Sources: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Takeoff Today! Program

–109: Deaths due to plane crashes from 2002-2007
–196,724: Deaths due to automobile accidents from 2002-2007

–The FAA has estimated flying is 200X safer than driving

Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Fear Of Flying Statistics | Flight Frequency

Number of Annual U.S. Flights (Domestic)

* 2007 — 9.8 million

* 2008 — 9.3 million

* 2009 — 8.7 million

* 2010 — 8.6 million

* 2011 — 7.9 million

* Across the globe, 3 million passengers fly on any given day

* 1.8 million of these are flying in the United States, on a total of 24,600 flights.


New to flying? Read our post on Tips For First Time Flyers


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