Airplanes. The safest, most convenient, and time efficient (with the exception of teleportation) means of globetrotting. But not everyone can hop on a plane and float off to a foreign destination (at least not without going into near cardiac arrest). Fear of flying is more common than you think. Here’s how to get the best of it.
Be In The Know: Airplanes are safer than cars, ships, trains, walking and pretty much every other means of transportation aside from the almighty elevator and escalator. You have higher odds of dying while sitting at home watching Netflix than in an airplane. Commercial airlines are 99.9% likely to arrive at their destination safely. But don’t take my word for it, google it yourself. Will knowing everything in the world prevent a plane from crashing? No. But it may give you peace of mind.
Frequent Flyer Facts: There’s roughly a 0.00001% chance that something will cause you to die in an airplane crash.
More people die every year in cars, trains, ships, and motorcycles than in airplanes.
There are better odds of you being eaten by a shark, drowning, burning or being struck by lightning.
Airplanes accelerate to very high speeds while on the runway in order to help their upward trajectory. If you’re sitting on the plane thinking to yourself “the plane seems to be going really fast,” you’re absolutely right. It needs to.
Any time the plane goes through a significant change in altitude, your ears will likely pop. The change in air pressure is what causes this. Pack some gum.
Don’t be alarmed if you look out the window and notice some parts of the airplane’s wings moving. This is supposed to happen.
Turbulence is nothing to be afraid of. This just means that the airplane is flying through a zone that’s shifting from lower to higher pressure. Passengers at the front of the cabin don’t feel it as much. You will feel a few shifts and bumps. If you’re buckled in safely, there’s nothing to worry about.
Comfort Is King: Cold, discomfort, hunger and all things unpleasant equal stress. Think ahead, pack a small blanket, hoodie, house shoes, or anything else that’ll make your flight cozier. Ask your flight attendant for a glass of water (wine), some peanuts or whatever else they have to offer. They’ll gladly oblige in most cases. Read our post on carry-on must haves right … here.
Let Your Fears Be Known: It’s nothing to be ashamed of. When you board the airplane, let the flight crew and some of your neighboring passengers know that you have a fear of flying. This will ease your mind and put them in a position to be supportive of you should anything go wrong. A good flight crew will check in on you on a more regular basis. If you have any concerns, questions or suspicions, voice them. Your flight crew will have a sensible response for you 9.9 times out of 10.
Relax Would Ya’? If you’re naturally a stressed out person, lowering stress will make flying a lot easier for you. Try meditation, exercise, controlled breathing, reading or just putting an hour aside every day to do something you enjoy. You’ll become more relaxed in no time. If you’re serious about getting over your fear of flying you can take courses that let you do short flights or flight simulations. You can also practice positive thinking and visualization (this means don’t spend too much time reading up on every horrific plane crash that has ever happened). Carry a stress ball, your favorite teddy bear, music, watch the in flight movie (even if it’s horrible), anything to ease your mind from your fear of flying.
Skip your coffee routine the day of your flight too. Caffeine is linked to stress. If all else fails, see a professional (or not) for anti-anxiety meds. The thought of having meds to take in case of a panic attack of some kind will keep you a little calmer.
Tips & tricks: If you can afford to cough up the extra cash, pick direct flights. Less airtime means less stress and pull out your hair time.
For obvious reasons, exit rows (more expensive) and aisle seats are the most spacious.
Bigger airplanes equal bigger comfort. Pick bigger flights.
Fly at a time of day that you’re comfortable with or when it will be easy to fall asleep during the flight. This isn’t always possible though, due to flight patterns and unforeseen circumstances.
If you take any of the previous information into consideration, you’ll be over your fear of flights before you know it.