Flying is one of the safest and fastest ways to travel, but for some people, it can also be a source of anxiety and stress. Whether you have a fear of heights, claustrophobia, or a bad experience in the past, flying can trigger unpleasant emotions and physical symptoms, such as sweating, trembling, nausea, or panic attacks.
If you are one of the many travellers who struggle with flying anxiety, you are not alone. According to some estimates, up to 25% of the population suffers from some degree of aviophobia, or fear of flying. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with this fear and enjoy your flight without letting it ruin your travel plans.
In this blog post, we will share some tips and strategies to help you overcome your fear of flying and make your next flight a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
- Recognize the root causes and fear-inducing situations
Finding the underlying causes and anxiety triggers is the first step in overcoming your fear of flying. What specifically do you fear about flying? Is it the risk of a collision, the inability to control the situation, the turbulence, the small space, the germs, or something else?
You can work to challenge and alter your unfavourable thoughts and beliefs once you are aware of what makes you fearful. You could, for instance, remind yourself of the statistics that demonstrate how much safer flying is than driving or using other forms of transportation if you are concerned about crashing. If you are afraid of turbulence, you can learn how it is a normal and harmless phenomenon that does not affect the safety of the flight. If you are afraid of germs, you can take precautions to sanitize your seat and hands and wear a mask.
- Learn relaxation techniques and practice them before and during your flight
One of the most effective ways to cope with flying anxiety is to learn and practice relaxation techniques that can help you calm your mind and body. Relaxation techniques can reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, muscle tension, and sweating. They can also help you distract yourself from your fears and focus on something positive and soothing.
Some of the relaxation techniques that you can try include
Breathing Exercises: Deep breathing techniques should be practiced in order to relax your body and mind during the flight. Deep breathing entails inhaling slowly and deeply and gently exhaling. Using this method throughout take-off, turbulence, and landing will help control your heart rate and lessen anxiety. Global Travel Wide suggests incorporating mindfulness techniques into your breathing exercises for enhanced relaxation. By focusing on your breath, you can redirect your attention away from fearful thoughts and bring a sense of calm to your body and mind.
Distraction Techniques: Use mental exercises to divert your focus from the flight as a distraction technique. Watch an engrossing film or television program, read a fascinating book, play a game, or listen to soothing music. To keep your mind occupied and anxiety at bay, Global Travel Wide suggests making a customized travel playlist or downloading their curated in-flight entertainment recommendations.
Positive visualization: Before your trip, picture yourself having a comfortable and secure flight. Imagine yourself arriving at your destination while feeling at ease and enjoying the flight. You can rewire your subconscious mind with positive visualization to replace fear with confidence. Global Travel Wide offers visualization techniques that are especially intended to reduce flying phobias.
- Educate yourself about flying and the aviation industry
Another way to overcome your fear of flying is to educate yourself about how flying works and how the aviation industry operates. By learning more about the science, technology, and regulations behind flying, you can reduce your uncertainty and increase your confidence and trust in the process.
Some of the things that you can learn about include:
- How different weather conditions, altitudes, and pressures are handled in the design, construction, and maintenance of airplanes.
- How the training, certification, and testing of pilots ensures their competence, knowledge, and well-being.
- How air traffic controllers keep an eye on pilots and interact with them to ensure safe and efficient flights.
- How flight attendants are prepared and trained to assist passengers in emergency situations.
- How to prevent threats and respond to incidents by following stringent security and safety procedures at airports and on airlines.
- Numerous sources, including books, websites, podcasts, documentaries, and online courses, provide reliable and accurate information about flying and the aviation sector. You can seek advice from professionals like pilots, flight attendants, or aviation enthusiasts who can respond to your inquiries and share their expertise.
- Seek professional help if your fear is severe or interferes with your life
You might want to seek professional assistance if your fear of flying is so intense that it keeps you from traveling or interferes with your daily life. You can get effective tools and coping mechanisms from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist, who can also assist you in understanding and treating the root causes of your fear.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular and effective treatments for flying phobia. With the aid of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you can find and challenge your unfavorable thoughts and beliefs about flying and replace them with more sensible and optimistic ones. Through exposure therapy, CBT also assists you in systematically and gradually facing your fear. Exposure therapy entails being exposed yourself to your fear in a safe and controlled environment, such as a flight simulator, a virtual reality program, or a real flight, until you become less anxious and more comfortable.
Another option that you can consider is medication. Medication can help you reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety, such as panic, nervousness, or insomnia. However, medication is not a cure for fear of flying, and it may have side effects or interactions with other drugs or substances. Therefore, you should always consult your doctor before taking any medication and use it only as prescribed and as needed.
