One Helpful Service Can Help Nervous Flyers Ease Pre-Flight Jitters

Each day, the Federal Aviation Administration handles around 45,000 flights. Onboard those flights, you'll likely find several passengers who suffer from aerophobia. This fear of flying is extremely common and can range from traditional symptoms of anxiety to a clinical condition at its very worst. The Cleveland Clinic estimates around 25 million U.S. adults have aerophobia.

As of June 2023, there's a new option out there to potentially help nervous flyers overcome some of those pre-flight jitters. Dial a Pilot is a service designed to connect anxious passengers with experienced pilots for a one-on-one conversation before travel. The scheduled call is tailored to address specific concerns regarding any flight-related anxieties.

Some clients are finding the confidence to book their next flight after a call. In August 2023, client Sandra Johnson reviewed her conversation with a Dial a Pilot testimonial. She stated, "This service is so helpful and innovative! I received general information about airline safety and was able to have my questions answered. I feel much more comfortable making reservations for this winter."

Alternatively, some see service fees as problematic. Derek commented on a post and highlighted as a cost-friendly alternative. He said, "Captain Stacy Chance of American Airlines has run a website for possibly 25 years. His fear of flying course accepts donations but does not have required tuition." In light of these varying opinions, determining whether or not the price of Dial a Pilot is worth the results requires digging further into the specifics of the service.

How the service works

Dial a Pilot was created by a pilot looking to put the minds of nervous family and friends at ease while traveling. The service is set up with five vetted and certified pilots on call at any one time for anxious flyers to speak with. Scheduling a call is pretty straightforward using a calendar on the website to book an available session based on your time zone.

With a call session on the books, users are asked to fill out a brief form referencing some of the topics they're hoping to discuss. Once you submit that form, you'll be asked to pay for your session. All that's left to do from here is wait for your pilot to dial in at the scheduled time.

While Dial a Pilot offers a helpful service to nervous flyers, the cost and timeframe allotted for each call could give some travelers pause. Before you immediately sign up for a call in the name of travel anxiety relief, it's worth noting that each session is just 15 minutes. Those 15 minutes will cost you $50 with additional time available for an added fee. That price can undoubtedly be steep for those with a long list of topics they want to cover, so it makes sense to question whether or not it's worth the investment.

Is it worth it?

Flight anxiety is very targeted for many travelers. Dial a Pilot's TikTok had @emjaysway asking, "Do pilots stop monitoring the plane's dashboard when autopilot switches on?" Specific questions like this could easily be answered with a call and provide helpful insight.

TikTok user @just.mels.journey reviewed the service saying, "I paid to have a consultation because I didn't know what else to do to get over my fear of flying." Even as the daughter of an airport manager, her anxiety was difficult to overcome. Speaking directly with a pilot, despite the price, was a successful solution. "After having my consultation, we had a flight and it was so, so turbulent and I was able to handle that flight without having a serious panic attack."

The fears are real but at more than $3 a minute, Dial a Pilot is a costly service. Deciding whether it's worth it is a personal question of how much you want to invest to manage your pre-flight anxiety. Those suffering from more severe cases of aerophobia might not be easily deterred by dollar signs. Comparing the cost against traditional therapy can also be helpful in deciding if this service is right for you. Thervo reported that in 2023, an average therapy session costs patients anywhere from $50 to $150 per session. For flight-specific concerns, a $50 call with a pilot could be more effective and budget-friendly if your regular sessions happen to fall on the higher end of that price scale.