An estimated 9 million people in Britain suffer anxiety related to flying, which can lead to panic attacks before or during the flights.
Previous experience of bumpy flights due to air movement when entering clouds, having experienced lightning striking the plane and causing transient electricity shut down or landings aborted at the last minute can be previous experiences that lead to fear of flying
If the traveller finds the fear of flying to be a problem it can have lead to turning down holiday opportunities or affecting employment when this requires overseas travel.
For disabling 'fear of flying' hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy can help - see 'hypnotherapy for fear of flying'.
'Fear of flying' courses are available through some airlines. See British Airways whose courses include a supervised short flight.
In confined cabin space, especially in cramped economy class, emotional upsets are common and this may occasionally lead to aggressive behaviour (so-called air rage). Cabin staff are usually trained to manage air rage, by spotting early signs, careful handling, sometimes physical restraint and even occasionally arranging a diverted landing to allow the passenger to be escorted from the plane.
There is a small but increased risk of DVT when we are immobile for long periods.
DVT during or following travel is uncommon but more likely to occur in older people, smokers, those with circulation problems, recent surgery, obesity, late in pregnancy and early postpartum, active malignancies, a history of previous thrombotic episodes and possibly with the use of high oestrogen contraceptives.
It is more likely during immobility on flights of 4 or more hours’ duration.
The risk may be increased by dehydration due to inadequate fluid intake.
If at higher risk, it is advised to regularly perform leg and foot exercises during the flight, and book an aisle seat to facilitate moving around the cabin.
Good quality below-knee compression stockings may improve comfort for those with venous stasis in the legs or varicose veins - it is uncertain in whom and whether these make DVT less likely.
Poor circulation to the legs may be a contraindication to using compression stockings. Medical advice should be taken if in doubt before using them.
The use of low molecular weight heparin injections shortly before flying can be considered for those at particular risk of venous thrombosis - as used in hospitals when patients’ prolonged bed rest is unavoidable. This must be arranged in advance by agreement with the patient's doctor.