We’ve all seen that one person on the plane. Huddled by the window, clutching their bag, knuckles white and palms clammy. Unblinking, they silently stare out the tiny window, eyes fixated with dread on the solid earth they are about to depart from. Aviophobia is a fear of flying and it is estimated that as many as 25% of people are affected by it. With all the holiday travel, confront that fear head on. Here are 6 tips to calm flying nerves.
Don’t Hold It In
You’re like a ticking time bomb…the jitters and racing thoughts are slowly building. You keep a tight smile plastered on your seemingly cheery face, but your insides are melting in sheer terror. Don’t conceal your flight anxiety–tell someone, such as a flight attendant or the passenger sitting next to you. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, so vent a little, because you need support. Chances are, flight personnel are used to assisting those with fear of flying, and most passengers will offer a warm smile and kind words.
Turbulence is usually worse towards the back of the plane, so at check-in, make it a point to ask for a front seat. Other ways to plan your trip accordingly are tof research flights with the shortest routes/travel time and opt for a bigger, more open aircraft to help ease into the flying experience and confront that fear head on.
During that flight it’s important to keep your mind occupied on anything else other than crashing and burning in a plane. Stock up on playlists with soothing tunes or flip through magazines. Always bring a good book and keep your nose buried. Many flights offer movies, go ahead and pick one–before you know it, the flight will be over.
Take a Class
Are you really dreading that next flight? There are various classes offered for those willing to work to overcome their fear. Though they have a history of being expensive, prices have dropped considerably over the years. Work with an instructor to get some courage and then tackle the final test–an actual airplane flight.
Avoid the Caffeine
The plan is not to over stimulate your brain and heighten your flight anxiety…and sweat glands (your neighbor wouldn’t like that very much). Keep hydrated with water, because dehydration triggers anxiety as well. There is the old “liquid courage” approach…but be responsible and don’t overdo it!
Media is exploding with gory details of plane crashes, drunken pilots and fiery disasters. Keep that junk out of your head. Yes, it is important to be informed, but right before a flight, it’s probably a good idea not to stoke the fire (no pun intended!). Stay positive and focus on the good facts; it is said that air travel is the second to buses as safest mode of transportation in the world.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.