02/12/2013 09:41 am ET

Fear Of Flying: 2012 Was The Safest Year To Fly

As the New York Times reported Tuesday, 2012 was the safest year in aviation history since 1945, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

The report, which was released in January, stated that for the year 2012, there were 23 total fatal accidents, much lower than the ten-year average of 34. (There were 11 accidents involving passenger flights, compared to the ten-year average of 16.)

In fact, Tuesday will mark four years since the last commercial plane accident in America, when Colgan Air flight 3407 crashed en route to Buffalo.

According to Arnold Barnett, a professor of statistics at M.I.T, the death risk for passengers in the United States has been one in 45 million flights. That is, a traveler could take a flight every singe day for roughly 123,000 years before being involved in a fatal crash, he told the New York Times. The International Air Transport Association's chief safety officer Gunther Matschnigg was more modest when he told reporters back in December that "if you were to take a flight every day, the odds are that you would fly 14,000 years without an accident," Reuters reported.

Despite these incredible statistics, there are likely still many who fear flying every day. Joe Thompson, a young British boy, made headlines last summer when his fear of flying became a major phobia, stranding him in the UAE.

Clinics and workshops have popped up across America to combat people's fear of flying. Todd Farchione, a psychologist at Boston University's Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, told the Associated Press last year that treating fear of flying consists of a "fairly standard" combination of both cognitive and behavioral therapy.

Officials at San Jose's Norman Y. Mineta International Airport introduced a novel approach to combating passengers' fears when they introduced therapy dogs to help ease passengers' anxieties pre-flight. Miami International has a similar program; Los Angeles International is working on creating one as well.

Not at one of those airports? There are a slew of apps that help combat panic-stricken travelers, including Valk (which features a calm-sounding man explaining how to breathe) and Turbcast.

Read the full New York Times article here. For the full report from the ASN, click here.



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