Fear of flying over water?

We all know a lot of people are scared of flying. It’s a remarkably common fear. I give a lot of tips for fearful flyers on this website in the hopes of helping. But, like any other phobia, a fear of flying has many different faucets and faces. It’s not fair to claim each person’s underlying anxiety is identical.

As such, this post will particularly focus on if you have a fear of flying over water, and the different ways you can address this specific anxiety until (hopefully!) it’s long gone.

Honestly, for me, night flights over the Atlantic Ocean are the worst. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that I suddenly became scared to fly on a transatlantic international flight or if water is just … scary.

I don’t think I’m alone in this apprehensiveness either. I mean, oceans are big, man. Shudder.

Honestly, if international travel is a lifelong dream for you, you’re going to have to fly over water, probably an entire ocean.

I know. I know. It’s an intense thought. Sometimes the mere thought of flying over an ocean is scarier than the actual experience of boarding a plane and gritting your teeth.

But I have faith you will complete your journey.

If I can sit on a plane, one soaring high over the sea, then you will be able to do it too. Have confidence in yourself.


Honestly, if flying over water freaks you out, then you don’t want to have visual reminders of its bloody existence. You know what they say … Out of sight, out of mind.

Therefore, put that damn water far out of your mind!

In order to accomplish this task, you need to take control of your seat as soon as you book your airline ticket. Most airlines, especially major ones, will let you choose your seat online during the booking process.

You want to select an aisle seat. No windows, no reminders of the ocean. You can pretend you’re riding the bus in your hometown if you want. Now let’s say you get stuck in the window seat. Close the shade and keep it closed. I don’t care if you annoy your seat mates either. Your comfort takes priority.

Now I understand some airlines are super annoying about prices, and thus, they’ll charge an unseemly fee for selecting a specific seat ahead of time, but you need to determine if you’re willing to fork over cash in order to be comfortable. If you are, great! Then do it!


You might be thinking it is impossible to track airplanes over the ocean. You’re remote. Gone. No hope.

Well … that’s not 100% true.

Air traffic control is more than capable of tracking planes over the ocean. Two examples of oceanic air traffic control are Gander Center located in Newfoundland, Canada and Shanwick Center in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Say whaaaat? Yes, it’s true. For instance, Shanwick monitors the area of international airspace located in the northeast portion of the Atlantic Ocean. This is some awesome news for you. Why? Well, a huge chunk of flights coming from the United States and Canada will fly through this area. Meaning, it’s okay, the pilots are communicating with other highly trained individuals, all of them promising to get you safely to your final destination.

At the end of the day, you’re never too far from oceanic air traffic control. Planet earth is smaller than we think, yeah?


Seriously, if you try to actually do this task, you won’t be able to count all the routes without dedicating a significant amount of time. I’ve tried it, haha.

Now I know it’s super easy to pretend that your little plane is alllllll alone over the big scary ocean. But this simply isn’t the case. We’re all well connected. You’re on the same route as many other pilots and planes.

I want you to think about the gigantic number of airliners soaring over water every single day.

How many of these planes have ever crashed? … … Not many. At all. The odds are in your favor, as they say.

Not to mention, these pilots are always in frequent contact with one another and monitoring conditions. You’re not all alone over the scary ocean, I promise.


Okay, there’s no law in the books stating that planes are only allowed to land at the airports printed on the tickets. Common sense, I know, but I still feel like it needs to be written plain and clear.

At the end of the day, a commercial jet is never all that far away from an alternate airport should an emergency occur over the ocean.

Let’s go back to the United States – Europe route example. Reachable diversion airports include Bangor International, Gander Airport, CFB Goose Bay, Halifax Stanfield International, Keflavík International, Shannon, Bermuda, and Lajes (Azores), just to name a few.

Need more airports to relax your fears? What if you’re flying over the Pacific Ocean? Indian Ocean? The Polar Route?

At the end of the day, the odds are you’ll probably be flying a route where an airport isn’t incredibly distant. So breath.


Man, I wish my adorable Honda had as many back up systems as a commercial jet! It’s really remarkable when you think about it.

Now I know some of you are probably aware of this fact, but I still think it bears repeating, especially if you have a deep fear of flying over water.

A Boeing 777 is not just going to fall out of the sky into the ocean. It just isn’t.

Am I making a bold claim? I don’t think so.

There are redundant systems for all critical systems on an airplane. Landing gear? There’s a back up. Flaps? Back up. Engines? You bet.

Even if a system fails over the ocean, your plane is equipped to deal with it. Crazily enough, planes can even glide for very long distances with no engines at all.

And keep in mind a plane is a multi-million dollar piece of engineering equipment. It is in everyone’s financial interests to keep the physical plane itself safe and sound.


I know, I know. You’re probably already rolling my eyes at what I am about to write, but please hear me out.

I get it. At this point, we fearful flyers have all heard about the safety statistics regarding commercial air travel. But still, the numbers are comforting.

For example, according to estimates, you have a 1 in 7,000,000 chance of perishing on a US-based airline. For comparison, you have a 1 in 14,000 chance of dying in a coast-to-coast car trip.

You likely have a better chance of winning the lottery than perishing in a flight over water. Numbers and science are both firmly on your side. See them as allies.

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