Stress levels peak during in-flight announcements

Body sensors measure the stress levels of air passengers

Amsterdam, 20 April 2017

Almost a third of adults suffer from fear of flying to some extent. Passengers often experience stress even when checking in at the airport and when their attention is requested in the aircraft. This has been shown in a test using special measuring sensors, carried out on behalf of Transavia. On its website, the airline is now devoting more attention to stress and fear of flying in an effort to reduce anxiety prior to the flight. Research has shown that the video and flyer on the website actually reduce anxiety.
The May holidays will soon be upon us, when more than half a million people will fly to foreign destinations within the space of a few days. From which gate is my flight departing? Will I arrive at my destination on time? Can I take my suitcase? Millions of Dutch people suffer from stress when flying to a greater or lesser extent. However, what is surprising is that many people already experience stress before their flight. So from now on, travellers will be able to find tips for reducing stress on the Transavia website.

These tips cover:
•    How to handle tension better
•    What is turbulence?
•    Noises during the flight
•    Inspection and maintenance of aircraft
•    Relaxation exercises

Sensors measure heart rate
The company Braingineers carried out the research for Transavia during a morning flight from Malaga to Amsterdam. Twenty passengers were given a 'health patch' to wear. This is an adhesive plaster with sensors that measure such things as heart rate, respiration and skin temperature. What was immediately striking was the higher stress level at the airport. This begins to drop only when boarding starts. On board the aircraft, most stress occurs when passengers are asked to pay attention. The 'fasten seatbelts' sign also leads to a clear rise in stress level, as too does the moment when the aircraft lands and passengers are waiting to disembark. It is the heart rate of passengers that rises in particular.

A follow-up study carried out by students of Communications Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam showed that stress on board can be reduced if passengers are informed as well as possible at the start of the flight - not only with an instruction video but also with the aid of written instructions. 'The combination of these two ensures that people who suffer from fear of flying are more relaxed in their seat,' says Brit Haarmans, Innovation Lead of Transavia. 'On our website, a pilot explains where the anxiety comes from and what you can do to reduce the feeling. What's more, at Transavia we devote a lot of attention to personal contact. With us, you can not only count on an affordable price but also on hospitality and friendly service. Our cabin personnel are trained to spot anxiety in passengers and know how to calm them down. This means that people feel welcome on Transavia flights and are more relaxed when travelling.'

Research that Braingineers carried out among 50,000 frequent flyers showed that 27.7% experience a high level of anxiety The most common fears of air travellers are:
Crashing: 51.8%
Fear of heights: 23.2%
Claustrophobia: 17.9%
Insecurity: 11.1%
Fear of flying