Several news channels today reported the rapid descent of an Airbus 380 aircraft. It diverted to an airport in Kazakhstan.
This was probably alarming for the passengers but a routine procedure for the pilots who practice this frequently. Unfortunately the press have reported comments from the fearful passengers which are unrepresentative of what actually happened. However an experience such as this can develop into a fear of flying if the facts are ignored at the expense of feelings and emotions. It is perfectly natural for a passenger to be fearful when they have no knowledge of what is happening and what the outcome is likely to be. Under these circumstances the imagination can run riot, subsequent reports of what actually happened are often coloured by what could have happened.
If we were to compare the passenger reports with those of the crew there would be a substantial difference. For visitors to this site it is important to know that during a descent after a depressurisation the aircraft is not in any sort of danger despite what you might feel at the time.
The reason that the aircraft has to descend is so that there will be sufficient oxygen for the passengers and crew to breathe normally and maintain all normal functions. If the aircraft were equipped with pressure breathing equipment like military aircraft then it would not be necessary to descend, although it is unlikely that the air conditioning would be able to keep you very warm.
For anyone with a fear of flying it is important to know the facts, and I present them here in an unbiased a way as I can.
It is vital that you listen to the cabin crew safety briefing and acquaint yourself with the safety procedures appropriate to the aircraft you are on.