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