Fear of flying tips

Top 5 Travel Tips to Beat the Fear of Flying


There are enough travel blogs and articles across the internet to give the impression that nearly everyone has backpacked through Europe, experienced the buzz of Vietnam or sipped cocktails on the beaches of Bali or Hawaii. Having organized travel insurance and travel money cards, there’s no other safety concerns to prevent you jetting off, right? Wrong. Many people find flying difficult. According to the Business Insider, 40 per cent of Americans don’t enjoy flying while 3 per cent refuse to fly altogether.

But your anxiety while flying, or pteromerhanophobia (fear of flying) doesn’t need to keep you grounded for ever. There are a number of tricks that can get you through.

Know your stuff

When it comes to overcoming fear, 90 per cent is reconditioning the brain and 10 per cent is knowing the facts. Some of the common nightmares are nearly impossible. Scared the plane will fall out of the sky? Despite how heavy and large a plane is it cannot fall from the sky. Air, like water and other substances, has mass. The plane is continuously supported by the air around it so that is can descend but not just drop suddenly. Scared the engines will fail? A plane has multiple engines and if they all stop and the pilot can’t restart them than the plane will glide to an emergency stop, not tumble straight down. And turbulence? While it feels frightening, it does not damage the plane. Turbulence is like bumps in the air, the same as bumps in the road. It might feel frightening, but the plane can handle it. It is also key to remember that the seat belt light goes on so that you don’t fall over other passengers, not because there’s a flight risk.

Remind yourself how improbable accidents are

You’ve probably heard that you are more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident, tornado, an electrical current, or even from being crushed by a pig than be involved in a serious plane accident. In 2012 the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recorded one accident per 5 million flights on Western built jets and about 96 per cent of people survived in those few accidents. When you start thinking about disaster, remind yourself how improbable it is.

Pick your seat

Unless you fly business you won’t get much legroom. If you fear flying, try to choose a front row or exit row seat, preferably at the aisle side, as these give you extra space. How can you find out about the best seats? SeatGuru.com and SeatExpert.com both outline aircraft types and the pros and cons of each seat.

Mental Exercises

One exercise to reduce stress is to imagine a safe place, one that you feel welcome in. Closing your eyes and focusing on this place, imaginings everything you would see, smell and touch is one way to distract yourself.

If you keep thinking about what can go wrong with the plane, another exercise is to complete the story rather than focusing on the most disastrous scene possible. So if you’re picturing the plane crashing, also picture the staff releasing safety equipment. You would be picked up by a rescue team and if necessary, taken to hospital. After that, you go home. It might also help to imagine the plane landing safely every time you begin to think of disaster.

Play music

According to Spotify, which researched the effects of different music on people’s emotions, particular tunes can help in calming jittery nerves. Spotify suggested Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ was ideal due to the tempo and harmonious tones. Breathing in time to the rhythm of calming music, listening through headphones and closing your eyes can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and calm your mind. See no evil, hear no evil.

These are just a few tricks to get you on that flight and to your destination. The best remedy for fear of flying is to be exposed to it. You never know, you may one day feel indifferent or, dare we say it, like flying.

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