If you suffer from aviophobia — or the fear of flying — you’re not alone. 2.5 to 6.5 percent of the population suffers from severe anxiety as a result of flying through the skies.
It’s no wonder why people are scared of flying. Human beings are animals after all; we’re just not built to be sent careening through the skies. Anything that takes away your sense of gravity takes away a level of control you feel about your surroundings; this can very easily result in fear.
But even if you’re afraid to fly, you’re most likely going to end up flying on an airplane at one point or the other. Flying undoubtedly gets you to your destination faster than driving, and if you’re a businessperson who needs to travel out of the country, you might just not have any other options.
Thankfully, if you’re afraid to go on an airplane, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through several airplanes travels tips to help you get through airplane travel in peace.
1. Do Some Research
Many people’s fears about air travel stem from misconceptions about the way that flying works. Before you go on your next flight, take the time to research some things about this way to travel.
(Be sure you’re not specifically searching up things — like plane crashes — that will make you scared. Google can be the worst enemy of someone suffering from anxiety. Instead, focus on mechanics.)
Many people fear an engine failure in an airplane. It’s a rational fear because engines often fail in cars. However, a car is able to pull over on the shoulder of the highway. . . a plane doesn’t have that option.
While this is a perfectly sensible fear to have — did you know that plains can fly even if an engine fails? Plains have several engines and are built to run when one of them conks out.
If you do some research into what a plane looks like, and how it operates, you can become less mystified by the whole flying process. Understanding the design of a plane will help you better appreciate its ingenuity. Appreciating its ingenuity will help you trust the vehicle you’re flying in.
The chances are, if you have had a fear, the designers of the airplanes have had them too. These planes have been tested again and again to ensure that everyone who travels on them has a safe and comfortable experience.
(Here’s a great example of research: Did you know that many people are ready to fly for the first time since the COVID – 19 pandemic?)
2. Pick an Aisle Seat
If you’re able to choose your seat beforehand, make sure you pick an aisle seat. (Another tip we can offer is to pick an airline that lets you choose your seat beforehand!) This will help you feel less trapped in by people surrounding you, give you easy access to the bathroom, and keep you away from the window, where you can see out of the plain to the ground below.
If you’re flying with friends or family, this is especially useful. Picking an aisle seat means you’ll be able to better traverse up and down the cabin to visit them if you need support. It also means that if you need to tell the flight attendants something, you won’t have to talk over to anybody, ensuring your privacy.
3. Find a Good Distraction
The last thing you want to be doing on your flight is sitting there and worrying about it. Contrary to what your anxiety-driven brain may be telling you, your worrying won’t do anything to make the flight safer. Find yourself a good piece of comfort media, and relax with it on the plane.
It’s best to choose something that’s engaging and stimulating enough to keep your mind busy, but not so difficult as to require the full height of your intellectual powers. A good novel, collection of short stories, non-fiction book, or informative podcast should do the trick.
A TV show might be too leisurely, and cause your thoughts to drift away into dangerous territory. Something headier, like poetry or philosophy, might be too hard to focus on and also cause your mind to drift.
4. Prepare For Turbulence
One of the most anxiety-inducing things for anybody riding a plane — let alone those who have a fear of it — is turbulence. Unfortunately, turbulence is a common occurrence in planes. Chances are, you will encounter it sooner or later.
. . . or is that unfortunate at all? The fact that turbulence is so common means it’s something that designers of plains have thought about. Pilots, flight attendants, and plane designers have many tactics in place to encounter turbulence.
Plane’s wings work as shock absorbers to steady out any sort of turbulence that they undergo. While we’ve already covered this under section 1, the message is still clear. Do some research before you get on the plane.
5. Don’t Avoid Flying
At the end of the day, the best way to conquer your fears is by facing them directly. If you constantly avoid air travel, this will catch up to you. Your fears will grow stronger, defenses will grow weaker, and when the day comes where you have to fly in a plane, you won’t know how to handle it.
If you start flying now, you’ll work up your muscles. The first few times might be nerve-wracking, but you’ll build up the mental strength, develop the coping tools, and get into a routine that will help you in future air-travel endeavors.
Overcome Your Fear of Flying
The fear of flying is a common fear — but that doesn’t mean it’s an unbeatable one.
Research what flying in a plane means, so you make sure your fears aren’t founded on baseless assumptions. Understand that turbulence is natural and doesn’t mean anything direr than encountering a bumpy patch on the road when you’re driving a car.
Make flying easier for yourself by picking an aisle seat, and setting yourself up with distractions. Last but not least, don’t avoid flying; by facing your fears now, you’re more likely to succeed in the future.
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