Up To 40% Of Americans Fear Air Travel, And Boeing's Issues Aren't Helping — Here Are 2 Ways To Try To Avoid Being On A Boeing Plane

Flying is often considered to be the safest form of travel. According to Harvard University, if you fly in the U.S., Europe or Australia, your odds of dying in flight are 200,000 times lower than being in a fatal crash behind the wheel.

But reassuring statistics like that often are not enough to quell the anxiety many Americans have when flying.

According to a commonly cited study from Frontiers in Psychology, up to 40% of Americans have some fear of flying. 

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Boeing Co.'s BA recent string of safety-related instances and bad press have done more than hurt its stock price, which is down about 27% year to date.

It's also given passengers increased concern about flying on certain Boeing planes in the first place, with many searching for a solution to ensure they can eliminate that fear.

In 2019, Kayak, which is owned by Booking Holdings Inc. BKNG, unveiled a little-used feature at the time: the ability to add or exclude specific models of planes when booking a flight.

After a piece of fuselage fell off midflight during Alaskan Airlines Flight 1282 on Jan. 5, Kayak reported a 15 times increase in the use of its plane model filter.

"Whether you're searching by cabin class, flight quality or aircraft type, Kayak's filters aim to provide travelers with all the information they need to make smart decisions and travel with confidence," a Kayak spokesperson said.

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Even then you still may not end up on the exact aircraft you thought you would be on.

Former Boeing Senior Manager Ed Pierson, who is now executive director for the nonprofit Foundation for Aviation Safety, saw this first-hand on a recent flight.

Pierson, who is wary of flying on the Boeing MAX series, purposely scheduled a flight last year that avoided needing to be on that type of plane. 

However, when he sat down on the flight and saw the safety card, he realized he had boarded a MAX. As he left the plane before takeoff, he said, "I'm not trying to cause a scene. I just want to get off this plane."

Another way to avoid a certain type of Boeing plane, or even Boeing altogether, is to fly an airline with a fleet that doesn't have Boeing planes in the first place.

Airlines with all Airbus fleets include Spirit Airlines Inc. SAVE and Frontier Airlines. But on certain routes, there may not be a choice. 

Even so, flying remains statistically the safest form of travel.

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