- Choose a reputable and reliable airline and flight
When you book your flight, you can also take some steps to make your flying experience more pleasant and less stressful. One of these steps is to choose a reputable and reliable airline and flight that can offer you the best service, comfort, and safety.
Some of the factors that you can consider when choosing an airline and flight include:
- The reputation and ratings of the airline, based on customer reviews, awards, or rankings.
- The safety record and performance of the airline, based on accident reports, audits, or certifications.
- The quality and availability of the service, such as the check-in, boarding, baggage, catering, entertainment, or customer support.
- The comfort and convenience of the flight, such as the seat size, legroom, amenities, or noise level.
- The price and value of the flight, based on the fares, fees, discounts, or benefits.
You can also choose a flight that suits your preferences and needs, such as the time, duration, route, or stopovers. For example, you may prefer a morning flight over a night flight, a direct flight over a connecting flight, or a shorter flight over a longer flight. You can also avoid flights that are likely to encounter bad weather, turbulence, or delays, such as during peak seasons, holidays, or storms.
- Plan and prepare for your flight in advance
Another step that you can take to overcome your fear of flying is to plan and prepare for your flight in advance. By planning and preparing, you can reduce your stress and anxiety and increase your confidence and readiness for your flight.
Some of the things that you can do to plan and prepare for your flight include:
- Pack your bags early and check the weight and size limits of your luggage.
- Check the weather forecast and pack appropriate clothing and accessories.
- Check the flight status and confirm your reservation and seat assignment.
- Check the airport and airline policies and procedures, such as the security, boarding, or COVID-19 measures.
- Arrive at the airport early and check in online or at the counter.
- Bring your passport, ID, boarding pass, and any other documents or items that you may need.
- Bring some snacks, drinks, books, games, or other items that can keep you entertained and hydrated during your flight.
- Dress comfortably and wear layers that you can adjust according to the temperature.
- Choose a seat that makes you feel more comfortable and secure
The seat that you choose for your flight can also make a difference in how you feel and cope with your fear of flying. Different seats have different advantages and disadvantages, depending on your preferences and needs.
Some of the seat options that you can consider include:
- The window seat: The window seat can offer you a view of the sky and the ground, which can be relaxing and distracting. However, it can also make you feel more claustrophobic and isolated, as you have less access to the aisle and the crew.
- The aisle seat: The aisle seat can offer you more space and freedom, as you can easily get up and move around. However, it can also make you feel more exposed and disturbed, as you have more traffic and noise around
- The middle seat: The middle seat can offer you a balance of space and privacy, as you have access to both the window and the aisle. However, it can also make you feel more cramped and uncomfortable, as you have to share the armrests and the legroom with your neighbors.
You can choose the seat that makes you feel more comfortable and secure based on your preferences and needs. You can also check the seat map and reviews of your flight online to find the best seat for you. You can also request a seat change at the airport or on the plane if you are not satisfied with your seat.
- Seek support and distraction from others
The last tip that we have for you to overcome your fear of flying is to seek support and distraction from others. You don’t have to face your fear alone. You can find comfort and encouragement from other people who can help you cope with your anxiety and make your flight more enjoyable.
Some of the people that you can seek support and distraction from include:
- Your travel companion: If you are traveling with someone, such as a friend, a family member, or a partner, you can ask them to support you and distract you during your flight. You can talk to them, hold their hand, or hug them when you feel anxious or nervous. You can also share your feelings and thoughts with them and ask them to reassure you and calm you down.
- The flight crew: The flight crew, such as the pilots and the flight attendants, are trained and experienced professionals who can help you with your fear of flying. You can inform them about your anxiety and ask them to assist you and check on you during your flight. You can also ask them questions about the flight, such as the weather, the route, or the turbulence, and listen to their explanations and announcements.
- The other passengers: The other passengers on your flight can also be a source of support and distraction for you. You can chat with them, make friends, or play games with them. You can also observe them and notice how they are relaxed and enjoying their flight. You can also join a support group or a program for fearful flyers, where you can meet and interact with other people who share your fear and learn from their experiences and tips.
By seeking support and distraction from others, you can reduce your isolation and loneliness and increase your social and emotional connection. You can also find more reasons to smile and laugh and have fun during your flight.
Flying can be a scary and stressful experience for some travellers, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips and strategies, you can overcome your fear of flying and make your next flight a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Remember, you are not alone in your fear, and you can always find help and support from others. You can also learn and practice relaxation techniques and educate yourself about flying and the aviation industry. You can also plan and prepare for your flight in advance and choose a seat that makes you feel more comfortable and secure.
We hope that this blog post has helped you overcome your fear of flying and inspired you to travel more and explore the world. If you are looking for a reliable and reputable travel agency that can offer you the best deals and services for your next trip, look no further than Global Travel Wide. We are here to make your travel dreams come true. Contact us today and let us help you plan your next adventure.