FlightAware Discussions

Upcoming flights over Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq

I was in a fear of flying program a fear days ago (SOAR with Dr. Tom Bunn) so I’m doing a lot better these recent years than before,

I have a flight in less than a week from Tokyo to Amsterdam via Dubai with Emirates. I have done a few long international flights successfully over the last few years (woohoo!), so that’s the good news.

Originally I made my booking from Tokyo to Amsterdam via Dubai a few months ago. I sort of did it without too much thought because Emirates has a good safety record / good service, and the B777-300ER is my favorite airplane to ride.

But here’s the part where I’m starting to have some anxiety and worry. Again, I booked the flight just knowing it’s Emirates and a 777-300ER. I just checked the flight path for these flights a few days ago on flightaware.com. It turns out that the first leg from Tokyo to Dubai the airplane will fly direct over 1) Pakistan, 2) Afghanistan, and 3) Iran. Primarily I feel concerned about flying over Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Now I know Emirates does this flight everyday or almost every day. That knowledge is a little bit reassuring. But… and this is a big BUT… I am very concerned about flying over “dangerous” countries with fighting, daily terrorism, ISIS, etc. It is really scary. I have never done this before! What happened to the second Malaysian Airlines plane last year over Ukraine is truly terrifying. It seems rebels got a surface to air launcher from Russia… took out a random commercial passenger jet SUCCESSFULLY that was flying at, I believe, 40,000 ft. So I guess that it is possible! The media talked about this event for a week and then just seemed to have totally forgot about it. Something that tragic and unbelievable happened and then they talked about it for a few days and the story just seemed to go away.

And on the second leg of my flight from Dubai to Amsterdam, I saw that Emirates flies directly over north-east Iraq. I mean, as far as I can tell from the maps (please tell me I’m wrong), but the flight path seems to go directly over the city of Mosul in Iraq! Is that not the main stronghold of ISIS?

I guess what I want to know is I know airlines try to save money by taking more direct routes. But should I be as scared as I am about flying over parts of Afghanistan / Pakistan. Is there a chance that terrorists have Soviet surface-to-air technology? And why is the airline flying directly over Mosul or even that part of Iraq in general? That for me seems to be the scariest part. But I don’t know whether I should be scared.

That’s why I would like to get the take on this from Dr. Bunn or perhaps another pilot, if possible. To help me understand why the airline has to take the route, and regarding my feeling scared about there being a possible danger flying over this airspace. It concerns me that the airline wouldn’t avoid flying over that part of Iraq altogether. But perhaps I don’t understand the situation from a pilot or airline’s perspective.

Furthermore, it seems like only Emirates and Qatar Airlines takes this route. Is it only Middle Eastern airlines which are not concerned?

Please help me learn and understand this better before my flight or even I am wondering if I could find an alternative route to Europe.

Thank you for any helpful replies

You said the key words…

surface to air launcher from Russia

Afghanistan / Pakistan / Iran…are safe…

Besides…those boyz are having to much fun on the ground killing themselves, they rarely look up
unless their dead on their backs.
Nobody will supply them with surface to air launchers…
so for you it’s enjoy the ride.

Even the Ukraine is pretty safe, not likely they will shoot another one.
That would be a worldwide poop storm for sure…!!

If that doesn’t make you feel better about it, you can always take the train or bus…!!
And don’t forget camels.
Pretty much anywhere you fly you have a better chance of winning Lotto as apposed to…a really rough landing.

And do post back and let us know how the experiment went.


I just wonder because I read this article (forgot to mention):

telegraph.co.uk/finance/news … -risk.html

It’s kind of “going into my own movie” (in my mind about the bad things that could or might not happen)… but I worry because of the article and then I saw that the flight path on flightaware.com from Dubai to Amsterdam shows it going over Iraq.

But of course I hope you are right!!!

I really applaud your efforts to confront your fear! You seem to have a good grasp on the factors playing into your phobia and taking efforts to rationalize them. You’re obviously concerned about the flight but, to be honest, you already seem to be well aware that it’s perfectly safe.

I guess that I don’t have any real input for you but as a pilot I’ve carried many nervous passengers who just “close up” and silently hope for the best. I’ve also had a few who actively ask questions and become engaged, and once they learn and actively become part of the whole process end up being disappointed when we land and it’s all over lol. It sounds like your on the right path no matter what.

It might help if on the day of your flight you confide your phobia to the gate agent and ask to poke your head into the cockpit while boarding to meet the flight crew. Ask them their names and where they’re from. Take a good look at them and realize that they’re just normal people like the rest of us with families, pets, etc that they want to get home to. They make that flight day-in and day-out and trust me… if they thought there was any risk to themselves then they’d just stay home and not bother.

Not sure that would be a good idea, she might think you got bit by a Luna-Tic…

Yup I always ask…You guys know what your doing or are you just faking it…!!

They always answer the same way…

It’s kind of “going into my own movie” (in my mind about the bad things that could or might not happen)…

Well…now I know what your problem is, your not watching enough good stuff…