Afraid of Flying? A New Service Lets You Chat With a Pilot to Ease Your Fears

Aerophobes, take heart: You can now ask pilots anything you want.
Meditating is one way people cope with air travel. The other is alcohol.
Meditating is one way people cope with air travel. The other is alcohol. / ljubaphoto/E+ via Getty Images

While there’s often no rational explanation for phobias, it’s easy to understand why people can be apprehensive about flying. One is, after all, sealed in a giant cylinder and speeding through the skies tens of thousands of feet in the air. Statistically, it’s the safest form of travel—the last fatal plane crash in the U.S. was in 2009—but fear can still prevail.

Unless you think talking about it with a pilot might help. According to Travel + Leisure, a new service dubbed Dial A Pilot aims to demystify commercial air travel by connecting anxious passengers to actual pilots. Those wary of booking a flight can ask whatever questions they like about safety, turbulence, weird noises, seat belts, weather, and whatever else may be of concern.

The idea came from one of the site’s founders, Kyle—he prefers not to use his last name to avoid any blowback from the commercial airline he works for—who found himself chatting with a relative before flights to assuage her fears. Sensing a business opportunity, he and other pilots launched the service earlier this year.

Users can navigate to the site and book a 15-minute spot on the calendar. For $50, the pilot will answer questions. (Kyle told Travel + Leisure that most questions are about turbulence and the potential for airplane engine failure.) Naturally, you won't get the pilot actually in charge of your upcoming flight, but you might get some peace of mind.