It’s normal to be scared of flying. The fear of flying, also known as aviophobia, affects millions. Business Insider says 40% of travelers don’t like to fly, with 3% refusing to fly.
Some fliers fear being in an enclosed space for too long, some dislike heights, and others think about germs. Unfortunately, there’s no easy and fast way to overcome this fear, but there are certain things that will ease or lessen a person’s anxiety.
Start small. If you want to conquer your fear, Jenn Lloyd, founder of Sick Girl Travels, suggests taking small steps first. “Don’t wait until you have to fly internationally for your sister’s destination wedding to tackle your fears. Start by taking short trips where you’re only in the air for an hour or so. It will help you become accustomed to flying, and you’ll know what to expect.”
This step will help you to ease into flying without feeling too overwhelmed.
Become knowledgeable about planes. Apparently, there’s a term for this, “AvGeeks.” it stands for Aviation enthusiasts, and they are intrigued about everything to do with aviation. Learning about the science of flying will help when you experience a bump during a flight.
“Turbulence was my biggest trigger,” Lloyd added. But once I began to read about how airplanes fly and how they’re designed to handle turbulence, I found it easier to manage my anxiety.“ it also helps to learn about planes and their safety features.
Choose your seat wisely. Everyone is different but think about where you want to sign before you board a plane. If you know you need to stand up or move around to help your anxiety, an aisle seat is more suitable.
“If you’re plagued by claustrophobia, make sure you pick an aisle seat before flying,” says Lloyd. “Choosing an air carrier that allows you to pick your seat assignment beforehand can help you feel less boxed-in. This allows you the extra room on one side and permits you to get up and walk about the cabin as needed.”
Think about where you’re going. If you fear flying but still decide to get on a plane, it’s likely for a reason. CNN also suggests that you think about where you’re going. If you focus your attention on the final destination, it can help.
“Focus on the destination, not the journey,” suggests Lloyd. “When you feel those negative thoughts creeping in, think of how great you’ll feel once you’re on the ground enjoying that hard-earned vacation.”
Watch what you consume.
Caffeine, alcohol, and high-sodium foods can increase your heart rate and spark your anxiety, says Lloyd. A nervous flyer should avoid these things before and during your flight.
Lloyd also suggests being mindful of what you watch while in flight “Consider comedies or relaxing music instead. You want to keep your mind and body as relaxed as possible and not get wound up so tightly you feel that panic attack creeping in.”
If nothing else, get on.
Exposure therapy has proven to be a method against phobias. “Exposure allows a person to come into contact with the feared stimulus and disprove their exaggerated, irrational cognitions surrounding the fear,” says Dr. Kutner. While avoidance only makes fears worse.
Travel and Leisure advise if you really want to overcome a fear of flying, the best thing you can do is to get on a plane anyway.