The fear of travelling by air may range from “I do not like to travel by air” until absolute refuse to board on the plane. This fear is caused mainly by the fact of the unknown and that we are beings leaving on earth. We are not created to fly. It seems like flying by plane is a strange phenomenon for us. When presented with an unusual circumstance, your first instinct is to assume the worst.
You are not alone, the fear of flying is a common problem. It is estimated that up to 60 percent of passengers find flying to be stressful. These include people who have never flown before, occasional and even frequent flyers. Fear of flying is a specific phobia in itself (aviophobia), or it may be a combination of other phobias such as claustrophobia (a fear of enclosed spaces) or acrophobia (a fear of heights). In any case, the most usual symptoms are sweating, short breath, quick heart rate, nausea, loss of appetite.
You can travel to far away, exotic places and see the world without having a panic attack: being informed, using relaxation techniques, planning your trip and knowing exactly what is the cause of your fear. These are the best ways you can overcome your fear and be free to explore the world.
First of all, you should understand that Airplanes are safe:
Flying by airplane is really safe. It is the safest way of transportation on the planet with a high degree of safety. When you realize it, you can allow yourself to feel more comfortable on the board. Pilots are trained well and rigorously, passing through regular checks, where they have to demonstrate that their skills are top. Also, the plane goes through a lot of routine checks between landing and take-off and are maintained regularly. For every hour that a plane flies in the air, it goes through 11 hours of maintenance to make sure everything is working smoothly. The airlines never compromise on safety. The airplanes are easy for pilots to operate and can deal with emergency situations, there are additional wings, engine, computer, and fuel tank.
Here are some helpful tips on how you can deal with your fear of flying:
– We advise you to prepare for your journey and arrive at the airport in plenty of time, in order to become accustomed to the circumstances and the atmosphere. Calm and get a good look at your fellow passengers. Racing to the gate and worrying about missing your plane will only add to your anxiety. Try to make the start of your journey and your flight as stress-free as possible.
– If you’re feeling uncomfortable or have a fear of flying, then let the personnel at the check-in desk, know about it.- Lean back and relax. Tighten your seatbelt and look forward to a safe flight with the most fantastic views in the world.
– During the flight, try to be calm and control your breath. When you start to panic, breathe deeply and slowly, inhaling through your nose. Hold your breath for a while, and exhale slowly. Repeat these steps, until you feel better. Deep breathing is an instant stress reliever. Also, use relaxation techniques such as calming music, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, visualization etc. You can distract yourself by closing your eyes and listening to music. If it is a long flight, take a walk every half hour. Breath deeply with each step.
– Take your mind off the flight and relax: listen to audiobook, music, read or watch something fun, do a crossword puzzle, sudoku, or enjoy the in-flight entertainment offered by the airline. During your flight, you can create a music video in your head for the song you are listening to. It is recommended long before you take your flight to listen to relaxation or meditation music. – Do not hesitate to ask for the cabin crew’s assistance. The air hostesses are really helpful and friendly towards nervous fliers. Thus the plane seems like a friendlier environment and reassures you that the crew is competent.
– Choose an aisle seat where you have a bit more space. Most airlines and booking engines allow you to request a seat. Request an aisle seat, particularly if you’re prone to claustrophobia; you’ll feel less hemmed in by other people, and you’ll be able to get up and move around the cabin more easily.- You may sometimes hear noises that you haven’t previously heard. These noises are the result of the pilot trimming the flaps or rudder or the landing gear being lowered or retracted. You can safely assume that these noises are a guarantee that everything’s as it should be.
– Turbulence – occurs when a plane flies through an area of low pressure to high pressure, which will make you feel a “bump” in the ride. It is unexpected and that is why make many people nervous. During the flight try to wear the seatbelt. Turbulence is worse felt at the back of the plane. Ask for a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible. If you’ve missed out on a seat up front when checking in online, ask politely at check-in counter if you can have a seat up front as you have a fear of flying.
– Have a light meal before getting on the plane. Avoid eating anything too heavy. Drink plenty of fluids when you are on board, preventing dehydration which can cause headaches and nausea. Avoid alcohol and coffee. Alcohol doesn’t help ease any fear of flying; in fact, it can make it worse. Avoid caffeine, energy drinks and other stimulants. It is proven that caffeine and other stimulants can cause nervousness.
– Many frightened fliers turn to alcohol to calm their nerves. This is fine in moderation, but do not combine the alcohol with anti-anxiety medications. Alcohol causes dehydration, due to the dry environment of an airplane. Thus, be sure to drink plenty of water.
– If it is possible, travel with someone who you trust as this will naturally calm you.- Learn more about how a plane works, looks like and how can continue to fly even if an engine fails, can help you feel less scared about the aircraft malfunctioning. For many fearful fliers, learning how airplanes work can alleviate their anxiety. The more you know about how a plane works, the less scary and uncertain you will feel.
– If you tried all relaxation techniques without success, ask your doctor to prescribe anti-anxiety medication (products with calming effect) or a sleeping pill before you fly. Following your doctor’s recommendation take the anti-anxiety medication, at any time you need it.
– Think positive and be positive. Try to focus on more positive things like all the fun and pleasant things you’ll do once you reach your destination. Do not refuse the possibility to go on vacation, to see desired countries and the loved ones. Know that travel by airplane is safe transportation. It is a convenient way to travel and enjoy your vacation without wasting time on the road.
We recommend you to read: Pregnancy and Air Travel, What are some Fun Things to do on the Plane?, In-Flight Meal for each Airline, Health during the Flight. Tips for Healthy Travel, Can I Bring Electronic Equipment on the Board?, How do you Choose your Seat? Useful Links for each Airline, In-Flight Entertainment for each Airline.