Read up on the flight you will be on - safety measures in construction, protocol followed in case of emergencies, and the intensive training of pilots and crew. Book in advance to get the best deals to feel good about the trip. Place a pic of the plane on your desk. Opt for an aisle seat. Avoid plane mishap stories - air travel is the safest form of travel. Read a book or listen to music.
You want to travel but, you are afraid. What if something happens on your trip? What if you forget something? What if the plane crashes?
While it is perfectly normal to have these kinds of fears, it is also important to recognize the reality of the situation and the actual risks you take when flying.
6 Practical Steps To Overcome Your Fear Of Flying
1. Know What To Expect And Make Plans
If you have to fly, you might as well use a site that help you save money on your trip, rack up frequent flyer miles, and get something out of the ordeal.
This pre-planning aspect may not make you feel any better when you are on the plane, but it can be a necessary distraction and help you focus on the cost of the flight and what you are getting out of it.
Now, knowing what to expect, combined with the cost, can help you think intellectually about your flight, instead of emotionally. And, since you are afraid of flying, an intellectual approach can help you think rationally about that fear – something most people don’t and won’t do.
For example, if you are willing to learn about the costs of building a plane, the safety measures involved in its construction, and how much training pilots receive, it helps to put your fears to rest.
What is behind those scary sounds upon takeoff, for example? What happens when a plane experiences turbulence and are you really in danger or does that turbulence actually make the plane safer?
2. Get Familiar With The Plane You Will Be On
It helps to know the plane you are about to be flying in. Now, you do not have to be an engineer and an expert in aviation physics. But, you might want to actually put a picture of your plane’s cabin on your computer desktop so you can periodically look at it.
If it becomes a familiar image in your mind, you are less likely to freak out when it is time to board. In fact, you might like it!
3. Sit In An Aisle Seat
To calm your nerves, it might help to sit in an aisle seat. Why? Because you are not going to be freaking out about sitting near a window. If you are particularly prone to claustrophobia, then you might want to have the ability to get up and move around during the flight.
Normally, the flight attendants discourage this, but there is a time when you can get up and go to the bathroom, which might help you feel more like you are on the ground and not flying through the air.
4. Turn Off The Tube
The news media’s primary job is to scare the heck out of you and sensationalize everything. It is how they get ratings. But, it’s not a good source for information if you want lots of facts in context.
For example, when a plane does crash, you will probably hear about it everywhere on the news – on multiple stations and looped for 24 hours.
It will make all flying seem somehow inherently dangerous. The reality is that one crash one in thousands of successful flights. Did you know, for example, that (statistically) you would have to fly every day for 19,000 years before you had one crash?
Did you know that more than 96 to 98% of people who are involved in crashes live? And, of those, 30% more would live if they knew what to do during a plane crash. Those facts never seem to make their way into the news. But, they are facts you need to know and become familiar with.
5. Do Not Rush
When you rush, you naturally build up your anxiety levels. This does not help if you are already nervous about your flight. For example, racing to the gate, and trying to rush through security will only make your more anxious. Why? Because security is a naturally slow process.
So, your expectations won’t be met. You will expect to rush through security. And, what is more, likely to happen is that security will force you to slow down by going through the security checkpoints and procedures.
6. Bring Something With You
Read a book. Listen to music. Find a way to occupy your mind. If you sit and dwell on the fact that you are flying, you can easily let your emotions get the better of you, especially if you are already afraid of flying. Those negative thoughts can become overwhelming.
But, by chilling out with some music, and letting the outside world disappear, you can distract yourself for the whole flight. When you land, you will have proof that nothing bad happened to you. And, with each successful flight, it simply reinforces the idea that flying is really safe.
Elizabeth Steele has worked as an air stewardess for several years. During that time she has come across many anxious flyers, as well as a few with severe phobias. She writes about flying and travel for relevant blogs during her spare time.