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Plane crash and Fear of Flying Statistics

Airline Safety Statistics Pie Chart

​​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, we've compiled and analyzed airplane safety statistics that may help people who are nervous about getting on a flight. ​

Airline Industry Safety

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 40,000+ flights with 2.6 million passengers within the US alone, every day. The relatively very small number of major accidents a year is a testament to the airline industry’s dedication to safety. See our breakdown of courses for the fear of flying to learn more about airline safety.

Plane Crash Statistics

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Sources: National Transportation Safety BoardBureau of Transportation Statistics

Notes: The figures above represent Part 121 Air Carriers, which are major airline operators who operate on scheduled flights and monitored airspace. Part 135 carriers, which include unscheduled private and medical aircraft flights, are not included. 2016 is the latest year of full crash statistics provided by the NTSB.


  • There was a 1 in 3.37 billion chance of dying in a commercial airline plane crash between 2012-2016
  • There was a 1 in 20 million chance of being on a commercial airline flight experiencing a fatal accident from 2012-2016
  • 98.6% of crashes did not result in a fatality — Of the 140 plane accidents during 2012-2016, only two involved fatalities (1.4%)

​“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.”

​-Dr. Arnold Barnett, MIT

2017 Deaths By Transportation Mode

2017 transportation casualty figures show that individuals are far more likely to die on a highway, train or boat than in an airplane. Highway deaths, in fact, accounted for over 95% of all traffic deaths, while there were no deaths related to commercial airline flights. Pipelines (tracked by the NTSB as a transportation mode) transporting natural gas and hazardous liquids accounted for 20 deaths.

Traffic Casualties By Mode

  • Highway: 37,133
  • Rail (Trains): 761
  • Marine (Boats & Other Water Craft): 694
  • Commercial Airlines: 0

Source: National Transportation Safety Board

Aviophobia (Fear of Flying) Statistics

Nearly 1 in 3 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

About the author 

Fly Fright Staff

Our goal is simple: provide you the most complete information you can about your upcoming travels, purchases, and more. We want you to be 100% confident in making your next flight, purchase, or anything travel related.

~Happy Travels~
The FlyFright.com Staff

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  1. I have always had extremely bad anxiety about flying. I never thought I would fly as long as I lived. I started dating my boyfriend still, but at the time I knew he traveled a lot. He wanted me to fly to Florida to meet him on his trip and I told him I’m so sacred to fly and never had in my life. He says to me it’s no big deal well to me it is. I was so scared to fly! I ended up flying out to see him and alone at that! I felt like I was going to pass out, my heart racing, I’m shaking, just scared!! Well I got there and since 2017 I flew about 6 other times with him. Now if I never would’ve met him I never would have touched foot in a plane! I’m still so scared to fly I still hate it and all I think about is getting into a crash the entire time! I can’t enjoy it at all! I have these pilots in control on me and my life! All I still think about is crashing. I know I’m going to have to fly again and I’m so scared I need help to relax my mind. We now have a 19 month old daughter and I’m just in complete fear to fly my baby!! All I think of is if we crash we all die! I’ve done research on crashes a lot and watch videos on plane crashes!! Boy they don’t help me at all!

    1. Hi. I understand your fear and I hope that one day you will get over this fear. But look, you’re safe and you’ve flown 6 times. You did it 🙂

    2. I’m very much like you. But I’ve recently flown quite a bit, and the more I do it the less scared I become. One of the things I hated the most about flying is the turbulence. But I read that a plane hasn’t crashed due to turbulence since the 60s. Modern engineering has made planes handle most turbulence. Only extreme turbulence could even have a chance, but even then pilots have the equipment in front of them that lets them know when and where turbulence can occur. If it’s above moderate pilots will fly around it for safety. Then I thought about engines blowing up, but then I thought, how many car engines just blow up while you’re driving? I haven’t had any do that. I’m sure it’s extremely rare. I’ve come to enjoy looking out the window and seeing the landscape we are flying over. It’s amazing really. Also, take some anxiety medicine, I take Cbd gummies. They help a lot. Good luck.

    3. I have the exact same fear as you. I’ve given up so many wonderful experiences in life just because of my fear of flying and dying in a plane crash. I am so tired of feeling this way and I feel like my life is just passing in front of me but I am not living it

  2. What about all the people that have died who was on the ground when a plane crashed on top of them?When was the last time a car killed someone in a plane?It only makes sense!So whether you’re in a plane or not you can still get killed in a plane crash!!

    1. do you realize how rare that is. if there was a word to discribe the rarity of it, i would use it. oh wait there is, impossible. overcome your fear and you can gain new heights. litterally.

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